You just might get it
All of us have had hard times in our lives. We’ve wished for greener pastures, a better life. Most of us have tried to improve our lot in life. Some have had better luck with that than others, but we never give up trying.
It’s difficult to live paycheck to paycheck with bills always hanging over our heads. We wonder how we will make it through the week let alone the month. There seems to be too much month left when the money runs out.
Trust me, I’ve been there. I’ve had times where I had to dig up change, in the couch, to put gas in the car. It’s not much fun to pay for gas, get $4.37 worth and half of it was paid with dimes and pennies. I remember the looks I’d get. I’d just say, “It’s American money, right?”
Those were the times that I wished for a better life.
Ah, the good old days!
I heard a story, years and years ago about a man who wished for a better life for himself and his family. I can’t remember exactly where I heard it and I can’t remember exactly how it goes, but it went something like this.
There was the man who needed to get gas for his car. He pulled into a gas station and get out of his brand new Ferrari. It was a beautiful shade of red and sounded like a race car as he turned off the engine. He was a middle aged man, maybe 50 or 55. He had a little gray in the temples. He got out of the car, he took off the gas cap and began to fill his car up with premium gasoline.
He leaned back against the car and looked at the next car over. It was a old 4 door sedan and it needed a good washing. The guy with the older car look at the Ferrari and said, “Wow! What a fantastic car!”
The owner of the Ferrari said, “Yes, it’s a very nice car.”
The other guy said, “How much did that set you back?”
He replied, “The car was given to me for being the top salesman in my company, for the past 15 years.”
The guy with the sedan says, “Well, congratulations! A free car is a nice reward for all of your hard work.”
To that he said, “The car wasn’t free. It cost me plenty.”
“I don’t understand,” said the other guy.
The guy who owned the Ferrari looked down at the ground. He kicked a pebble. Then another. He looks back at the other man with a solemn look on his face. He says, “You see when I started with the company, they told me that if I worked hard that there would be bonuses for reaching certain sales goals. I went home and told my wife and she was very excited by the news. She encouraged me to go for it. So I did.
At first I would stay late at the office a couple of times per week. It paid off and I did get me first bonus. I took my wife and kids out to an expensive restaurant to celebrate. It was great.
The competition at the office got to be pretty fierce. Everyone wanted that bonus! I started to stay late 3 or 4 times per week. I remember missing my daughter’s first dance recital. I felt bad, but I was so close to getting the bonus check. She said she understood.
Later, I had to start working weekends too. I couldn’t go to too many of my son’s baseball games, but I did see him play a few times.
After a while, I stopped feeling bad about missing their activities. They knew that I had to work hard to get ahead and have the nice things that we enjoyed.
I can’t even remember the last time that we sat down and had dinner together. I even gave up one of my vacation weeks. It was for a good cause. Or so I thought.
I had been with my company for nearly 20 years and I had been a top producers for most of them.”
He paused and glanced at the ground again. He looked up and continued.
“As it turns out, it was about 3 weeks before I got the car. I came home late from the office. My wife was waiting for me. I was little surprised. It was late and she didn’t often wait up for me.
We sat down and began to talk. She told me that she had been so unhappy for the past few years. I had been working so much that I missed nearly every milestone the kids had. They had told me that they understood, but they had been quietly disappointed. Finally, she told me that we need to take some time and decide what was important to us. She asked me to leave the house.
I packed a few things and left.
It was about a month later that I got this “free” car. There was no one to celebrate with. I didn’t really feel like celebrating, anyway.
It was about 6 months later that I got the divorce papers.”
His head dropped. He stared at the ground for what seemed an eternity. When he finally looked up again, there were tears streaming down his face. He began to speak, but only a whisper came out. He cleared his throat and this is what he said.
“You see, this “free” car has cost me everything.”
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