Reality Check

Reality Check

Glen Robinson

I was upset. I was mad. I felt as if I had been taken advantage of.

Ever since the iPad had come out, I had wanted one. But we could never seem to squeeze enough extra cash from the family budget to afford one, and so I waited. Then the iPad 2 came out, and made the desire stronger. Finally we decided that if I was successful in selling a couple of items at home, I could use the money to buy the device.

The day that I left the Apple store with my new iPad, I was elated. Over the next six weeks, I learned more and more things I could do with it. I surfed the web with it, watched movies and TV shows, read books, took notes and made lists with it. I even bought a nice case that was both efficient and attractive.

And then one day I had to go with my wife to Home Depot. We were remodeling our kitchen, and I had made a list on my iPad of the items we needed to buy. One minute it was in the shopping cart, next to my wife’s purse. The next minute it was gone.

We checked all over the store to see if anyone had found it. When I got home, I realized that I had personal information on it, so I had to go online and change passwords to my e-mail, Facebook, Twitter and Netflix accounts. And I fumed and fussed. How could this happen? I was always careful. I deserved it. Why me?

The next day was Sabbath, but it was hard for me to pull myself out of the dark funk that had swallowed me. The music and positive words during church didn’t make a dent in my self-pity.

That afternoon we attended a memorial service for a friend of ours, Sara Saldana. We met Sara and her husband, David, when we were involved with Marriage Encounter weekends a few years ago. She was our age, probably even a little younger, and had been taken from her family much too soon. The Keene Seventh-day Adventist Church sanctuary was filled that afternoon. Testimony after testimony talked about how her home was always open to visitors, how she took joy in serving others, and how she was a bright light in the lives of those who knew her.

And hearing these testimonies made me realize how selfish and foolish I had been. I knew all along that the iPad was just junk; just a piece of plastic, silicon and metal. I had placed value on it that I should have put on the people around me.

Sara had known the secret; that true joy comes from serving others. It doesn’t come from nice houses, or good-looking cars, or even iPads. I’ve often thought what I am here on this earth for, and what kind of legacy I would like to leave when I go. I don’t want my motto to be the modern one, which goes: “The kid with the most toys wins.”

Instead, I want to be like Sara. I want to make a difference in other people’s lives.

Perhaps by putting them first, I can learn to find out who I really am.

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