An old woman who lived a lonely, unhappy life, awoke one morning to find a stranger at her door.
The stranger said to her, “I have come to give you three CHOICES and only three. CHOOSE the three things that YOU VALUE MOST IN LIFE and they will be granted but, once you choose, all other things you value in life will be stripped away. They will be gone forever. You have just one day to make your choices. I will be back tomorrow to hear your choices.”
The old woman went to her favorite chair and sat down. “I value many things,” she thought. “Even though I am often unhappy, if I can choose only three things I will surely be VERY unhappy because so many people and things in life are important to me and they will be gone forever.”
The old woman decided to make a list of all the things and people she valued and then slowly eliminate items until only three were left. The more she worked on her list the longer it got.
”I didn’t realize so many people and certain things had such value to me,” she thought. “I don’t want to lose any of them.”
She studied her long list. “I regret that I have neglected many of the things on my list, but they are still important to me. I don’t want to eliminate any of them. I just can’t make such choices.”
All night long she sat and studied her list. The more she reviewed each item on her list, the clearer it became to her that she had so many things to be thankful for. She had simply forgotten how blessed she was.
Morning came and soon there was a knock on the door. Terrified that she had not done what the stranger requested, she reluctantly opened the door.
”Do you have your three choices made?” the stranger asked.
”No, no, I can’t decide,” the woman cried. “Please let me keep everything on my list. Please don’t make me choose.”