BOARD TALK | opinion

ON MAN'S WEALTH AND LIFE'S TREASURES

By Atty. Domingo Y. Reyes, Jr., Ll.M., Ph.D.
Published December 16, 2021

"Citizen Kane (1941)," an old movie I saw long ago, tells a story of this very successful and wealthy self-made man named "Kane" who had a well-kept and guarded secret treasure that made everyone wonder. With people guessing and wondering, the treasure eventually became the subject of many speculations among the elite members of the community and public. Although Kane may not be considered a good man by society's standards, in view of the enormity of his wealth, everyone was concerned about what the possible value and price of this treasure might be. No amount of prodding from his family, close friends, and associates was enough to make him divulge his treasure only he had known. In fact, the plot of the story revolved around that very tightly kept secret treasure that I, like of the rest of the characters in the movie, kept on wondering what it might be. 

Until finally, the wealthy Kane died and softly uttered the word "Rosebud" on his deathbed. And quite expectedly everybody waited with bated breath about what was the treasure that was kept hidden all his life. Once the vault where the secret treasure was opened, to everyone's surprise or dismay, or amazement and/or disappointment, depending on what perspectives and values the viewers have, they found out that the well-kept secret treasure was a simple "wooden sleigh," the only gift that he received from his mother. Rosebud turned out to be the label of a cheap little sled on which Kane was playing on the day he was taken away from his home and his mother (It was unclear to me, or I could not remember anymore why her mom was taken from away from him). So precious was the gift because that was all of her mother's lifetime wealth given to him out of sheer love of a mother for his only son. For the rest of the characters and the viewers like me, it was "just an old sleigh" of no significant value anymore since it was old and worn out. But for that man, the sleigh was worth more than all the wealth he had, for it was his first toy, a remembrance of his mother's great love for him, who died when he was still young. Throughout his lifetime, the sleigh became the symbol of what his life was all about, a source of inspiration and strength for him, and an instrument of what became of him. According to one review of the movie, "in his subconscious it represented the simplicity, the comfort,… and also it stood for his mother's love, which Kane never lost."

How often have we interchangeably confused wealth with treasures? Oftentimes, we give more importance to our wealth than our treasures. However, wealth only gives us temporary, short-term happiness, a shallow and empty form of convenience. Treasures, on the other hand, are more lasting that give our life a much deeper purpose and a richer meaning about our existence. Like the rich man in the story, his wealth became the result of his treasure. The sleigh, despite its seeming worthlessness, provided him the reason, the motivation, the inspiration to be the kind of man he later became. Come to think of it, while we might not be the wealthy person that we probably desire to be, there are things in life that we keep close to our hearts like a precious treasure that we hold dear and consider sentimental because of what that treasure represents in our life. More than wealth, a treasure is what many, even myself, should keep for a long time, for as long as we can. More than its monetary value, it's the treasure's sentimental and intrinsic value that makes it meaningful and worth keeping.

Jesus preaches about treasures not of this lifetime but of a life that will come hereinafter. Let's heed Jesus' call to work for and build treasures that will lead us to eternal life. Like the parables, as we aspire for our priceless treasures, are we ready to give up all we have for it?

Let us reflect and meditate on our best-kept treasures. Let's revisit and once again rekindle the good feelings that our treasures bring into our life. Let's ponder upon how it contributed to who we are today. Let our treasures be our means to attain the everlasting life that God our Father promised us. (32)