I set a world record last week.
Unofficial it may be, but I am pretty sure this particular record will go unchallenged.
I was wrapping a pass-the-parcel.
I added layer upon layer.
I made sure that, within each layer, there was a little surprise for the opener to discover.
I ended up with a not bad looking parcel.
If you allow for the fact that it was wrapped in newspaper, anyway.
Feeling pleased, I sat back and admired it.
I even took a photo.
Then, out of the corner of my eye, I saw something.
Something that I shouldn’t have been able to see.
Because it should have been beneath the layer upon layer upon layer I was smugly admiring.
Along with the other prize in the middle of the parcel.
I’d been so busy focussing on the outer layers that I’d forgotten to include a crucial part in the centre.
The outer layers may have looked good, but that didn’t matter.
Because I’d forgotten about the inside.
As I unwrapped layer after layer,
placed the crucial bit in the centre,
and repeated the action of wrapping layer after layer after layer,
I had time to think.
Plenty of time.
At first, my thoughts were preoccupied with berating myself.
How had I messed this up?
Who gets wrapping a parcel wrong?
What a waste of time.
Not to mention paper.
How had I managed to miss the centre out?
Thoughts moved from berating myself to questioning myself.
How had I managed to overlook the centre?
The most important part?
And I realised it was because I hadn’t checked.
I’d assumed that it was all there.
Was all ok.
But I hadn’t checked.
I’d been too busy trying to make sure that I had a half decent looking parcel.
And I’d forgotten about the main thing:
I thought about my life.
Circumstances I come across.
People I meet.
How often do I remember that, beneath layer upon layer upon layer,
lies what really matters?
And it really matters that what really matters doesn’t get overlooked.