The cheerful girl with bouncy golden curls was almost five. Waiting
with her mother at the checkout stand, she saw them: a circle of glistening
white pearls in a pink foil box. “Oh please, Mommy. Can I have them?
Please, Mommy, please?”

Quickly the mother checked the back of the little foil box and then looked
back into the pleading blue eyes of her little girl’s upturned face.
“A dollar ninety-five. That’s almost $2.00. If you really want them,
I’ll think of some extra chores for you and in no time you can save enough
money to buy them for yourself. Your birthday’s only a week away and you might
get another crisp dollar bill from Grandma.”

As soon as Jenny got home, she emptied her penny bank and counted
out 17 pennies. After dinner, she did more than her share of chores and she
went to the neighbor and asked Mrs. McJames if she could pick dandelions for
ten cents. On her birthday, Grandma did give her another new dollar bill and
at last she had enough money to buy the necklace.

Jenny loved her pearls. They made her feel dressed up and grown up. She wore
them everywhere – Sunday school, kindergarten, even to bed. The only time she
took them off was when she went swimming or had a bubble bath. Mother said if
they got wet, they might turn her neck green.

Jenny had a very loving daddy and every night when she was ready for bed,
he would stop whatever he was doing and come upstairs to read her a story.
One night when he finished the story, he asked Jenny, “Do you love me?”

“Oh yes, Daddy. You know that I love you.”
“Then give me your pearls.”
“Oh, Daddy, not my pearls. But you can have Princess – the white horse
from my collection. The one with the pink tail. Remember, Daddy? The one
you gave me. She’s my favorite.”

“That’s okay, Honey. Daddy loves you. Good night.” And he brushed her cheek
with a kiss.”

About a week later, after the story time, Jenny’s daddy asked again,
“Do you love me?”

“Daddy, you know I love you.”
“Then give me your pearls.”

“Oh Daddy, not my pearls. But you can have my baby doll. The brand new
one I got for my birthday. She is so beautiful and you can have the yellow
blanket that matches her sleeper.”

“That’s okay. Sleep well. God bless you, little one. Daddy loves you”
And as always, he brushed her cheek with a gentle kiss.

A few nights later when her daddy came in, Jenny was sitting on her bed
with her legs crossed Indian-style. As he came close, he noticed her chin
was trembling and one silent tear rolled down her cheek.

“What is it, Jenny? What’s the matter?”

Jenny didn’t say anything but lifted her little hand up to her daddy. And when
she opened it, there was her little pearl necklace. With a little quiver, she
finally said, “Here, Daddy. It’s for you.” With tears gathering in his own
eyes, Jenny’s kind daddy reached out with one hand to take the dime-store
necklace, and with the other hand he reached into his pocket and pulled out a
blue velvet case with a strand of genuine pearls and gave them to Jenny. He
had them all the time. He was just waiting for her to give up the dime-store
stuff so he could give her the genuine treasure.

So it is with our Heavenly Father. He is waiting for us to give up the cheap
things in our lives so that he can give us beautiful treasure. Isn’t God
good? Are you holding onto things which God wants you to let go of? Are
you holding on to harmful or unnecessary partners, relationships, habits
and activities which you have come so attached to that it seems impossible
to let go? Sometimes it is so hard to see what is in the other hand but do
believe this one thing… that God will never take away something
without giving you something better in its place?

About Fr. Ben Cameron

Fr. Ben Cameron was born in Kokomo, Indiana, and grew up as a member of St. Patrick Catholic Church in that city. During his junior high and high school years, he attended a small Christian school that was operated by a local Baptist church. It was in that non-Catholic environment, where his faith was often challenged, that he began to study the Catholic Faith. Fr. Ben is a 1991 graduate of Christendom College, a small Catholic liberal arts college in Front Royal, Virginia, where he became involved in a lay apostolate known as the Legion of Mary, which awakened his desire to share his Catholic Faith with others. Upon receiving his degree in Political Science and History, Fr. Ben planned a career in the political arena, but soon found that God had other plans. He joined the Fathers of Mercy in 1992, studied theology at Holy Apostles Seminary in Cromwell, Connecticut, and was ordained to the Holy Priesthood on May 31, 1997.