Monday, November 1, 2010

Diamond in the Rough

I have been reading lately how valuable it is to write stories that warm the heart.

Want to have your readers fighting to get to your proposal when it is received?

The mundane remains exactly that when there is no magic assigned to it. Telling a story that sets your nonprofit apart from everything else a foundation receives is your task. Giving them every item they ask for is essential. Giving them more of your story that sets you apart is the difference between being funded or not.

Why not simply tell them your tale.

When does the simple become precious?

I wonder to myself as to when, the moment… when the simple, unloved and unprecious becomes the loved, the desired and the coveted?

Have you ever had something so precious, that immediately you had to devise a method to keep it safe from harm, protect its health, keep it from damage, prevent its loss or hide it?

Suppose a good friend gave you a loose diamond, a genuine sparkling diamond, nicely cut and valuable? Would you simply stick it in your pocket? Would you wrap it in tissue and place it in your wallet or purse?

You might if you had no other temporary means of protection. You could place it in your mouth; that would certainly protect it in many ways. Even if you swallowed it, it would ultimately return to you in a protected state.

I have a radio that I really find valuable for my needs. It is only a radio. It plays music, news and sports through a speaker or earphone. It operates on batteries or AC power. It tunes all the broadcasting bands, am, fm and shortwave. Its nothing really special but I am attached to it!

Though I believe that I am careful while using it, I have bent the antenna, broken the clear plastic cover that protects the digital readout, ripped the plastic stand that allows the radio to free-stand on a counter top and generally have rubbed away all symbols on the case that explains which button controls what operation.

I have caught myself being very protective of its survival. Even though I put in due diligence to protect it from further damage, it seems to want to be harmed a little bit at a time.

For example, I might place it in close proximity to where I am working on my car. I put it quite firmly into a spot where it will be the safest from any sudden movements that I might make. I put it inside a square empty box filled with old towels to support it from the bottom and side of the box. It lays on the surface of the cloth. The antenna, or what is left of it, protrudes from one side, allowing it to pick up what signals it can.

I work for hours cleaning my car. I decide I need a box to put un-needed items away for a rainy day. I grab the first one I see quite hardily, my radio not only leaves its protected cocoon but is launched into space, still playing of course. It isn’t until I realize what is flying through the air that I have forgotten where my radio was located.

The radio has any number of possible landing surfaces to end its short flight. It could gently touch down on the stack of moving blankets that cover three quarters of the driveway’s surface or it could attempt to destroy itself on the boulders and miscellaneous junk that are propped against one side of an oak tree.

Every detachable piece of plastic, battery and loose appendage is dispersed in a 360 degree radius from its out-of-control landing. The radio does not land on its six possible flat surfaces but on one corner on a point in a descending spiral. I didn’t know that plastic could disintegrate until now.

I walk slowly over to the rock pile. My radio is embedded in the stones. I am reminded of the obelisk from the film 2001, except my radio is silver, not black.

Well, Hi Ho Silver. I have often thought of my radio as a tough one, but this is testing its armor to the max.

I pull it from the debris, turn it over, its digital display is in permanent flash on and off at least indicating that the internal battery is still in place somewhere inside the electronic guts. A sigh of relief escapes me. It reminds me of an old VCR that has lost its programming.

Flash on…flash off…flash on…flash off.

I collect all the pieces I can find. I attach the remaining section of the antenna back on the radio. I slide two knobs back on their exposed stems, reinstall four AA batteries into their compartment and slide the battery cap back in position. I dust the radio off and make note of all the new cosmetic scrapes and scratches. I hit the on button. Music surrounds me from the little speaker. I am soothed and satiated for the moment.

Now what has all this got to do with protecting diamonds from destruction? Well…it’s all the same, don’t you think?

No matter what value we place on something or somebody, the level of value is often confused with where we place our allegiance. My radio for instance; it pleases me to no end to listen to any program or music that I desire, anytime, anyplace and at any time at my whim. It is what the machine ultimately provides and not the vessel that produces the sound. What I deem so precious and valuable is the gift the radio delivers to me in the form of companionship.

That the end product is in the form of music, news and sports does nothing to negate the reason I find it so desirable.

I must conclude that I often protect the wrong things and situations when I should be looking at the results of what we actually desire.

If I give you a diamond and you casually stick it in your blue jeans pocket; and as you do so you smile at me in such a way as to let me know that something truly special has taken place and passed between us; would it make any difference if I had given you a paper band from a five cent cigar and placed it on your finger?

I think not!

Especially if you smiled at me in the same knowing whimsical way, my protection mode, my loving need for your affection kicks in as if you had announced to the world your need for my attention.

Maybe we spend too much time trying to keep the things that mean the least. We may be comforted for a time, pampered for a fleeting moment, but when all the marbles have been counted, the only thing we have for ever is the love we share between us.

Kindness is a thing and it deserves our attention.

Have you ever purchased a new car? Then in the next few days of your ownership you begin to notice how many others are driving one just like it?

When we devote our attention to things, people and situations as a group, in mass it seems to draw our collected consciousness of the Universe to it. Thoughts become things. We should only concentrate on the best ones. Love like there is no tomorrow. Believe that the best is yet to come. Give it all your best intentions.

I know. Sometimes I am more of an imagineer than grant writer. I know that this helps me. I want tell the story they have been waiting to hear. Time always lets me know if  I was right or wrong.

What do you think?

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