A Kansas wheat farmer went to his local bank to borrow some money. He had been a long-time customer and was familiar to everyone from the tellers behind the counter to the loan officers in their corner offices.
Sitting down with his long-time banker, the farmer was asked, “How much do you want to borrow?”
The farmer replied, “How about one dollar?”
The banker was surprised but agreed to the request, explaining that under the rules, the bank would need some collateral to cover the loan. The wheat farmer stated he had several thousand dollars of government securities which should cover the rules requirement. The banker agreed to the collateral and stated the interest rate for the loan would be 8 percent.
Opening a small plastic bag, the farmer pulled out his government securities, previously kept in a bank safe deposit box. He put the securities on the desk. Reaching into his pocket, he pulled out 8 cents and also laid it on the desk. The banker gathered the securities from his desk and put the 8 cents in a small envelope.
A year later, the wheat farmer returned to the bank to negotiate a renewal of his dollar loan. He pulled out 8 cents and again laid it on the desk. The banker’s curiosity was peeked. He said, “It’s very peculiar, that you, with government securities worth thousands of dollars, would want to renew a one-dollar loan.”
The farmer replied, “Well, it’s peculiar that you, being a banker, have not figured this one out. I was paying $35 a year for a bank safe deposit box to store my government securities. Now it only costs me 8 cents!”
Have you ever caught yourself saying, “Why didn’t I think of that?”
Most of us have. Several years ago, I was best man at a friend’s wedding. He was getting married on Victoria Island in British Columbia. Three days before the wedding, his step-dad took us on a boat ride. We traveled around what was then called “Million Dollar Point.” My friend’s step-dad pointed out who lived in each “million dollar” mansion. One was especially opulent. It belonged to the inventor of the hula hoop. Looking across the water, each of us shook our heads and thought, “Why didn’t I think of that!”
I suppose we could spend hour after hour, and day after day, focusing on the “what ifs” in our lives. But to what end? We cannot change the past. We do not have control over our future. What we do have is the present. The moments in our days and nights when we can choose to do good, moments when we can help a neighbor and times when we can extend a hand to someone in need.
As you move through this week, do not let the “what ifs” of your life rob you of the moments you have been given to make the world a better place. Share your moments with family and friends and neighbors. Never give in to “what if.” Always lift up the powerful opportunities of each moment.