This story has me thinking today.......
There is a story of a young merchant from Boston, who in 1849, as the story goes, was caught up in the fervor of the California gold rush. He sold all of this possessions to seek his fortune in the California rivers, which he was told were filled with gold nuggets so big that one could hardly carry them.
Day after endless day, the young man dipped his pan into the river and came up empty. His only reward was a growing pile of rocks. Discouraged and broke, he was ready to quit until one day an old, experienced prospector said to him, "That's quite a pile of rocks you are getting there, my boy."
The young man replied, "There's no gold here. I',m going back home."
Walking over to the pile of rocks, the old prospector said, "Oh, there is gold all right. You just have to know where to find it." He picked two rocks up in his hands and crashed them together. One of the rocks split open, revealing several flecks of gold sparkling in the sunlight.
Noticing the bulging leather pouch fastened to the prospector's waist, the young man said, "I'm looking for nuggets like the ones in your pouch, not just tiny flecks."
The old prospector extended his pouch toward the young man, who looked inside, expecting to see several large nuggets. He was stunned to see that the pouch was filled with thousands of flecks of gold.
The old prospector said, "Son, it seems to me you are so busy looking for large nuggets that you're missing filling your pouch with these precious flecks of gold. The patient accumulation of these little flecks has brought me great wealth."
Today I am thinking about how easily I get focused on doing too much. I tend to be a person that loves simplicity, but I seem to always wrap everything up in a complicated mess. The funny this is that when I am crazy busy I spread myself to thin. Never really giving enough of myself to anything to make it feel right. However, when I simplify and focus on the small things, the things that make my big picture it's best, life is more peaceful and fulfilling. What makes me forget this?!
My goal this year is to focus more on the "flecks" in my life. Today I am making a list of all the things that are important to me (scripture study, daily prayers, weekly temple attendance, serving others, spending "fun" time with my kids, taking care of my health, being a crazy amazing wife :), being a better friend, etc). These things will receive my energy. They are the little things in life that make my life rich, blessed and full of happiness.
Sure there will be things that will require my attention. However, I will learn to give them what they require and then move on.....simplify.
This totally reminds me of a story a lady told at a convention she was speaking at. She was talking about making treats for her childs school class. She was supposed to bring 20 treats that resembled "12 Drummers Drumming". She stayed up all hours of the night baking large cookies shaped like drums. She frosted and detailed each one meticulously. She was exhausted the next day when she took them to the class. As she set them in front of the kids she sought a bit of ooo's and aahhh's from the children. Instead.....they ate them in like 2 seconds flat and went on with the rest of the party. She said, "It was this point that I realized a Ding Dong and 2 Twizzlers would have worked just fine."
I think about that a lot. How true is that?! Sometimes it is so great to give something our best effort, and others it is OK to just accomplish the task. After all, we are all busy. There is a lot that is required of us. WHY make it harder than it is supposed to be. In my experience, when I give a large amount of effort to the things that are not on my list of things that are important to me, I tend to feel overrun and a sense of failure, no matter how much I accomplish outside of those things.
Sometimes the nuggets are great, but they are few and far between. The flecks, however, are in everything that is important to us, and as they accumulate, their value is far beyond a nugget here or there. "The patient accumulation of these little flecks [will bring us] great wealth!"