Among the Treasure Box

The universe supplies gifts, and sometimes they are not received.  When they are not treasured, those gifts are refunded to the universe for another time or soul.   Among the Treasure Chest is a short fable about what happens to gifts that go unappreciated and unrecognized.

There was a small, plain box outside a great wall of a great building.  The box was full of gems and coins everyday, until people started to grab all that they wanted.  And, mysteriously it replenished the next day.  Everyday, a new group of people rushed to take the gems, and the coins, and ignored the less attractive items, such as the few scraps of paper with writing.  The paper had no value to them.  The paper was not decorative, it just had scribbled text.  There was one person, who did not rush to the box with the crowd.  And, that person was Holt.  Holt was shorter than most people and didn’t rush to grab or push people out of the way, but they they usually pushed Holt aside anyway, and Holt learned to wait. Holt waited until everyone finished.  By the time the crowd cleared the box, Holt knew that the box may be empty except for the scraps of paper.

Although, the box was void of gems and coins, Holt looked forward with anticipation for the scraps of paper.  The scraps were the least valuable to everyone except Holt. Holt loved to collect the scraps.  But this time, when Holt approached the box, there were no scraps of paper.  The only item that remained was the tiny, empty, undecorated, wooden box.  The people had grabbed the gems, and the coins, and overlooked the box.  Holt had a dumbfounded look and thought, “Where were the scraps of paper?”  With no complaint, Holt did something different.  Holt took the box.  Holt did not worry anymore about the paper.

A nearby person saw Holt and asked, “It’s an empty box.  No longer is it a treasure chest.  It’s a box.  Why do you want that box?”

Then another person said, “Yes! Ha ha…Look at it. It has scratches.  You should leave it.  It’s not worth anything.  It’s empty, undecorated, and has no more value.”

Holt’s decision appeared to draw more criticism.  The crowd that scattered started to assemble from whispers and giggles.  And, a third person yelled, “Hey, let’s stop wasting time!  Let’s sell our gems and trade our coins to that peddler near the Great Wall!”  The crowd rushed to meet the peddler, and they left Holt alone with the box.

“What will you give me for my gems and coins?”  A person asked the peddler.

The peddler responded, “What you see is all I have to offer?”  Various people from the crowd shouted the same question, and the peddler’s response was no different.

Someone in the crowd bellowed to the peddler, “You don’t have much!”

The peddler responded again, “What you see is all I have to offer?” No one sold anything to the peddler, and they all left without trading anything.

The peddler saw Holt standing nearby, but Holt was not attempting to speak to him, therefore the peddler approached Holt and asked, “How come you did not approach me?”

Holt responded, “I have nothing of value to trade or sell. Why would I bother wasting your time or mine?”  The peddler laughed, gave a wide smile, and beckoned Holt to follow him.

The peddler brought Holt to his table, and then asked, “What do you see?”

Holt said, “I see boxes that look like mine–tiny, undecorated, and wooden, but no scratches.”

“Ahh…You’re mostly right, but they do have scratches, and each of these boxes have great value.  If you sell it to me, I will give you what it’s worth”.  The peddler continued and posed two questions, “What do you have to offer?  How did you find it?”

Holt became perplexed with the series of questions.  Then asked, “Where are the scratches?”  The peddler did not respond.  Holt went ahead and responded to the other questions the peddler posed earlier.  “I have only a few scraps of paper that were in the box, but they are valuable to me.  I found them inside the box near the Great Wall at different times”.  The peddler interrupted.

“No, no, no…not where, how?” asked the peddler.

Scratching their head with lips scrunched, Holt said, “I discovered it after everyone left and took the gems, and the coins. There was nothing inside the box.”

“Yes, yes, yes”. The peddler chuckled and asked. “Did you noticed that there were no papers in the box today?”

“Yes,” said Holt.

The peddler posed another question, “Did you read the scribbled text?”

Holt responded, “Yes”. Holt thought something was wrong and started to pull the slips from a shirt pocket. “See, here they are. I could not think of what to do with them, but I felt…I mean, they seem special to me”. Holt laid the pieces on the peddler’s table and started to walk away.

“Wait”. The peddler told Holt. “Do you know how the gems and coins get inside the box each day?”

“I don’t know.  Why are you asking me all these questions?”  Holt became a little frustrated.

“I’m only trying to help you see.  It’s part of the process.  I want to see, if you are connected to that tiny, empty, undecorated, wooden box.”

“I found it, and no else wanted it.”  Holt replied.

“Did you take the box, because no one else wanted it, and it was the only thing left?”  The peddler asked.

“No.  I actually love it, because it’s like me–different, overlooked, and when empty, it can be filled with anything.  I can fill this box with many things.  I do not have any polish for it, but I do have a better place for it, and the things I do have, I can fill the box. It will hold my things, such as the scraps of paper, but if you want to trade or buy it, I’ll listen to your offer.”

“Aha!”  The man bolted forward and hugged Holt. At first, Holt thought he lost his mind, and then he explained.  “You’re right.  The empty box is of more value than the gems and the coins.  You’re the only one that can fill it with value.  Holt, that box was simply a bigger box that I polished and filled it with things that had no lasting value.  I filled it with gems and coins on purpose.  I polished it on purpose to attract those with no vision.  I filled it with things that were of value to some, but I also filled it with things that were of no value to others.  At one time, my box was a tiny, empty, undecorated box.”  The peddler had raised Holt’s curiosity, so Holt continued to listened.  “There was an opportunity for people to trade and sale with me, but they saw know value in what I had to offer, and they did not want to take the time to listen.  No one but you, saw value in the box, which is the most important item.  Every now and then, I come from behind the wall, and sometimes, I climb it too, but I’m always disguised as a peddler.”

“Why a peddler?” asked Holt.

“When some people see me with my gems and coins on, or when I am dressed in my best clothes, they try to befriend me.  They see with their physical eyes and hands, but they ignore me when I’m disguised as a peddler.  They see no value in my appearance, and are not willing to listen.  Each year, I leave my business office, change my clothes, and disguise myself.  I want to be seen as that which I know I AM.  I am also a big giver.  All of my employees are generous givers, and we like to give on purpose with purpose.  Holt started to smile and kept listening.  “Once a year, my employees and I leave our offices, and change our clothes and venture to this side of the great wall, and we each look for a person like you–a person who finds more value in a tiny, empty, undecorated, wooden box.  Then, we take that person with us beyond the wall.”

Holt said, “I don’t really understand.”

“Oh, but you do, because you are just you.  You have shown patience, when the crowd pushed you aside.  You have shown forgiveness, when people were indifferent toward you.  Above all Holt, you have a heart that sees the value in the hidden things.  Look again at my table.  What do you see?”  The peddler asked.

Holt looked at the table and then said, “I see boxes like mine, but not quite.  Some have very little decorations, some none, some have a little polish and some none.”

The peddler spoke.  “Good.  You’re right again.  Each box is a little different, but each hold the same thing, value.  I didn’t actually make the tiny boxes that you see.  I teach people that have come before you to clean up their box and leave it for a person they observed.  I’m sure you have heard of paying it forward?”

“How many others are there?”

“Plenty.  There are many us.  And each year, we take gems and coins, and fill a box.  And this one was left especially for you to discover.”

“Wow!  You mean this box was especially designed for me?”

“Well, it was specifically designed you, but purposely left for you.  We are always observing before we come to the wall.”  Do you want to go beyond the wall?”

With a slight hesitation, but eagerly overjoyed, Holt yelled, “Yes!”

“Good.  Lay your scraps of paper on the table, because you have to leave them here, but you will continue to take them with you”.  The peddler confused Holt again.

Holt asked, “I love these scraps, can I please take them?  I don’t want to forget what they are”.

The peddler then put his hand on Holt’s shoulder and spoke, “Holt, you already carry their meanings.  As long as you keep being you, you’ll never forget, but you will move forward.  Besides, you’re going to be able to have your own table, and our tables don’t serve scraps, you’ll be full of desire”.

Holt had one final question for the peddler, “Why did everyone else think the box was a treasure chest instead of just a box?”

The peddler gave a grin that caused his eyes to brighten more than they were, and he said, “People see things as they are, but often forget how to see the true value”.