A Thousand Bars Of Gold

August 21, 2009

Bars Of Gold

What if earlier today when you opened up the mailbox to get the daily mail amidst all the coupons and bills you found a letter from a law firm you’d never heard of—a  law firm that said they specialized in final estates? What if upon opening the letter from said law firm, you found a long-lost, unknown uncle had left you something in his will? What if you later found that this long-lost, unknown uncle was unfathomably wealthy, and what if you found out that, for whatever reason, he decided to leave you a thousand bars of gold?

Let’s further say that one of the conditions of receiving these bars of gold was that you had to take them with you from the reading of the will. Obviously, because of the weight and size of a thousand bars of gold no one expected you to be able to throw them in the trunk of your car, so transportation was provided.

Unfortunately, the provided transportation was a flatbed truck. No security, no armored car, just a regular, old, flatbed truck.  The long-lost unknown uncle did make sure that the truck had the capacity to carry the weight, and made sure the transportation was provided to you free of charge (not that you’re really worried about the truck rental charge at this point)—but that was it.

Would you take a thousand bars of gold home with you? Would you think of all the other things you had otherwise scheduled for the day and just figure that it would be easier to move the bars on the weekend? Would you put them in a storage garage? Would you leave them unwatched and unprotected?

Of course not! You would leave the reading of the will and do everything you could to get those bars to a place that was safe and secure. You would find a bank that very day that could keep this kind of precious commodity in a safe that you felt was, well, safe. You would most likely continually research other places that also had vaults to make sure that your bars of gold were in the safest place that could possibly be. And, you would most assuredly keep them protected and make sure their value is constantly monitored.

You would do everything in your power to make sure this precious, valuable, gift was safe.

Interestingly enough each of us has something just as valuable as those thousand bars of gold. It’s our attitude. A positive mental attitude can make more difference in our lives than any amount of money.  Yet, so often we are completely casual with our attitudes.  We don’t do anything to protect it.

We allow media filled with negativity to infiltrate and influence our minds.  TV, books. Articles, music filled with “can’t do” ideas are almost invited to sell their snake oil of worthlessness, sorrow, frustration and, not good enough to our souls.

These concepts steal away our ability to think positively.  As bad as the concepts themselves are, the people that sell them are worse.  They are those people who cannot find any good anywhere.  Their mouths spew nothing but negativity—and they are thieves.  They steal away our opportunity to see the best and fill our minds with the worst.

None of us would ever let these types of bandits around our bars of gold, and we should, in the same vein, keep them from our precious attitudes.  We must therefore protect our mindsets from those who would degrade them, and simply decide that the risk is too high to interact with anyone or invest in anyplace that does anything but raise our self worth keeping it safe and secure

When we do, we give ourselves the opportunity for the best life. Obviously, there is no guarantee that will live free of difficulty and hardship. But, when we protect our positive attitudes with the safety of Fort Knox, we know that regardless of how difficult a challenge or how hard the day we can make it through.

When your attitude is protected as well as a thousand bars of gold, every day will be filled with riches.


To Protect and Serve

November 8, 2008


Driving around town the other day trying to get some things done I passed a police officer. For some reason I took special notice of the words that were placed on each door as well as the rear bumper. They read, “To protect and serve.” I thought about all the things that the men and women of the police force do to make sure their slogan “to protect and serve” is kept.

These thoughts turned from the officers to my parents. As they did, I  marveled at the sacrifices they have made to get me to where I am today.

I remembered being 15 lying in a hospital just hours from learning that my medical diagnosis was quadriplegia, and as far as the doctors were concerned I would never walk again. On that day, like so many after it, I looked into my parents eyes and knew that if there was anything they could do to better “protect and serve” me I need only ask for it. I knew in a way most 15-year-old boys never get to know that my mom and dad would do anything in their power to keep me safe and help me to grow.

Later, as I worked in a wheelchair to find my way in a world of stairs, I also learned that often in order to truly serve, they had to let me fall. That the greatest protection they could offer was the preparation that came from no protection at all. That the finest service they could give was teaching me to serve myself.

In addition, I watched as they worked hard not only “to protect and serve” my siblings and I, but our “neighbors” as well. Just like the officers who carry that credo with them, my parents taught us that we too have a responsibility “to protect and serve” those around us. From a young age I was instructed that if I saw suffering I had a duty to help to curb it. I learned that if any of us are ever to be truly protected or served we must police each other.

Thinking of my parents, my thoughts turned to this little boy waiting to come to my home. Like the police officer, all I want to do is “to protect and serve” him,

As I think about the life he has a waiting him, the adventures that will be his, and the world that he is being born into my first nature is to protect him and keep him safe. It seems as natural and instinct as “fight or flight.” He’s not even here, and I already consider often the things that I can do to keep him out of harm’s way.

My desire to serve him is just as strong. From that day when he was all of five weeks old and I heard his heartbeat, I knew that I would do anything I could to help him. I think of him often in my dreams and as I do I try to imagine ways that I might help him reach his ultimate potential. We have not even met and yet all that I have is his. If there is anything I own in this world that might help him achieve more, do more, or become more I will gladly give it to him. My soul aches to serve him.

I hope that I am strong enough to follow the examples of my parents. I hope that I serve him well enough that I teach him I cannot protect him from everything even if I wanted to. I hope that he grows up knowing that he has a responsibility to those around him. I hope he grows up safe and secure. Safe in the knowledge that his dad loves him and secure enough in who he is that he can rise each time he falls.

What I do know is this, he is mine and I am his. I know I will do my very best “to protect and serve” him in a way that prepares him for the struggles that lie ahead of him, and will work to help him know that understanding love means loving his neighbor as himself.


Coleman Jason Hall when he was just 5 cells old.  (He's the cute one)

Coleman Jason Hall when he was just five cells old. (He's the cute one)