The year that I turned seven, the Hasbro company introduced an amazing new toy called the Lite-Brite. It was a light box with little colored pegs and templates that created wonderful glowing pictures. It was the “must have” toy that year and was at the top of everyone’s Christmas list. My list was no exception and I gave my parents plenty of casual reminders to make sure they did not forget.
It seemed to take forever but Christmas morning finally arrived and I was not disappointed. I still remember the excitement I felt as I ripped off the wrapping paper. My reminders had worked and I had my very own Lite-Brite.
I couldn’t wait to start making my own glowing masterpieces. As soon as the last present was opened I raced up the stairs and tore open the box. I carefully removed my treasured gift from it’s box and plugged it in but nothing happened. My parents had failed to read a few very important words printed on the box…“light bulb not included”.
My excitement faded instantly. It was Christmas day! There were no stores open to purchase light bulbs. There would be no glowing pictures for me that day. My parents assured me they would buy me a light bulb the next day but I could not be consoled. I had waited long enough.
I spent that afternoon making every single picture that came with my Lite-Brite. I created pictures of butterflies, clowns, roosters and flowers. But the pictures I made were not light. They were not bright. They were just barely recognizable shapes made of colored pegs. They were not the wonderful, glowing pictures that I had eagerly anticipated.
The next day my parents kept their word and bought me a light bulb but it did me no good. I had used up all of the picture templates the day before. I had light but no more pictures to make. I had wasted them all the day before because I could not wait one more day.
I have thought about this experience many times over the years. It has always served to remind me to be more patient. It has also reminded me that sometimes we must sacrifice the things we want now for something better or greater in the future.