97. What is Most Important

A young man learns what's most important in life from the
guy next door.

It had been some time since Jack had seen the old man.
College, girls, career, and life itself got in the way. In fact, Jack moved
clear across the country in pursuit of his dreams. There, in the rush of
his busy life, Jack had little time to think about the past and often no
time to spend with his wife and son. He was working on his future, and
nothing could stop him..


Over the phone, his mother told him, "Mr. Belser
died last night. The funeral is Wednesday." Memories flashed through
his mind like an old newsreel as he sat quietly remembering his childhood

"Jack, did you hear me?

"Oh, sorry, Mom. Yes, I heard you. It's been so long
since I thought of him. I'm sorry, but I honestly thought he died years
ago," Jack said.

"Well, he didn't forget you. Every time I saw him
he'd ask how you were doing.. He'd reminisce about the many days you spent
over 'his side of the fence' as he put it," Mom told him.

"I loved that old house he lived in," Jack

know, Jack, after your father died, Mr. Belser stepped in to make sure you
had a man's influence in your life," she said.

"He's the one who taught me carpentry," he
said. "I wouldn't be in this business if it weren't for him. He spent
a lot of time teaching me things he thought were important...Mom, I'll be
there for the funeral," Jack said.

As busy as he was, he kept his word. Jack caught the next
flight to his hometown. Mr. Belser's funeral was small and uneventful. He
had no children of his own, and most of his relatives had passed away.

The night before he had to return home, Jack and his Mom
stopped by to see the old house next door one more time .

Standing in the doorway, Jack paused for a moment. It was
like crossing over into another dimension, a leap through space and time.
The house was exactly as he remembered. Every step held memories. Every
picture, every piece of furniture....Jack stopped suddenly.

"What's wrong, Jack?" his Mom asked

"The box is gone," he said

"What box?" Mom asked.

"There was a small gold box that he kept locked on
top of his desk. I must have asked him a thousand times what was inside.
All he'd ever tell me was 'the thing I value most,' Jack said.

It was gone. Everything about the house was exactly how
Jack remembered it, except for the box. He figured someone from the Belser
family had taken it.

"Now I'll never know what was so valuable to
him," Jack said. "I better get some sleep. I have an early flight
home, Mom."

It had been about two weeks since Mr. Belser died.
Returning home from work one day Jack discovered a note in his mailbox.
"Signature required on a package. No one at home. Please stop by the
main post office within the next three days," the note read.

Early the next day Jack retrieved the package. The small
box was old and looked like it had been mailed a hundred years ago. The
handwriting was difficult to read, but the return address caught his
attention. "Mr. Harold Belser" it read.

Jack took the box out to his car and ripped open the
package. There inside was the gold box and an envelope.

Jack's hands shook as he read the note inside. "Upon
my death, please forward this box and its contents to Jack Bennett.. It's
the thing I valued most in my life." A small key was taped to the
letter. His heart racing, as tears filling his eyes, Jack carefully
unlocked the box. There inside he found a beautiful gold pocket watch.

Running his fingers slowly over the finely etched casing,
he unlatched the cover.

Inside he found these words engraved:

"Jack, Thanks for your time! -Harold Belser."

"The thing he valued most was...my time"

Jack held the watch for a few minutes, then called his
office and cleared his appointments for the next two days.

"Why?" Janet, his assistant asked.

"I need some time to spend with my son," he

"Oh, by the way, Janet, thanks for your time!"

"Life is not measured by the number of breaths we
take but by the moments that take our breath away."

Think about this. You may not realize it, but it's 100%

Send this letter to all the people you care about; if you do so, you
will certainly brighten someone's day and might change their perspective on
life...for the better.

To everyone I sent this to,

"Thanks for your time."