Golden treasure inside hid

client_id_210_media_file_name_1456438758.7976Who among us hasn’t wished to find a treasure—buried or otherwise? The allure of opening up a seaweed-encrusted trunk filled with gold doubloons or having Publishers Clearinghouse knock at your door or hitting the lottery is pretty universal. Yep. We’ve all dreamed about it.

What if I told you that you’ve already won? It all depends on how you define treasure.

Treasure is one of those words that has a thousand fulfillments. Yet looking through a long list of quotations about treasure, you quickly realize that the things we humans treasure are as diverse as we are.

Christopher Columbus treasured gold. Gandhi treasured truth. “God, as truth, has been a treasure beyond price,” he said.  Ralph Waldo Emerson would have agreed with Gandhi. “Truth,” he wrote, “is the treasure of all men.”

Many people treasure love in all its myriad forms. Some consider memory their best treasure. Others find it in relationships. Martin Luther’s treasure, next to the Bible, was music. Author George Sand treasured kindness. One man valued witty women. One famous woman valued anonymity. Louisa May Alcott valued friendship, especially a faithful friend.

Some treasures are more mundane. Some treasured pets, BBC programming and food processors. Surprisingly, Walt Disney valued books. “There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate’s loot on Treasure Island,” he said.

Friedrich Nietzsche valued knowledge: “Our treasure lies in the beehive of our knowledge.”Philosopher Roberto Unger suggested we should treasure what we do not yet know: “The scientist should treasure the riddles he can’t solve, not explain them away at the outset.” Another person said that treasure can be found in what we learn from facing our fears.

When I think about JMU’s first-ever Giving Day — which is today, March 15, 2016 — it seems that many of our human heart’s treasures are touched through the experiences we gain during a college education — friendships, knowledge, love, books, truth. In toto it is an experience that empowers, challenges, prepares, teaches, encourages — and changes us.

Isaac Bashevis Singer wrote, “There is great treasure behind our skull.” And that’s the place where a university’s treasure is discovered — in the knowledge and promise that an education provokes. And it is priceless.

Author L. Frank Baum (of Oz fame) said it this way: “No thief, however skillful, can rob one of knowledge, and that is why knowledge is the best and safest treasure to acquire.”

If you graduated from JMU—or any other college or university—you understand that the value of an education wraps within it the means to find so many of the yearnings we desire throughout life: truth, love, memory, music, friendship, books, knowledge, riddles and even fears. To have a transformative Madison Experience touches on all of these treasures — and far more.

Perhaps J.R.R. Tolkien, a man who well knew universities, was describing them  when he wrote, “A box without hinges, key, or lid, yet golden treasure inside is hid.”

So you see, you’ve already won treasures more valuable than even a lottery can provide. Tomorrow on JMU’s first-ever Giving Day, think about those treasures — your personal treasures — and think about how you can give back so that someone else can unlock their own.

Learn more about Giving Day here:

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About James Madison University
This blog is about the people of James Madison University — a caring, committed and engaged community spread all over the world, making lives better and brighter, healthier and safer, kinder and bolder. As Gandhi suggested, we are taking steps to BE the CHANGE we wish to see in the world. And these are our stories....

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