The Man who Sold his Life for Money
There once was a boy who dreamed of being a millionaire. By the time he was 10, he spent all his waking hours and dreamful nights fantasizing about being the richest man in the world. He had his first business by the time he was twelve and made more money mowing lawns and shoveling snow than all the kids in the neighborhood - combined. He was pleased but it was never enough. He was always looking for more ways to get rich - he didn't need it to be quick but he did have to know that he was continuously working hard to make his fantasy a reality.
In high school he missed his prom because he had to work at the local food chain - he didn't consider taking the night off like the other kids. He figured that once he was rich, there would plenty of time - besides it is just a prom and one night of his life. Weeks later when he was working his second job, his parents weren't too happy when he missed his graduation, but he didn't care. His only priority was to fulfill his financial dreams. With his tenacity and dedication he did extremely well in college. He focused his entire attention on his studies and for the first time his work was a secondary priority. He was smart enough to know that an advanced education was necessary in order to create wealth.
He met his very first girlfriend in college. If she didn't relentlessly pursue him, he never would have even noticed her despite her stunning looks and friendly personality. They started dating and before long they were deeply involved. Of course she complained that work and school came before her but he wasn't sure what the problem was with that - after all if you want to have a great life, you need more money than God. She never did understand this and soon ended the relationship. He was too focused on more important things to be hurt by the break up.
About six months later he met a young woman that he pursued. He actually loathed the way he acted around this girl but felt compelled and almost hypnotized by her. To his horror and dismay she actually convinced him to take a day off and go to the park with her. The whole time he was there he couldn't think about anything else but the money he was loosing and he was afraid that this one day of hooky would start a pattern and he would never succeed in life. After that he saw her less and less and wasn't so compelled to be around her. But he was around her enough to get her pregnant.
She wanted to have the baby and get married but this infuriated him. If he got married and had a baby now, his whole life would be ruined. His plan was to get married in five years when he was 27 and then have 2 children - one at 32 and the other at 38 - he hoped they would boys and he could teach each of them to take over one business or another. So there was no way he was going to give up his fool-proof plan. He has seen what happens to people when they let life control their destiny and he will never be one of those naive people.
The next day he picked her up and took her to get an abortion. She cried all the way there and back, and for months afterwards. He knew it was for the best and tried to convince her of that everyday. She would pretend to believe him to get attention but the next day would come and the tears would be falling again. Eventually he learned to ignore her "irrational crying fits". When the crying finally stopped, he thought she was over it but she actually just learned to cry alone in the middle of the night.
Years passed and when he turned 27, he asked her to marry him with the promise they would have a child in 5 years. Although she still felt hurt, abandoned and betrayed by him, she deeply loved him and agreed to marry him. If only she knew things would get even worse and after 6 miscarriages she would be told by three different fertility experts that the forced abortion she had years ago created irreparable damage and she would never bear a child.
She had always dreamed of a Cinderella-like wedding but when she shared her wedding plans with him, he raised his voice and said "That might be your plan but it is not mine". Her parents were dead and whatever type of wedding they had, he would have to pay for. By then he had over a million dollars in net worth and could certainly afford it but he felt it was a waste of his hard earned money - and would not throw it away on a silly one day dream. He never did see that it was also a once in a lifetime dream. She argued with him for weeks but in the end she sacrificed the wedding for the marriage. The next day they went down to the hot and smelly court house and got married. She wore her regular work clothes because she was too depressed to make any real effort at looking good. She also didn't have the red and pink long stem rose bouquet he promised her but forgot to pick up.
Years passed and the man started 3 new businesses - doubling his net worth. He was good at what he did and it showed. His financial dream was getting closer and he knew he would do whatever it took to attain it - even if it took the rest of his life and a million sacrifices. He believed that when he had complete financial abundance, he could finally relax and be happy.
What he didn't see coming was the day he came home to discover his wife had left him. He found a note on the table that said something about her being emotionally starved for love and attention and every time she looked at him, she remembered her broken dreams and her broken heart. She also added, "please don't look for me" - he never did.
Two months later, the divorce was final. When she came over to pick up her copy of the papers, he asked her why she refused a settlement, alimony and assets. She dropped dead in her tracks and looked at him like a wild animal viciously protecting herself - and said "How can you think I would take the very thing that ruined our marriage and destroyed me and my unborn baby? Why didn't you just have an affair with someone - I could have competed with?" Before he could open his mouth to respond, she was gone and all he could hear was the hostile echo of the front door violently slamming shut. After that day he gave very little thought to the things she said - he never did figure out what she meant.
It was no surprise that he used his new single status as an opportunity to throw himself into his work even more and before long it paid off. He had more money than he knew how deal with. But it still wasn't enough - there were still people richer than him and that wasn't acceptable. He worked every day for the rest of his life. He never remarried but did have a daughter as result of a drunken one night stand. Although he never saw her, she would write to him several times a year. He would never acknowledge her letters or the things in her life that she shared with him. He did send her money for practical things on a regular basis but never once did he send her any special presents or even acknowledge her birthday.
The only relationships he ever had were with his secretary and his dentist - both remained completely professional. They each hid their distaste of him very well - or he just didn't care enough to notice. He never took a vacation, bought a nice car or lived in a beautiful house which he very well could afford. He just didn't see the value of trading his hard earned money for frivolity. He never sent or received birthday presents, Christmas cards or any invitations, He lived an empty, solitary life and never made the time to try to figure out what was missing and how to get it.
Alone on his death bed he tried thinking of anything he was taking with him. He relentlessly searched for hours and realized that anything that might have been valuable to take with him when he passed was traded for money. As he finally understood it was a price too great to pay, he realized it was that wisdom that he would take with him from this world - and maybe he could still pass that on.
He used every last once of strength to write a short note, and as he closed his tired eyes, he took his very last breathe.
Almost 2 weeks later when the police responded to a call about an odd smell, they found his dead decaying body. It was a typical type of call except they were profoundly intrigued to find a huge smile of satisfaction embedded on the man's hardened face. And then they found the note in his stiffened right hand. It said:
"To whom it may concern. On this day of my death, let this note act as my final last will and testament.
No more and no less than $5000.00 will go to my daughter and son in law specifically for that vacation they keep putting off. A note with the money should say "Please learn from this dying man who is leaving this life with only one bit of wisdom. Don't ever sell your life for money in the belief that money will buy you a life - it won't.
All remaining money will be buried with me in a locked and guarded tomb - not because I believe I can take my money with me but rather because I don't want to infect anyone with the dis-ease that ultimately killed me - and burden them with a life of self imposed imprisonment. Be free now and not wait for life to give you permission or provide you the right conditions - by human nature, it never will. And know in the end I die a peaceful man because I finally found the answer I unconsciously spent my whole life seeking. Now in the last moments of my life, I choose life.
One more thing, please find my wife and bring her three dozen long stemmed red and pink roses with the following note, "I'm sorry for breaking your heart and your dreams - and I'm sorry it took me so long to recognize just how sorry I would be. Now as money no longer has any meaning to me, I can feel all the feelings that I pushed down my whole life so I could stay focused on the illusion that wealth could be found by accumulating money. Now I can feel all the love for you that I buried before I knew what it was. I'm glad I do now. I love you".
The officer put the note back in the old mans hand and quietly walked out the door. The other cop could barely hear him say "I've got something to undo - that old man just saved my marriage and my life - and if you think the old man's message is about money - think again".
In grace & gratitude,