Stolen Joy

There was a man who lived across the street from an abandoned home. Every spring the most beautiful daffodils and tulips would bloom in the overgrown yard, and every spring the man would think about digging them up and planting them in his yard. One year, after watching the flowers every day and considering digging them up, the man resolved to do so. “After all,” he thought, “who could it hurt?” The home was abandoned. That night, as dusk settled over the neighborhood, he got a shovel and bucket and prepared to dig up the flowers, when at the last moment, his eye was drawn to a flower in his own yard. The flower came with the house; he didn’t plant it. And then he remembered the joy of discovering what was buried beneath the ground that first spring in his home, and he realized, despite all his attempts to justify transplanting flowers from an abandoned home, that he was robbing the next homeowners of the same joy he had experienced that first spring. The commandment to not steal moves beyond simply taking objects or ideas but even into the very realm of robbing others of their joy.