Along with our kids, my wife and I worked for a company that held motivational and instructional conferences for small business owners. We used to travel one weekend each month to Copps Coliseum in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. While my wife was organizing and coordinating the event from the front office, I was responsible for what we called the “Tool Room”, which was basically the book store where we sold books, tapes, CD’s and other material to help the small business owner build their businesses. Our kids worked the cash registers and computers as they filled out orders for the more than 10, 000 people who would attend these conferences. It was a great time in our lives and we all have good memories of the time we worked and traveled together on these trips.
The only aspect that I really hated about the whole experience is that I had to drive the truck to each of these events. While my wife and kids were enjoying each trip in the comfort of our family van, I was driving a rental truck from Ryder. If you have never crossed the border in a rental truck after 9-11 then you have never really experienced anything in your life. Entering into Canada was not the problem. Getting back into the United States was the issue. The paperwork was endless and difficult to get it just the way you needed it to cross the border. About the time you had it down the rules would change. More than once I did not know about these changes until I got to the gate. Then the experience would get real… real fast.
Now I understand that the Border Patrol and Homeland Security Department have a job to do. I am thankful for the hard work and dedication it takes keeping the United States safe from those who would do us harm. But as a rule of thumb, if you crossed back into the US, the inquiry and subsequent search made you a tad bit defensive. You were always assumed guilty and you would have to prove your innocence. It always seemed to me to be like the old Seinfeld episode of the “Soup Nazi”. Stand here and don’t speak until spoken to, don’t smile and don’t lean on the counter.
At any rate, this week I was thinking about the trips we took to Canada and the fun times I had working not only with my family but of working with the friends I made from Canada. Even though I am friends with some of them on Facebook, I still miss them. The memories we made will always be favorites of mine. I could tell story after story of all the crazy fun stuff we did all those years ago. They were great times indeed.
I remember specifically one incident that I have carried with me all these years.
After being delayed at the border for a few hours, I was really late getting to Hamilton for our set up for the conference the next morning. I finally get to Copps Coliseum and all the doors were locked at the loading docks where we would unload our “stuff”.
I finally found an unlocked door and made my way into the empty arena. I knew where the Security Office was and I made my way down the hall to that office. I pushed the buzzer on the outside of the office door and the Security Guard sees me and waves for me to open the door. He tells me that before he can let me in the hall where we needed to set up for the conference, he had to finish doing the inventory of the “Lost and Found” that was delivered to them after the hockey game that was at the arena earlier that evening.
I walked with him into the Lost and Found storage room and watched him as he took inventory off the cart full of items brought in that night. The Lost and Found Storage Room was huge. There was no furniture, but there were rows and rows of shelving units. There was barely a place to stand as I navigated my way through the maze of shelves and carts full of coats , hats and gloves. In hindsight, I guess I expected a walk-in closet. But the room was triple the size of what I’d have guessed it to be. And in it, from wall to wall and floor to ceiling were racks and racks filled with bags of all shapes and sizes. I was shocked at what I saw. Besides the standard coats, hats and gloves that you would expect to find, there were cameras, laptops, cell phones, suitcases, briefcases and bags and bags of what looked like clothes. Just about anything you can imagine I saw in that room.
“Whoa! What a mountain of stuff!”, I said.
“You’re telling me!”, he chuckled.
“All this stuff is missing?”
“Not missing… They’re just waiting for their owners to pick them up.”
“How in the world do people just forget to get their stuff? Don’t they realize they don’t have their camera or laptop?”, I ask.
I now think back to what I’d seen that night. Mounds of forgotten, lost and abandoned things, sitting in a holding room, waiting for the right someone to show up and take them home. How could people be so careless or so reckless? Didn’t these people know that they “lost” something valuable? Did they not care that their personal belongings were just waiting there for them to claim?
And in the last few days since I remembered this story, the words of that Security Guard have lingered in my head and my heart.
“You’d be amazed to know what’s just sitting here, waiting to be claimed.”
I’ve caught myself wondering if that could be said of me. What else is lying up on a shelf, forgotten, lost or abandoned and waiting for me to claim it?
The more I live, the more I’m convinced that fulfilling our purpose in life isn’t automatic. I sure wish I could believe we don’t miss anything important in this life, but I can’t honestly make that case. We don’t accomplish everything we’re meant to do just by being, or obtain everything meant to benefit us and others simply because we’re moving and breathing. We have to want it. We have to want to get what was meant for us.
Our life is ours to claim. But far too many of us don’t reach for more because we find it hard to believe there could be more for us than what we see.
Jesus Christ has prepared a way of forgiveness of our sin and a way to eternal Salvation. It is ours to have. It is just sitting there waiting for us to “claim” it from a loving God, who provided this by offering up His only Son to die on the Cross for our sins.
Besides the Salvation and Forgiveness that is found in Jesus Christ, there are many other blessings that come from God that are there for us to claim. This week, I’ve spent some time imagining a room filled from floor to ceiling with all the good things meant for us. Things meant for us to be. Things meant for us to have. Things for us to do and to give in this life.
Have you considered and wondered if there’s more waiting for you?
- Maybe a deeper love for your family and friends?
- A greater purpose and fulfillment in your work?
- Blessings beyond your hopes and needs?
- More for you to contribute to the world around you?
- Maybe a legacy that would shape generations to come?
- What if your life was meant for more than you’ve ever hoped or imagined?
With open hands and an open heart… ask for it.
You’d be amazed to know what’s just sitting here, waiting to be claimed.