He started putting the microphone down while his colleagues applauded and cheered. Then someone yelled, “What’s in the boxes?”
Grady rolled his eyes as if to say ‘Where is my head?’ “Thank you! I almost forgot about that. I’ve been looking forward to this for weeks. Please pass those around. Everyone gets one.”
The packages, all marked “FedEx Ground”, were given to everyone in the room, including spouses, boyfriends, girlfriends and even the six children who were there. Generally, everyone waited to open these mystery boxes until all of them had been passed around. The curiosity was palpable.
While Grady had been speaking, the two FedEx employees who had carted the boxes into the room had discreetly been preparing to pass them out. They had sliced the heavy tape along the top edge of one side of each box, and then snipped about an inch of the tape that held the top cardboard flaps together. So opening them would be as easy as tearing the rest of the tape as those top flaps get pulled apart, which everyone did.
As the bubble-wrapping of the contents of seventy-some boxes began to be removed, the reactions were mixed, though all positive. Some “got it” immediately and began exclaiming things like, “Oh, cool!” and “No way!” and “This is really awesome” and “How did you think of this?” After a few moments of that, Grady took to the microphone again and described what his friends and colleagues were looking at.
“I am giving you a gift that, as close to what I could think of, represents the gift I was given by my new friend who visited me and read to me in the hospital. Obviously, you can see that I’ve given you a clock. There are three clock faces, but as you can see, the middle one, labeled The Present, is the only one that operates as a working clock.”
“The clock face on the left – the one that is absolutely empty, with no numbers or hands or hash marks and labeled The Past– is blank precisely because the past is gone. There is nothing we can do about it except remember… and sometimes our memory lies to us or doesn’t tell the whole story because we simply never knew the whole story. And so it really is not all that relevant.”
“The clock on the right is different. The hour and minute and second hands are all pointing at twelve o’clock. They aren’t stuck. My word for it is ‘poised.’ It represents a new day. A new day is always ready to start. While I laid there it occurred to me that at any given moment, somewhere around the planet, a new day is always beginning. Since that’s the case, I can decide to live that way.”
“Any time I have failed to show love to someone, or I mess up in some way and violate what I know to be the path laid out for me, I now choose to say to myself and to God, “I want a new day. Please help me start over.”
Grady pulled out a well-worn piece of paper. “As I visited with this nice fellow, he said something I will never forget… although I wrote it down to make sure I say it right: “The past is a mist. It is gone right now. Since tomorrow doesn’t yet exist, it can surely shift. And that leaves today. The present is a gift.””
Immediately Hollan, one of the brothers, raised his glass and exclaimed, “I’ll drink to that!”
The party went late into the night and many new and old friendships were made and restored. This was really just the beginning of some exciting times for the people at Three Wise Insurance Services and for those they served.
This series, The Present is a Gift, along with the series titled The Words in Her Book and the series titled The Case Against Goals, will all be combined with other upcoming series about breakthroughs, transformation and achievement into one work: The Case Against Goals, an Obstacle Blaster e-book. In that book, we learn about Grady’s painful back story, how and why he makes the case against goals, and the better alternative to goals and goal setting he advocates. Please be watching for it and thank you for following the Obstacle Blaster blog.
To create a clock like the one described above, please visit the folks at …
To learn about the obstacles that FedEx founder Fred Smith blasted through as he established the world’s premier on-time package delivery system and service, click HERE.