There is an old fable involving a swan and a crane that reads like this:
A beautiful swan alighted by the banks of the water in which a crane was wading about seeking snails. For a few moments, the crane viewed the swan in stupid wonder and then inquired:
“Where do you come from?”
“I come from heaven!” replied the swan.
“And where is heaven?” asked the crane.
“Heaven!” said the swan, “Heaven! Have you never heard of heaven?” And the beautiful bird went on to describe the grandeur of her home. She told of streets of gold, and the gates and walls made of precious stones, and of rivers, pure as crystal. In eloquent terms the swan sought to describe the hosts who live in the other world, but without arousing the slightest interest on the part of the crane.
Finally the crane asked: “Are there any snails there?”
“Snails!” repeated the swan; “No! Of course there are not.”
“Then,” said the crane, as it continued its search along the slimy banks of the pool, “you can have your heaven. I want snails!”
Too often, we live our lives as the crane. We choose to focus our attention on the temporal enjoyment of things that are less important: money, big houses, nice cars, fancy clothes, cutting-edge technology…
And in exchange, we have lost sight of the beautiful things that truly matter.