American Red, White & Blue
The story is told of a merchant in a small town
who had identical twin sons. The boys worked for their
father in the department store he owned and, when he died,
they took over the store.
Everything went well until
the day a dollar bill disappeared. One of the brothers had
left the bill on the cash register and walked outside with a
customer. When he returned, the money was gone.
asked his brother, Did you see that dollar bill on the cash
register? His brother replied that he had not. But the young
man kept probing and questioning. He would not let it alone.
Dollar bills just don't get up and walk away! Surely you
must have seen it! There was subtle accusation in his voice.
Tempers began to rise. Resentment set in.
Before long, a deep and bitter chasm divided
the young men. They refused to speak. They finally decided
they could no longer work together and a dividing wall was
built down the center of the store. For twenty years
hostility and bitterness grew, spreading to their families
and to the community.
Then one day a man in an
automobile licensed in another state stopped in front of the
store. He walked in and asked the clerk, "How long have
you been here?"
The clerk replied, "That
he'd been there all his life." The customer said, "I
must share something with you. Twenty years ago I was riding
the rails and came into this town in a boxcar. I hadn't
eaten for three days. I came into this store from the back
door and saw a dollar bill on the cash register. I put it in
my pocket and walked out. All these years I haven't been
able to forget that. I know it wasn't much money, but I had
to come back and ask your forgiveness."
stranger was amazed to see tears well up in the eyes of this
middle-aged man. "Would you please go next door and
tell that same story to the man in the store?" he said.
Then the man was even more amazed to see two
middle-aged men, who looked very much alike, embracing each
other and weeping together in the front of the store. After
twenty years, the brokenness was mended. The wall of
resentment that divided them came down.
It is so
often the little things that finally divide people- words
spoken in haste; criticisms; accusations; resentments. And
once divided, they may never come together again.
solution, of course, is to let it go. There is really
nothing particularly profound about learning to let go of
little resentments. But for fulfilling and lasting
relationships, letting them go is a must. Refuse to carry
around bitterness and you may be surprised at how much
energy you have left for building bonds with those you love.
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