The Next Corner

Given a box with a present inside, each confirmand repeated their vows. Next, the preacher said, “Inside your box is a present, a reminder of God’s presence. Carry it in your hand all your days.” Then, the service ended. All went home with their families and celebrated the day. 

Bobby took his box, peered at the present inside, put the box away, then went out to play. Bobby loved to roam the neighborhood and collect things. He had an interesting collection of rocks and insects and leaves and bottles and all sorts of things. Bobby was a curious lad, and his collection reflected his curiosity. The only thing Bobby was not curious about was time.  Often, he would lose time and come home late for supper. 

But little boys grow up and interests change. One thing that did not change was Bobby’s curiosity. Inquisitive to a fault, Bobby could irritate his friends and family, even strangers, with his questions.  

One day he met a man while walking to the corner store. One thing led to another, and the man remained patient while Bobby asked questions. The man, being wise and insightful, said to Bobby, “If you walk around the next corner, your curiosity will answer your questions, but remember what you hold in your hand.” Of course, the man knew nothing of what might be around the corner, but he knew Bobby would look. Then he said, “If you do not find anything, go around the next corner. If nothing is there, keep going until you find it.” Following the wise man’s instruction, Bobby began his journey. 

Well, you can imagine one turn around the corner led to another, then another. Every turn excited Bobby about a new possibility, and each discovery made Bobby want more. Eventually, the little boy, who once lost time, coveted the next moment, the next corner, the next day, month, year and decade. Time passed. So engrossed in the next moment, Bobby no longer knew how to live in the present and lose time. Stress became his constant companion. Time with his family suffered because his mind was always on future possibilities and worries. He could not sleep, his health suffered from a poor diet. Bobby became a workaholic.  

Under constant strain, Bobby often reflected on his confirmation and his carefree childhood, and when he assessed his life, he wondered why God had abandoned him. Pushing his thoughts inward, Bobby pressed on, turning new corners.  

Then one day, he turned a corner and there he was—the wise man. He said, “Well, what did you find?” Bobby told his tale. The man listened, then said, “Did you remember to carry your present with you?” Bobby admitted he had not. He departed to find his box. Finding it, he opened it.  There inside, inscribed on a card, it read, “Present.” And Bobby remembered the preacher’s words. “Tomorrow is in God’s hand, today is in yours. God will be nearest to you when you are present with Him.” 

Bobby turned his last corner.  

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