This, they say is a true story. And it is doing the rounds on chain mail. Wringing hearts. Bringing tears.
This is the story of Robert Fulghum and his eight-year-old daughter Molly. It was Molly`s job to hand her father his brown paper lunch bag each morning before he headed off to work.
One morning, in addition to his usual lunch bag, Molly handed him a second paper bag. This one was worn and held together with duct tape, staples, and paper clips.
"Why two bags?" Fulghum asked.
"The other is something else," Molly answered.
"What`s in it?"
"Just some stuff. Take it with you."
And so he did. At lunch, he wolfed down his meal and tore open the second bag. Out fell the contents - two hair ribbons, three small stones, a plastic dinosaur, a pencil stub, a tiny sea shell, two animal crackers, a marble, a used lipstick, a small doll, two chocolate kisses, and 13 pennies. Fulghum smiled, finished eating, and swept the desk clean into the wastebasket - leftover lunch, Molly`s junk and all.
That evening, Molly ran up behind him as he read the paper. She wanted her bag back. " I left it at the office" replied Fulghum, not entirely truthfully. "Why?" "I forgot to put this note in it," she said. "And, besides, those are my things in the sack, Daddy, the ones I really like - I thought you might like to play with them, but now I want them back. You didn`t lose the bag, did you, Daddy?" "Oh, no," he said, lying. "I just forgot to bring it home. I`ll bring it tomorrow." While Molly hugged her father`s neck, he unfolded the note that had not made it into the sack: "I love you, Daddy."
Molly had given him her treasures. All that an 8-year-old held dear.Love in a paper sack, and he missed it - not only missed it, but had thrown it in the wastebasket. So back he went to the office. Just ahead of the night janitor, he picked up the wastebasket and poured the contents on his desk. The bag didn`t look so good, but the stuff was all there and that`s what counted.
After dinner, he asked Molly to tell him about the stuff in the sack.
It took a long time to tell. Every thing had a story or a memory or was attached to dreams and imaginary friends. It was all so sweet and endearing.
"Sometimes I think of all the times in this sweet life," Fulghum concludes the story, "when I must have missed the affection I was being given. A friend calls this `standing knee deep in the river and dying of thirst.` " We should all remember that it`s not the destination that counts in life - it`s the journey. The little girl smiles, the dinosaurs and chocolate kisses wrapped in old paper bags that we sometimes throw away too thoughtlessly, each day, each a tiny treasure.
The journey with the people we love is all that really matters. Such a simple truth so easily forgotten.