My only stint in rehab…required going to ‘detox’ first. At Sobriety Maintenance, of which I got a degree that could not compare to any others I had, there were many life experiences…Many that cannot be replaced. That, in truth, I had been schooled…to which I always thought,
‘You can’t con a con!’
But it did happen.
I learned how to play Spades, cigarette a point Cribbage, clean bathroom stalls, and, enjoy decaf coffee.
The lesson I keep with me everyday…but occasionally loose during, life on life’s terms? The Precious Present! An aged cook from the Marines ran the kitchen at the detox. His name had been Jamie. Jamie witnessed my struggles with self. My need to put on the facade of ‘I am ten foot tall and bullet proof.’
I liked him but balked his every attempt to tame my unruliness. That is until I found the ‘Precious Present’ at my table setting…
Once there was a boy. . . . Who listened to an old man. And, thus, he began to learn about The Precious Present. “It is a present because it is a gift,” the contented man explained. “And it is precious because anyone who receives such a present is happy forever.”
“Wow!” the little boy exclaimed. “I hope someone gives me The Precious Present. Maybe I’ll get it for Christmas.” The boy ran off to play. And the old man smiled. He liked to watch the little boy play. He saw the smile on the youngster’s face and heard him laughing as he swung from a nearby tree. The boy was happy. And it was a joy to see.
The old man also liked to watch the boy work. He even rose early on Saturday mornings to watch the little laborer mow the lawn across the street. The boy actually whistled while he worked. The little child was happy no matter what he was doing. It was, indeed, a joy to behold.
When he thought about what the old man had said, the boy thought he understood. He knew about presents. Like the bicycle he got for his birthday and the gifts he found under the tree on Christmas morning. But as the boy thought more about it, he knew. The joy of toys never lasts forever.
The boy began to feel uneasy. “What then,” he wondered, “is The Precious Present? What could possibly make me happy forever?” He found it difficult to even imagine the answer. And so he returned to ask the old man.
“Is the Present a magical ring? One that I might put on my finger and make all my wishes come true?”
“No,” the old man said. “The precious present has nothing to do with wishing.”
As the boy grew older he continued to wonder. He went to the old man. “Is the Precious Present a flying carpet?” he inquired. “One that I could get on and go any place that I like?”
“No,” the man quietly replied. “When you have the precious present, you will be perfectly content to be where you are.”
The boy was becoming a young man now, and felt a bit foolish for asking. But he was uncomfortable. He began to see that he was not achieving what he wanted. “Is the Precious Present,” he slowly ventured, “a sunken treasure? Perhaps rare gold coins buried by pirates long ago?”
“No, young man,” the old man told him. “It is not. The richness is rare, indeed, but the wealth of the Present comes only from itself.”