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By Ted Werth
It was early Sunday evening and the thought hit me out of the blue.  I got up from what I was doing and went straight to the garage.  For once I knew right where to look and at once my suspicion was confirmed.  It was a pathetic sight, but more about that later.

Some of my best writing ideas come to me in church.  I have at times thought, “I wonder if I could get away with a laptop in here.”  I’m always concerned that I’m going to lose the full thought by the time I get a chance to sit at a computer at some later time.  Writing in a journal has never worked for me either. My mind goes much faster than I can write and I find it rather frustrating.

So I’ve reached a compromise.  I enter short notes on my iPhone hoping that it will bring the ideas back to mind later. It looks bad; I’m sure to the casual observer it looks like I’m playing Solitaire or reading Facebook.

On this particular Sunday our pastor was talking about what he referred to as a “bag mentality”.  Like the rich miser that buries his bag of money under his house, this is the hoarding nature that affects us all to one degree or another.  My first recollection of this nature goes back to grade school when my friends and I would accumulate, literally, pounds of candy on Halloween.  Or gallons; it just depended on how you wanted to measure it.

When I would get home my Dad would always say, “Let me see what you’ve got.”  I dreaded it. After all, I was the one that went out and collected it and now I was going to lose some of it.  I was always sure that he would take the prized possessions.  The full-sized chocolate candy bars that some neighbors gave out.  I wanted to dig out and offer up the candy that I knew I wouldn’t eat.  Instead I would pout; not outwardly, but inwardly for sure. Once I made my sacrifice to the head of the household I would stash my bag away in a safe place in my room and hope that no one else would ask for any of my treasure.

Within a couple days, I would be sick of candy.  Eventually the rest of the candy would be set out for the rest of the family, or more likely tossed out with the trash.

How much better to be generous.  I’ve never seen anyone smiling or having much fun when they are focused on seeing how much they can keep for themselves. Rather, think about the exchange of good feelings when you give someone your time or gift with no expectation of being paid back.  I know which scenario  I would like to spend more time on.

Oh yeah, that trip to the garage; when the bag mentality was being shared in church that morning a thought flashed through my mind. This thought came back to me so I promptly went out to the garage and pulled open the closet door. Sure enough, there was the half-empty bag of spring flower bulbs.  I quickly dug into the bag and sure enough, they were useless.  Empty shells that tried their best to grow in the dark until — lacking water, sun and soil — they died.

You see, I found a great deal on these in the Spring.  So good, in fact, that there were more than I could use in the garden space I had. So I stashed the extras away thinking I would find a place to plant the rest,  even though I knew I had no other locations with enough sun. How much better it would have been to give them to one of several neighbors that would have readily put them to use.

Blooming flowerFlower bulbs are amazing things.  Stored inside the ugly egg sized brown lump is potential. A living object with the potential to bloom and bring forth dozens of beautiful flowers.  Given time, many bulbs will multiply many times over, eventually allowing a harvest that can provide for the next garden. Of course this only works if we take them out of the bag to start with.

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