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A New Year’s Treasure Hunt

January 3, 2011

The Sacramento Bee carried an interesting article for New Year’s Day. On January 1, 2008, Keith Severin and his seven-year-old son, Adrien, agreed that they would search for treasure together at least fifteen minutes every day during the coming year.

The father and son kept their promise. The best value was the hours of companionship and fun Keith and Adrien enjoyed together. Each day they spent time walking and just looking to see what they could find.

At the end of the year, they proudly displayed their collection of coins, golf balls, tennis balls, and bottles and cans.  In all, their year-long search yielded, serendipitously, more than $1,000 worth of finds.

The treasure hunt is an apt metaphor for life. Some people buy a lottery ticket every day. Others make a habit of shopping every bargain that comes along. Some folks spend most Saturdays driving from one yard sale to another. Still others visit every flea market they can find. Many fill out entry forms for Reader’s Digest or Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes. Some travel miles to have heirlooms appraised on “Antiques Road Show.” Though only a small minority will glean extraordinary value from these endeavors, all of us can discover treasures in the New Year.

We’ll have to look in the right places.

In his book Acres of Diamonds, Russell Conwell tells a parable about a man who searched the world over looking for a precious jewel. Finally, he returned to his home weary and discouraged. There he discovered acres of diamonds in his own backyard.

One of the places we will find treasure is in our own family and among our own friends. At the beginning of a new year, Clare reminds me to mark my new calendar with birthdays, anniversaries, and other special occasions so I won’t forget them. Spending time with the people we cherish will enrich us with love and acceptance.

A second is in the pages of a book. I am a writer, and I have several books that I am happy to sell. However, I am a firm believer in Benjamin Franklin’s concept of a free public library. Reading is always an adventure that yields treasure. I recommend good books, among them the scriptures. You will discover nuggets of truth in every chapter.

A third is in times of solitude. Holding still and being silent has become increasingly difficult for most people. In our hurried life in the fast lane we have neglected, as the old railroad crossing signs encouraged, to stop, look, and listen,. In our world of cell phones, i-pods, and e-mail, taking time for quietness to pay attention to our own soul is a lost art.

These three suggestions require no financial expense. All call for a change of pace.  2011 promises to be a rewarding year, a year of treasure, but we must look in the right place – our own backyard.

Kirk H. Neely
© January 2011

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