- "The Will" is the title of a short play written by the celebrated playwright, Sir James Matthew Barrie.
A newly-wed glamorous couple, bride and groom, visit their lawyer's office to have their 'Will' drawn up. They are head over heels in mutual love and adoration. Their eyes glisten with tears of passionate joy. Again and again, they fall into each other's embrace, and deliriously kiss, wearing their hearts on their sleeves. Philip Ross, the groom, has inherited some money. He wants to leave the entire sum to his bride. But she insists that part of it be shared with his cousins and a certain convalescent home. Their lawyer is immensely impressed by their unselfishness. He blurts out to himself, as they leave,"You are a ridiculous couple, but don't change."
Twenty years later they return to make a new 'Will', now covering a substantial estate. The wife is hell-bent on ensuring that her husband, whom she now absolutely scorns, shall do nothing silly or stupid. She disdainfully spurns his wish to include his cousins, and the convalescent home is altogether dropped. Each refers to the estate as "my money", and only after a protracted wrangle is any accord arrived at all, on item after item.
After the lapse of another twenty years, Sir Philip Ross, now knighted, visits the lawyer's office alone. His wife is dead. He says, all his children have become "rotters". He has decided to annul all the previous 'Wills' to leave out, everyone of his relatives, from being a beneficiary. He is annoyed with himself and everyone else. He almost screams to his attorney: "I leave it ... leave it ... my God, I don't know what to do with it!" He paces the floor restlessly, and shouts out madly at last: "Here are the names of half-a-dozen I fought to get my money. I beat them. Leave it to those men, with my curses."
Belated, indeed, it was when the stark truth dawned upon Sir Philip Ross, "What shall it profit a man to gain the whole world, and lose his soul?" The futility of it all was very vivid, but to no avail, except for the seething bitterness, resentment and self-pity. This should be an eye-opener to the rest of us especially in the context of the reported success story of four Indian Americans, who have made it to the Forbes' List of wealthiest Americans, and of whom two share the 271st place, while the other two rank 286th and 317th respectively. We too may be tempted to toil and moil day and night without rest, with a view to keeping alive our dream of emulating their enviable earthly success, one day or another. That indeed would be a tragic mistake, to avoid which, we need to say habitually
Solomon's prayer in Prov. 30:7-9. "Two things I ask of Thee; deny them not to me before I die. Remove far from me falsehood and lying; give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is needful for me, lest I be full, and deny Thee, and say, 'Who is the Lord?' or lest I be poor, and steal, and profane the name of my God." Solomon's prayer will help us prioritize our goals ON TIME, according to the Christian scale of values that does not change with the passage of time, and thus, avoid Sir Philip Ross' fate of having to face the reality in abject agony and despair when IT IS TOO LATE. It will also empower us to join the Psalmist, in singing THANKFULLY and boldly, "As for me, I shall behold Thy face in righteousness; when I awake, I shall be satisfied with beholding Thy form." (Ps. 17:15).
Nakkolackal V. L. Eapen,
Austin, TX.(ID.NO. 4160)
"He that does good to another, does good also to himself, not only in the consequences, but in the very act; for the consciousness of well-doing is, in itself, an ample reward." (Seneca). Prov. 11:25 reads: "A liberal man will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered."