The colors of the differing layers of its walls reflect the eons the Colorado River has flowed through the Grand Canyon. Similarly, the wine corks Terri and I store in a five-gallon water bottle reflect our times together. Viewing the layers of corks, you realize they reflect the ebb and flow of our prosperity: a layer from bottles of Robert Mondavi and Silver Oak wines on top of one consisting of those from Ernest and Julio.
In the course of one of the Ernest and Julio periods—a time of worry about money and jobs—I was celebrating the New Year with friends in Charleston, South Carolina. One early morning, I noticed a newspaper headline announcing the CEO of a large corporation had passed away leaving a considerable fortune. It struck me: I was spending time and energy worrying about money, when this titan of industry would have given everything he had for what I had acquired for no cost…my good health.
I don’t have millions of dollars but I possess wealth of which men of substantial means would be envious: good health, friends and a loving family. I am blessed with the God given ability to work and surrounded by wonderful people and friends who inspire me by refusing to give in to adversity. I have learned, I am the most productive, successful and satisfied when I grasp just how fortunate I am.
A long-time friend informed me that he is suffering from a degenerative disease. Always the picture of health, he never let on to a problem that makes it difficult for him to stand and walk. When the doctors told him in a relatively short time he would be confined to a wheel chair and eventually bedridden, he informed them they were wrong; he wasn’t going to let that happen and that he no longer needed them. He never went back to those doctors and he’s still walking. Listening to his story, I was taken back by the courage it took for him to face each day and shameful of how I let incidents of little importance drive me to distraction.
The market, oil spills, Greece, the economic trials we are facing—there is no profit in fretting about what you cannot control. I try to cast negative thoughts out by focusing on what I can do. To brood about “what I can’t do” is negative, debilitating and destructive. Conversely, concentrating on “what I can do” is positive, invigorating and constructive.
Gazing upon different layers in the bottle of corks, I don’t dwell on the good and bad times. Instead, I linger over memories of the wine: even the least of which was better than none at all.