Wednesday, October 2, 2013


The announcement over the corporate campus-wide speaker system blared… ALL NON-ESSENTIAL PERSONNEL LEAVE THE BUILDINGS IMMEDIATELY. We had heard the sirens screaming as the fire equipment raced into the office complex where our headquarters were located. 

Working for a very large international company, our headquarters spread out over a number of acres, I had received a quick phone call alert from Security a few moments earlier. The fire was on the roof of a building hundreds of yards away, a safe distance from our building where my staff was housed and I knew there was no danger. But as I heard the employees filing out of the building, I did wander out into the parking lot to see which of my staff felt that they were non-essential. I wanted to ask them why they felt unimportant.

This week I was reminded of that scene from the past when the U.S. government decided that, due to Congressional deadlock, non-essential personnel would not be coming to work next week. It brought back memories of how, since that earlier time, I had often thought about the difference between being essential in life and non-essential.

In fact, in life… EVERYONE is essential. Every one of God’s beautiful ideas has a purpose, a place, a mission, a joyous duty to be the reflection, the image and likeness of God’s love. It is good to remember the old Arab Proverb: “If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito.”

I’ve noticed, especially in our older population, that many folks, after they’ve retired, start to think of themselves as

non-essential. They seem to feel unneeded, content to sit on the sidelines no longer feeling part of the game. Others may sometimes feel that their job is not an important one, that they are continually passed by or ignored by others, maybe experiencing a seeming physical or mental disability or distressed financial situation leaving them stranded, or perhaps a failed relationship has rendered them sad, lonely, disappointed… “feeling worthless”! I believe it is because they may have lost sight of what is really ESSENTIAL!

Many of us have seen a television show called Antiques

Roadshow. This program features relics of the past, antiques that have been hidden away, possibly for years. Many of the fine jewelry, furniture or crystal pieces, made by the finest artists, are clearly valuable.   But some, the rusty, cracked old items, worn, stained, bruised perhaps, seemingly useless, when scrutinized by the Auction Experts show a stamp, a maker’s mark or unique features indicating they are extremely rare, or were made by a
master craftsman and therefore very valuable.

What a lesson for us, a clue as to how we should recognize the value in ourselves and others. If we look deep within ourselves we will each find that "maker's mark" of the
Maker's Mark - Craftsman Identification
Craftsman, that Creator who makes perfect ideas of timeless value, each individual a creation of usefulness, something to be taken off the display shelf and demonstrated every day for its beauty, charm, inspiration and usefulness.  
 We each were built for an eternity of giving and not with a short shelf life. 

Christ Jesus showed us just how essential everyone is by way of the Beatitudes given in his Sermon on the Mount.* And, the beautiful lesson of the Beatitudes, the dictionary describes beatitude as “a state of utmost bliss”, shows HOW we can reflect the Essential Qualities of life, which bring those blessings to us and others. 

Each Beatitude starts with Blessed, which according to Webster means “having a sacred nature: connected with God.” The Beatitudes include: Blessed are those who are gentle, who hunger and thirst for God’s approval, who show mercy, whose thoughts are pure,  who make peace. There are others (Matthew 5) but these few serve as a great starting point for me towards seeing them as Essential. 

We may not be a prominent government office holder, a captain of industry, an important educator, doctor or theologian… but every one of us, no matter our human status, is vital in God’s plan. Just as the number set is not complete without every number, reaching to infinity, we all have a place.  Oh how the world needs every one of these qualities.
We can begin to see ourselves as the very presence of meekness and love, an outgoing ray from God, in fact, the evidence of God’s presence... right here and now. Embracing the world with tenderness, purity and peace, we will bloom and blossom and fill our rightful place in God’s plan.  

A favorite little hymn verse conveys the thought:

What if the little rain should say,  **
“So small a drop as I
Can ne’er refresh those thirsty fields,
I’ll tarry in the sky;”

Does not each raindrop help to form
The cool, refreshing show’r?
And every ray of light to warm
And beautify the flow’r?

Will you join me in my quest to be an “Essential Raindrop”? 

*   The Holy Bible   Matthew 5
** Attributed to Jerome McCauley  1911


Melissa Hayden said...

Thanks Pat. Musical notes don't get old either! They still lift the heart to song - and the melody just wouldn't work if one of them was missing.

Patrick Collins said...

Thanks Melissa!! Such a good point! We need all of them, even B flat!!! And life's melody plays on forever!

Poet said...

Thank you, my friend. May your essays lead those of your readers who have not yet discovered them, to the unspeakable treasures that lie in the Holy Bible, in the words and works of Christ Jesus, and in the teachings of Christian Science.