Reposting from an email I received:
Once upon a time there was this girl who had four friends. She loved the 4th friend the most and adorned him with rich robes and treated him to the finest of delicacies. She gave him nothing but the very best.
She also loved the 3rd friend very much and was always showing him off to neighboring kingdoms. However, she feared that one day he would leave her for another.
She also loved her 2nd friend. He was her confidant and was always kind, considerate and patient with her. Whenever this girl faced a problem, she could confide in him, and he would help her get through the difficult times.
The girl’s 1st friend was a very loyal partner and had made great contributions in maintaining her wealth and kingdom. However, she did not love the first friend. Although he loved her deeply, she hardly took notice of him!
One day, the girl fell ill and she knew her time was short. She thought of her luxurious life and wondered, I now have four friends with me, but when I die, I’ll be all alone.’
Thus, she asked the 4th friend, ‘I loved you the most, endowed you with the finest clothing and showered great care over you. Now that I’m dying, will you follow me and keep me company?’
‘No way!’, replied the 4th friend, and he walked away without another word. His answer cut like a sharp knife right into her heart.
The sad girl then asked the 3rd friend, ‘I loved you all my life. Now that I’m dying, will you follow me and keep me company?’
‘No!’, replied the 3rd friend. ‘Life is too good! When you die, I’m going to marry someone else!’ Her heart sank and turned cold.
She then asked the 2nd friend, ‘I have always turned to you for help and you’ve always been there for me. When I die, will you follow me and keep me company?’
‘I’m sorry, I can’t help you out this time!’, replied the 2nd friend. ‘At the very most, I can only walk with you to your grave.’
His answer struck her like a bolt of lightning, and the girl was devastated.
Then a voice called out: ‘I’ll go with you. I’ll follow you no matter where you go.’
The girl looked up, and there was her first friend. He was very skinny as he suffered from malnutrition and neglect.
Greatly grieved, the girl said, ‘I should have taken much better care of you when I had the chance!’
In truth, you have 4 friend’s in your lives:
Your 4th friend is your body. No matter how much time and effort you lavish in making it look good, it will leave you when you die.
Your 3rd friend is your possessions, status and wealth. When you die, it will all go to others.
Your 2nd friend is your family and friends. No matter how much they have been there for you, the furthest they can stay by you is up to the grave.
And your 1st friend is your Soul. Often neglected in pursuit of wealth, power and pleasures of the world.
However, your Soul is the only thing that will follow you wherever you go. Cultivate, strengthen and cherish it now, for it is the only part of you that will follow you to the throne of God and continue with you throughout Eternity.
Thought for the day: Remember, when the world pushes you to your knees, you’re in the perfect position to pray.
Pass this on to someone you care about — I just did.
Being happy doesn’t mean everything’s perfect. It means you’ve decided to see beyond the imperfections.
~ Source Unknown