A Surprise in the Driveway told by Ken Pierpont
When I was small, before my Grandfather Pierpont had retired from Owens Corning Fiberglass in Newark, we visited the farm one weekend. It was in those first few warm and wonderful days of summer. We suburban kids longed so deeply to feel the grass between our toes. We longed for the touch of the evening breeze on our face, the sun on our heads, the scent of things that grow. We longed for a ride on the tractor-for a evening with our cane poles on the edge of the quiet pond as the summer evening set in and the sound of the crickets crecendoed with the waning light.
When we arrived Grandpa announced that he had a surprise for us. It was in the lane. We would have to search. We all scurried to see what it was. The factory had discarded dozens of large green balls that looked like dark green glass marbles a little darker in color than telephone insulator glass, but similar. Each round class ball had a certain imperfection in it. Grandpa had spread them in the drive and told us if we found them we could have them. We gathered them like greedily little pirates.
Back home marbles this size were called “boulders” and we discovered to our delight that they were coveted by the neighbor kids. I had a large supply of them at one time so a swapped them for “stealeys” and for other “boulders,” and sometimes for baseball cards.
Grandma and Grandpa survived the depression, but not without hunger and not without hardship and not without watching my great grandfather lose my Grandfather’s childhood home–a pleasant farm whose house crowned a hill looking out over hills and valleys of pasture and field. It was on the main road through Chatham just north of town so we often reversed the sad story. I think it must have been a part of who my grandparents were.
Grandma and Grandpa were serious about their work. They were diligent about their savings. They were conscientious about the smallest expenditure. They didn’t waste things. They didn’t throw away things that were used. They salvaged and found multiple uses for things. They saved things others threw away. They saw value in things others had no use for. Grandpa immediately saw value in the unique green glass balls.
That was years ago. The farm is no longer in family. The place is still there but almost nothing survives now that I remember from my youth except for the great Spruce still standing on the bank of the spring run. You could sift every stone in the lane that winds down from the road over the creek to the house and you would find nothing but white native limestone gravel. I’m sure over the years we mined every green glass ball from that lane. I would very much love to have one of those marbles today. A stranger would never understand their value, but if you were to show one to my bothers or my sister I’m sure it would start a bidding war.
What if we had the ability to see today the value something would have once the years have past? What if we could see ahead and know how worthless somethings are that preoccupy us and worry us now? Wouldn’t it be good to be able to see things that way.
God help me see the value of things the way you see it–through the lens of Your perfect eternal evaluation. When time is no more what will I value, what will I cherish? What among the things that I worry about here will lose it’s value when time is no more? Are you sure what you are worrying about right now is worth worrying about? Are you sure the things you squander now won’t have value one day?
A wise teacher once told me: “Wisdom is seeing life from God’s point-of-view, and God’s will is exactly what you would choose if you knew the future.” (Bill Gothard)