In a tiny jewelry store tucked under the hotel lobby, laying in a glass case on velvet, is an exquisite strand of rainbow colored sapphires cut into mini pineapple shapes without the big green leaves. I found and adored the strand last year but didn't have any desire to own it. This year, I went back to see if it was still there--it was, and the saleslady was anxious to make it mine--with a generous discount. But I still had no desire to make it my own --for a certain scripture haunts me.
Tony gave me a beautiful string of pearls for our anniversary, which our daughter wore on her wedding day.
Her wedding photos are the only evidence those pearls ever existed; in the days after the wedding those pearls were nowhere to be found. Were they stolen or left in a dressing room in the blur of celebration?
When Tony asked if he could replace the pearls, it seemed pointless, because that same scripture had just started haunting me; Why do ye adorn yourselves with that which hath no life, and yet suffer the hungry, and the needy, and the naked, and the sick and the afflicted to pass by you, and notice them not? Mormon 8:39
I seem to hold those words to my heart when I think of buying jewelry, yet I feel like a hypocrite because I do adorn myself with other things that have no life: too many pairs of shoes, more skirts than I need and what about all those French pastries? Don't they adorn my body and certainly the life force is cooked right out of them and shoved aside by all that sugar and butter. Sigh...
My sister was equally tempted by a piece of jewelry she found in the little store under the lobby. When we went to dinner, we started reminiscing about the past jewelry in our lives--and the times she had been robbed--four times. My father finally told her, "As long as you keep spending money on things that people can steal, you'll never get ahead."
So what can't people steal?
People can't steal love. Investments we make in people can't be stolen. The money we invest in our children's or other people's children's education can't be stolen. Paying someone's rent or buying someone a meal can never be stolen from us.
People can't steal time either.
What exactly did Dad mean when he said you'll never get ahead? I'm pretty sure he meant the obvious-- invest in things that people can't pick up, put in a pocket, and walk away. Dad meant land and property. But now that he's gone, I think he might have a shift in his investment strategies. Sure, go for the real estate investments but don't forget the greater investments of time. Time with loved ones. Time with God. Time with yourselves. Time spent on becoming stronger, more educated, more compassionate and loving.
Time can't be stolen but it can be squandered. Think of it as a prudent, wise investment with a return rate of 100%.