Category Archives: Stories

3rd Sunday of Easter

3rd Sunday of Easter

ACTS 2.14, 22-28
1 PETER 1.17-21
LUKE 24.13-35

During the weeks after Easter, the church puts us in touch with the first men and women who experienced the risen Jesus in an attempt to deepen our appreciation and understanding of this, the linchpin of our faith. In describing those early believers, Gunther Bornkamm once remarked, “The men and women who encounter the risen Christ in the Easter stories have come to an end of their wisdom. They are alarmed and disturbed by his death, mourners wandering about the grave of the Lord in their helpless love. . . like the two disciples on the way to Emmaus, their last hopes are destroyed” (Jesus of Nazareth, Harper and Row, New York. 1960). Therefore it is erroneous to think that the resurrection narratives can be explained away as a human invention or as a product of wish-fulfillment on the part of Jesus’ disciples. After Jesus’ death, they were at a loss; it was only through their revelatory experiences of the risen Lord that the disciples began to understand the Jesus event as a work of God which forever changed the course of human history. As the early believers explained in today’s first two readings, Jesus was sent according to the set plan and purpose of God; through his dying and his resurrection God has worked miracles, signs and wonders in our midst (Acts). All our faith and hope as believers are centered on this mystery (1 Peter).

In his assessment of the resurrection appearances and of the gospel narratives which have preserved these experiences, Bas Van Jersel suggested that these texts were intended not only to inform would be believers concerning the fact of Jesus-risen but also as an interpretation of his resurrection for the life of the disciple (“The Resurrection of Jesus”, The New Concilium, Herder and herder, New York. 1965). In other words, accounts such as the one recorded in today’s gospel help us to understand that faith in the resurrection is not confined to a past event; nor is it relegated solely to a future moment when we also be raised by God from death. Rather, the resurrection appearances represent the church’s understanding concerning the permanent presence of the risen Lord with us now. How and in what manner do we experience him among us? What are the implications of his presence? How must it influence our faith? our life style?

Matthew, in his gospel, told his readers that they would find and experience Jesus in the hungry when they fed them; in the thirsty when they gave a drink of water; in the stranger to whom they gave a welcome; in the naked whom they clothed, in the ill whom they cared for and in the prisoner whom they visited. In another passage, the evangelist assured his contemporaries of an experience of Jesus’ presence whenever and wherever two or three would gather together in prayer (Matthew 25.35-36, 18.20). For his part, the fourth evangelist offered the assurance of Jesus’ abiding presence in the gift of the Spirit. Like Jesus, the Spirit would teach the disciples, remind them of his words and works, guide them to the truth and be with them always (John 14.16).

In today’s gospel, Luke reminds believers that the ultimate encounter with the permanent presence of the risen Jesus comes in the breaking open of the Word and in the Breaking of the Bread which is the Eucharist.

ACTS 2.14, 22-28

The book of Acts has sometimes been called the account of how the proclaimer became the proclaimed. In Acts, Luke builds a bridge between Jesus. who came in human flesh with a ministry of healing and reconciliation. . . who died on the cross for the salvation of all peoples. . . who rose in victory over death and sin to live forever. . . and the church. whose presence in the world continues to manifest the saving plan and purpose of God in human history. In this excerpted pericope. Peter and the Eleven are portrayed as empowered by the Spirit and intent upon proclaiming the good news of salvation just as Jesus had been endowed with the Spirit when he inaugurated his public ministry (see Luke 4.14-21). Among the Israelites, there was a widespread belief that God had “closed the heavens” and that the Holy Spirit had descended on no one, prophet or leader, since the last of the canonical prophets, Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi (Jerome Crowe, The Acts, Michael Glazier Inc., Wilmington. 1983). Aware of this belief, Luke made it clear in his account of Jesus (Luke) and of the church (Acts) that God rent the heavens and came down (Isaiah 63.19) and has poured out his Spirit on all of humankind (Joel 2.1).

Like the other sermons or discourses in Acts, Peter’s reflects a Lucan hand. A literary technique, popular and well documented in Hellenistic literature, speeches or sermons attributed to key character in a story were actually a careful composition of the author and served a vehicle of the ideas he wished to convey to his readers. Constituting approximately one quarter of the book of Acts, the twenty-four discourses vary in form and content; by incorporating these sermons into Acts, Luke has addressed the missionary apologetic and ecclesial concerns of his readers.

In this particular section of Peter’s Pentecost sermon, Luke defends the manner of Jesus’ ministry and death on the cross as a part of the “set purpose and plan of God” (vs. 23) for our salvation. As Joseph Fitzmyer has explained, Luke focuses on “the inbreaking of divine salvific activity into human history with the appearance of Jesus of Nazareth among mankind.” Everything that happened to Jesus, even his ignominious passion and death, as well as everything that will happen to the church because of its faith in Jesus “is a manifestation of a plan of God to bring about the salvation of human beings who recognize and accept the plan.” (The Gospel According to Luke, Anchor Bible, Vol. 28, Doubleday and Co., New York. 1981). But God’s saving plan did not end on Calvary; indeed God raised Jesus to life thereby breaking the grip of sin and death upon believers.

By citing Psalm 16, Luke drew on the support of the Hebrew scriptures, as the other evangelists and Paul, particularly when the intended audience of the discourse was Jewish (vs. 22). This psalm and others like it (e.g. Pss. 22, 110, 118) were used extensively by the early church in their efforts to present Jesus as the promised Savior and authentic fulfillment of Israel’s messianic hopes. Today its words continue to strike a chord in the hearts of those who understand Jesus as the center and culmination of the two testaments (Old Testament New Testament) of our faith.

1 PETER 1.17-21

Someone whose uniqueness distinguishes him/her from the mainstream of human society or whose ideas and values are unsynchronized with those of the general population is often said to “march to the beat of a different drummer.” In his letter to the Christians of Asia Minor the pseudonymous author of 1 Peter encouraged his readers to aspire to a similar description. Having been delivered by Christ from the futility of their former way of life, Christians should subsequently conduct themselves in a worthy manner. More often than not, this required that they cease or forego certain activities while dedicating themselves to a life-style which was consonant with the grace of their Christian vocation.

Earlier in his letter the author had characterized the life of a person before being redeemed as one dominated by ignorance and inordinate desire (vs. 14). As William Barclay (“Peter,” The Daily Study Bible, The St. Andrew Press, Edinburgh. 1975) explained, the pagan world was suffocated by ignorance, convinced by its philosophers that God was unknowable. “It is hard,” said Plato, “to investigate and find the framer and the father of the universe; and if one did find him, it would be impossible to express him in terms which all could understand.” Aristotle spoke of God as the “supreme cause, by all men dreamed of and by no men known.” Coupled with this burden of frustrated ignorance was an attitude of self-abandon with regard to the senses. Whereas “desperate poverty prevailed at the lower end of the social scale,” the higher echelons were notorious for their “sheer fleshliness.” By their own historians’ accounts, Romans and Greeks were shamelessly indulgent. At one banquet, Emperor Vitellius served two thousand fish, seven thousand birds and thousands of dollars worth of peacock’s brains and nightingales tongues. Martial tells of women who had reached their tenth husband; Jerome wrote of a woman married to her twenty-third husband, she being his twenty-first wife. But believers in Jesus, having been rescued from such godlessness were to live otherwise!

In terms reminiscent of the exodus from Egypt, the author of 1 Peter called his readers to be reverent sojourners, faithful to their constant companion on their journey through life, viz. Jesus. By his blood they had been redeemed and through him they had the joy of knowing God. No longer simply the supreme cause who could not be known or understood but only dreamed of, God, the loving Father had revealed himself and his saving plan in the person and mission of Jesus.

Like the recipients of 1 Peter, believers on the brink of the twenty-first century live in societies that are often characterized by interests and values contrary to those of the gospel. This ancient Christian author reminds his readers that their baptismal commitment calls them to center their faith and hope in God (vs. 21) and to “march to the beat of his drum.”

Journey to Emmaus

Like the two disciples making their way from Jerusalem to Emmaus, contemporary believers of Jesus live after the fact of Jesus’ resurrection and in the interim between his two advents. Like Cleopas and his companion, we search for the daily experience of Jesus which sustains and strengthens our hope and which inspires our faithful discipleship. In their encounter with the risen Lord, we learn of the manner in which he remains present until his climactic appearance in glory.

In this superb narrative, Luke has provided his readers with a treasure of Christological and apologetic insights drawn from the different levels of gospel tradition. At the very basis of the story was the experience of the first witnesses of Jesus, vindicated by God and risen from death to glory. Surrounding that primitive core of gospel kerygma was the ongoing experience of the church in Syrian Antioch in the mid-80s C.E. In the almost two generations following Jesus’ death on the cross, the Antioch Christians had been encountering the risen Lord in the sacramental breaking of the bread. For his part, the evangelist had structured this narrative in a recognizable liturgical pattern. In both word (vs. 27) and sacrament (vs. 30) the risen Lord is made known and communicated to the believing community.

Notice the motif of delayed recognition which informed this and most of the other resurrection narratives. Initially, the disciples did not recognize Jesus because he was transformed by the glory of his resurrection. Nevertheless, Luke was careful (as were the other evangelists) to underscore the continuity between the Jesus whom the disciples had known during his ministry and the risen Lord whom they were now encountering. He taught them, ate with them and open their eyes to the knowledge of his presence.

As Jesus broke open the word for them (“he interpreted for them every passage of Scripture which referred to him”, vs. 27) the disciples’ hearts began to burn within them (vs. 32). They implored him “Stay with us!” (vs. 29). Then, in a manner which recalled his last supper with them before his cross, he took the bread, blessed it, broke it and gave it to them; at that point, they came to know him. The searching, hoping fire in their hearts was transformed into recognition and faith.

Luke draws attention to the significance of this moment by declaring, “with that, their eyes were opened” (vs. 31). Opened eyes (a term mentioned eight times in the New Testament, six of which are in Luke-Acts) indicated a deepened understanding of revelation. In this instance, the disciples’ opened eyes meant that they had begun to comprehend the mystery of Jesus, dead, risen and ever present. Jesus’ disappearance at the point of recognition (“he vanished from their sight,” vs. 31) was not a disappointment but yet another signal that the risen Lord would remain forever with his disciples in the breaking of the bread and in the sharing of his word.

The experience of those early disciples is ours at every Eucharistic celebration. With fire in our hearts, the word reveals who he is; in the blessed and broken bread the paschal experience is renewed, We who hear the word and share the bread are nourished and sustained. Jesus lives; he stays with us. Hope and faith are not in vain.

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This weeks story is called : Busy

Once upon a time a very strong woodcutter ask for a job in a timber merchant, and he got it. The paid was really good and so were the work conditions. For that reason, the woodcutter was determined to do his best.

His boss gave him an axe and showed him the area where he was supposed to work.

The first day, the woodcutter brought 18 trees

“Congratulations,” the boss said. “Go on that way!”

Very motivated for the boss’ words, the woodcutter try harder the next day, but he only could bring 15 trees. The third day he try even harder, but he only could bring 10 trees.Day after day he was bringing less and less trees.

“I must be losing my strength”, the woodcutter thought. He went to the boss and apologized, saying that he could not understand what was going on.

“When was the last time you sharpened your axe?” the boss asked.

“Sharpen? I had no time to sharpen my axe. I have been very busy trying to cut trees…”

Past Stories Archived

Be a Better Person

A Young student approached the famous French scientist and philosopher, Blaise Pascal, and declared, “If I had your brains, I would be a better person.”

Pondering the depth of that statement, Pascal paused momentarily before replyng, “Be a better person, and you will have my brains.”

A Donkey, a Rooster, and a Lamp

Rabbi Moshe took a trip to a strange land. He took a donkey, a rooster, and a lamp. Since he was a Jew, he was refused hospitality in the village inns, so he decided to sleep in the woods.

He lit his lamp to study the holy books before going to sleep, but a fierce wind came up, knocking over the lamp and breaking it. The rabbi decided to turn in, saying, “All that God does, he does well.” During the night some wild animals came along and drove away the rooster and thieves stole the donkey. Moshe wake up, saw the loss, but still proclaimed easily, “All that God does, he does well.”

The rabbi then went back to the village where he was refused lodging, only to learn that enemy soldiers had invaded it during the night and killed all the inhabitants. He also learned that these soldiers had traveled through the same part of the woods where he lay asleep. Had his lamp not been broken he would have been discovered. Had not the rooster been chased, it would have crowed, giving him away. Had not the donkey been stolen, it would have brayed. So once more Rabbi Moshe declared, “All that God does, he does well!”

Morality

The disciples would frequently be absorbed in questions of right and wrong. Sometimes the answer would be evident enough. Sometimes it was elusive.

The Master, if he happened to be present at such discussions, would take no part in them.

Once he was confronted with this question: “Is it right to kill someone who seeks to kill me? Or is it wrong?”

He said, “How should I know?”

The shocked disciples answered, “Then how would we tell right from wrong?”

The Master said, “While alive, be dead to yourself, be totally dead. Then act as you will and your action will be right.”

Five Short Chapters on Change

Chapter 1.
I walk down a street and there’s a deep hole in the sidewalk. I fall in. It takes forever to get out. It’s my fault.

Chapter 2.
I walk down the same street. I fall in the hole again. It still takes a long time to get out. It’s not my fault.

Chapter 3.
I walk down the same street. I fall in the hole again. It’s becoming a habit. It is my fault. I get out immediately.

Chapter 4.
I walk down the same street and see the deep hole in the sidewalk. I walk around it.

Chapter 5.
I walk down a different street.

Aloneness

To a disciple who was always seeking answers from him the Master said, “You have within yourself the answer to every question you propose – if you only knew how to look for it.”

And another day he said, “In the Land of the spirit, you cannot walk by the light of someone else’s lamp. You want to borrow mine. I’d rather teach you how to make your own.”

A Scorpion Moment

There was this Hindu who saw a scorpion floundering around in the water. He decided to save it by stretching out his finger, but the scorpion stung him. The man still tried to get the scorpion out of the water, but the scorpion stung him again.

A man nearby told him to stop saving the scorpion that kept stinging him.

But the Hindu said: “It is the nature of the scorpion to sting. It is my nature to love. Why should I give up my nature to love just because it is the nature of the scorpion to sting?”

Don’t give up loving.
Don’t give up your goodness.
Even if people around you sting.

Busy

Once upon a time a very strong woodcutter ask for a job in a timber merchant, and he got it. The paid was really good and so were the work conditions. For that reason, the woodcutter was determined to do his best.

His boss gave him an axe and showed him the area where he was supposed to work.

The first day, the woodcutter brought 18 trees

“Congratulations,” the boss said. “Go on that way!”

Very motivated for the boss’ words, the woodcutter try harder the next day, but he only could bring 15 trees. The third day he try even harder, but he only could bring 10 trees.Day after day he was bringing less and less trees.

“I must be losing my strength”, the woodcutter thought. He went to the boss and apologized, saying that he could not understand what was going on.

“When was the last time you sharpened your axe?” the boss asked.

“Sharpen? I had no time to sharpen my axe. I have been very busy trying to cut trees…”

“Why” of Love

Here’s a message that needs to be drilled into the hearts and minds of every mom and dad: You don’t love your kids because of what they do, but because of who they are.

Simply rewarding children with affection because of their accomplishments is like a circus trainer giving a dog some food every time he jumps through a hoop. The dog isn’t loved for himself, but for his actions.

Dr. Laura Schlessinger, the popular talk show host, has a new book for children titled, “Why Do You Love Me?” Part of the story includes a mother explaining to her son that it is not what he does that makes her love him — she loves him because he is unique and because he is her son.

You don’t show affection simply because a child is good at karate or gymnastics. Every mom, dad and grandparent needs to memorize the words of a long-time popular song: “I love you most of all because you’re you.”

Useless Life

A farmer got so old that he couldn’t work the fields anymore. So he would spend the day just sitting on the porch. His son, still working the farm, would look up from time to time and see his father sitting there. “He’s of no use any more,” the son thought to himself, “he doesn’t do anything!”

One day the son got so frustrated by this, that he built a wood coffin, dragged it over to the porch, and told his father to get in. Without saying anything, the father climbed inside.

After closing the lid, the son dragged the coffin to the edge of the farm where there was a high cliff. As he approached the drop, he heard a light tapping on the lid from inside the coffin. He opened it up. Still lying there peacefully, the father looked up at his son. “I know you are going to throw me over the cliff, but before you do, may I suggest something?” “What is it?” replied the son. “Throw me over the cliff, if you like,” said the father, “but save this good wood coffin. Your children might need to use it.”

I Want to be Possible

The teacher asked her class what each wanted to become when they grew up. A chorus of responses came from all over the room.

“A football player,” “A doctor,” “An astronaut,” “The president,” “A fireman,” “A teacher,” “A race car driver.”

Everyone that is, except Tommy.

The teacher noticed he was sitting there quiet and still.

So she said to him, “Tommy, what do you want to be when you grow up?”

“Possible” Tommy replied.

“Possible?” asked the teacher.

“Yes,” Tommy said. “My mom is always telling me I’m impossible. So when I get to be big, I want to be possible.”

 

Lesson Learned

I stood there listening to the stern words of my father.

He had gathered us into our enclosed patio and had the look on his face that told us all that one of us did something wrong.

“Which one of you did this?” he asked with a sharp voice.

We all stared down at the floor containing the art of a child’s handwriting in chalk. I suppose that had been a no-no for us, though I can’t say I quite remember that part when I was committing this horrible crime.

I stood there, trembling on the inside and had hoped that no one else could see it. Will he know it was me? I secretly wondered. Scared, the only words that came from my mouth were, “Not me, dad.”

The others denied it as well. Of course, we knew that one of us must have done it. But I, being the youngest and smallest of the three, just couldn’t find the courage to tell the truth. It wasn’t that I was a bad kid. Lying was not normal for me. But the look on my dad’s face that evening sent a chill up and down my spine and somehow I couldn’t bring myself to tell him.

He had a way about him when I was a child that made me afraid of him. But I loved him for it too, because it gave me my limits, my boundaries of what I could and could not do. I wanted to please him, of course. Maybe that’s why I held back the truth that day. I was afraid of displeasing the one man I looked up to.

Without saying a word, he disappeared for only minutes and came back with a piece of paper and a pencil. He was so determined to find the culprit!

“I want each of you to write exactly what you see on the step.” I was not a stupid kid, though and when my turn came, I deliberately wrote the words differently. So when my dad compared the handwriting, he still couldn’t tell which one of us did it.

Frustrated, he stood a step above us and looked down at his three small kids.

“I’m going to give you one more chance to confess.”

He continued to stand there for a few moments, but to me it only seemed like a second. Not surprisingly, neither my brother nor my sister spoke up. Why should they? I was the one who did it. Should I say something? Is it too late? He’ll be mad! So again, frightened, I held my tongue.

“Well, if someone would have come forward when I asked, there would have been no punishment.” Oh, no! I’ve lost my chance! “But now it’s too late.” Stupid, stupid, stupid! I should have confessed! Now I’m gonna get it!

He took us all in the house as tears welled up in my eyes.

“Since none of you seemed to have done it, then you all get a spanking.” What?! Still, I stood there and said nothing. The last thing I wanted was a spanking!

“I did it,” someone said and I was pretty sure it wasn’t me.

I looked around to see my sister come forward. Huh? She did it? No, she didn’t because I did. Why was she was taking the blame for something I did? Feeling guilty, yet still scared to ‘fess up, I stood there knowing my sister was going to get spanked for something I did. And I let it happen. I didn’t speak up.

We didn’t talk about that day for many years. Not until we were all older and I knew it was safe to finally tell my dad it was really me. By that time, I had already figured out why my sister took the rap for it. She had become my protector, my worry-wort, my best friend. And because of that, she would have rather taken the pain herself than see me suffer.

We joke about it now – all of us, including my sister. And as I always felt guilty because of it, that was the last time I let anyone take the blame for me.

When I think back to that day, I know I learned the value of family, of a sister who would do anything for me. And I’m glad to say that I know now I would do the same for her.

Dirt Roads

What’s mainly wrong with society today is that too many Dirt Roads have been paved.

There’s not a problem in first world countries today, crime, drugs, education, divorce, delinquency that wouldn’t be remedied, if we just had more Dirt Roads, because Dirt Roads give character.

People that live at the end of Dirt Roads learn early on that life is a bumpy ride.

That it can jar you right down to your teeth sometimes, but it’s worth it, if at the end is home…a loving spouse, happy kids and a dog..

We wouldn’t have near the trouble with our educational system if our kids got their exercise walking a Dirt Road with other kids, from whom they learn how to get along.

There was less crime in our streets before they were paved.

Criminals didn’t walk two dusty miles to rob or rape, if they knew they’d be welcomed by 5 barking dogs and a double barrel shotgun.

And there were no drive by shootings.

Our values were better when our roads were worse!

People did not worship their cars more than their kids, and motorists were more courteous, they didn’t tailgate by riding the bumper or the guy in front would choke you with dust & bust your windshield with rocks.

Dirt Roads taught patience.

Dirt Roads were environmentally friendly, you didn’t hop in your car for a quart of milk you walked to the barn for your milk.

For your mail, you walked to the mail box.

What if it rained and the Dirt Road got washed out? That was the best part, then you stayed home and had some family time, roasted marshmallows and popped popcorn and pony rode on Daddy’s shoulders and learned how to make prettier quilts than anybody.

At the end of Dirt Roads, you soon learned that bad words tasted like soap.

Most paved roads lead to trouble, Dirt Roads more likely lead to a fishing creek or a swimming hole.

At the end of a Dirt Road, the only time we even locked our car was in August, because if we didn’t some neighbor would fill it with too much zucchini.

At the end of a Dirt Road, there was always extra springtime income, from when city dudes would get stuck, you’d have to hitch up a team and pull them out.

Usually you got a dollar…always you got a new friend…at the end of a Dirt Road!

DO IT WHEN THEY ARE ALIVE

Do not keep the alabaster boxes of your love and tenderness sealed up, until your friends are dead. Fill their lives with sweetness. Speak approving, cheering words while their ears can hear them and while their hearts can be thrilled and made happier by them. The kind things you mean to say when they are gone, say them before they go. The flowers you mean to send-use to brighten and sweeten their homes before they leave them. If my friends have alabaster boxes laid away, full of fragrant perfumes of sympathy and affection I would rather they would bring them out in my weary and troubled hours and open them, that I may be refreshed and cheered when I need them. Let us learn to anoint our friends beforehand. Post-mortem kindness do not cheer the burdened spirit. Flowers cast no fragrance backward over the weary way. Cheers when some gone, does not in any way be of help to anyone. Do it when they are STILL ALIVE.

F-A-M-I-L-Y

I bumped into a stranger as he passed by, “Oh, excuse me Please” was my reply.
He said, “Please excuse me too; Wasn’t even watching for you.”
We were very polite, this stranger and I.
We went on our way and we said good-bye.
But at home a different story is told,
How we treat our loved ones, young and old.

Later that day, cooking the evening meal,
My daughter stood beside me very still.
When I turned, I nearly knocked her down.
“Move out of the way,” I said with a frown.
She walked away, her little heart was broken.
I didn’t realize how harshly I’d spoken.

While I lay awake in bed,
God’s still small voice came to me and said,
“While dealing with a stranger, common courtesy you use,
But the children you love, you seem to abuse.
Look on the kitchen floor,
You’ll find some flowers there by the door.
Those are the flowers she brought for you.
She picked them herself: pink, yellow and blue.
She stood quietly not to spoil the surprise,
and you never saw the tears in her eyes.”

By this time, I felt very small,
and now my tears began to fall.
I quietly went and knelt by her bed;
“Wake up, little girl, wake up,” I said.
“Are these the flowers you picked for me?”
She smiled, “I found ’em, out by the tree.
I picked ’em because they’re pretty like you.
I knew you’d like ’em, especially the blue.”
I said, “Daughter, I’m sorry for the way I acted today;
I shouldn’t have yelled at you that way.”
She said, “Oh, Mom, that’s okay. I love you anyway.”
I said, “Daughter, I love you too,
and I do like the flowers, especially the blue.”

Are you aware that:

If we die tomorrow, the company that we are working for could easily replace us in a matter of days. But the family we left behind will feel the loss for the rest of their lives. And come to think of it, we pour ourselves more into work than to our family – an unwise investment indeed.

So what is behind the story?

You know what is the full word of family?

FAMILY=(F)ather (A)nd (M)other, (I) (L)ove (Y)ou!

Love Can Last Forever 

I can honestly say it was the best of times and the worst of times. I was joyfully expecting my first child at the same time that my once-energetic, zestful mother was losing her battle with a brain tumor.

For ten years, my fiercely independent and courageous mother had fought, but none of the surgeries or treatments had been successful. Still, she never lost her ability to smile. But now, finally, at only fifty-five, she became totally disabled — unable to speak, walk, eat or dress on her own.

As she grew closer and closer to death, my baby grew closer and closer to life inside me. My biggest fear was that their lives would never connect. I grieved not only for the upcoming loss of my mother, but also that she and my baby would never know each other.

My fear seemed well-founded. A few weeks before my due date, Mother lapsed into a deep coma. Her doctors did not hold any hope; they told us her time was up. It was useless to put in a feeding tube, they said; she would never awaken.

We brought Mother home to her own bed in her own house, and we insisted on care to keep her comfortable. As often as I could, I sat beside her and talked to her about the baby moving inside me. I hoped that somehow deep inside, she knew.

On February 3, 1989, at about the same time my labor started, Mother opened her eyes. When they told me this at the hospital, I called her home and asked for the phone to be put to Mom’s ear.

“Mom — Mom — listen. The baby is coming! You’re going to have a new grandchild. Do you understand?”

“Yes!”

What a wonderful word! The first clear word she’d spoken in months!

When I called again an hour later, the nurse at her house told me the impossible: Mom was sitting up, her oxygen tubes removed. She was smiling.

“Mom, it’s a boy! You have a new grandson!”

“Yes! Yes! I know!”

Four words. Four beautiful words.

By the time I brought Jacob home, Mom was sitting in her chair, dressed and ready to welcome him. Tears of joy blocked my vision as I laid my son in her arms and she clucked at him. They stared at each other.

They knew.

For two more weeks, Mother clucked, smiled and held Jacob. For two weeks she spoke to my father, her children and grandchildren in complete sentences. For two miracle weeks, she gave us joy.

Then she quietly slipped back into a coma and, after visits from all her children, was finally free of the pain and confines of a body that no longer did her will.

Memories of my son’s birth will always be bittersweet for me, but it was at this time that I learned an important truth about living. For while both joy and sorrow are fleeting, and often intertwined, love has the power to overcome both. And love can last forever.

Thankful For A Purpose


I was eighteen years old, fresh out of high school with a bright future to look forward to, when I received the devastating news of a cancer diagnosis.

This was a big deal for someone my age to endure. However I chose to fight the battle instead of wallowing in self pity.

After major surgery and four months of radiation treatments, I overcame my obstacle and emerged a new person — someone who took nothing for granted and a person who learned to appreciate everything and everyone around me.

Years passed and I received my certification in medical assisting, met a wonderful man, moved to New York and got married. Truly, life couldn’t have been any better — however, I still felt something missing and longed to find my purpose.

Having donated to St. Jude Children’s Hospital in Memphis, TN, for years, I had always felt a connection and empathy toward the children living with cancer who were being treated there. What a truly magnificent place, especially knowing that no patient was ever turned away regardless of ability to pay. The hospital exuded living, and that is what I was all about.

As my 20-year anniversary of being a cancer survivor approached, I wanted to do something special and unforgettable.

I organized a fund raiser, calling it “A Mission of Love,” and thanks to my generous family and friends, raised $4,000 for St. Jude’s, planning to deliver it myself. Three quarters of the money would be given as a monetary donation to the hospital, and what was left would go toward purchasing toys for the children. I also had arranged with the hospital a t-shirt painting activity for any child who felt well enough to participate.

Thanksgiving Day seemed the most appropriate day of the year for the mission, and so it was all arranged. My husband and I flew to Memphis with 50 t-shirts and a huge bag of fabric paint in tow the day before Thanksgiving. We went to the toy store and filled three shopping carts with all kinds of toys piled high to the sky. It was as though we were small celebrities when the employees and other shoppers became aware of what we were doing.

On Thanksgiving Day, as we pulled into the front gates of St. Jude, it was quite literally my dream come true. I became extremely emotional, as my eyes welled with tears of happiness.

After dropping the toys off, we went to a lounge area where there were six children waiting anxiously to begin painting. They picked out their shirts and my husband and I helped them get started. To me, it was as though they weren’t even sick, and to see them smile was one of the greatest gifts I could have ever received. When the activity was over and we wished the children well, we dropped off the monetary donation to an extremely grateful staff, and then our visit came to an end.

Leaving there that day, I knew I had finally found my purpose.

Going to St. Jude filled a feeling of emptiness inside of me that had existed for as long as I could remember, and it genuinely changed my life.

I was thanked for giving a donation to a charity that saves lives, but being able to give thanks for my experience was priceless.

“All of us are born for a reason, but all of us don’t discover why. Success in life has nothing to do with what you gain in life or accomplish for yourself. It’s what you do for others.” — Danny Thomas

A Cry for Help

Once upon a time, there was an island where all the feelings lived: Happiness, Sadness, and all of the others, including Love.

One day it was announced to the feelings that the island would sink, so all repaired their boats and left. Love was the only one who stayed. Love wanted to persevere until the last possible moment. When the island was almost sinking, Love decided to ask for help. Richness was passing by Love in a grand boat. Love said, “Richness, can you take me with you?” Richness answered, “No I can’t..There is a lot of gold and silver in my boat. There is no place for you here.”  Love decided to ask Vanity, who was also passing by in a beautiful vessel, “Vanity, please help me!” “I can’t help you Love. You are all wet and might damage my boat,” Vanity answered.

Sadness was close by so Love asked for help, “Sadness let me go with you.” “Oh…Love, I am so sad that I need to be by myself!” Happiness passed by Love too, but she was so happy that she did not even hear when Love called her! Suddenly, there was a voice, “Come Love, I will take you.” It was an elder. Love felt so blessed and overjoyed that he even forgot to ask the elder her name. When they arrived at dry land, the elder went her own way. Love, realizing how much he owed the elder, asked Knowledge, another elder, “Who helped me?” “It was Time,” Knowledge answered. “Time?” asked Love. “But why did Time help me? Knowledge smiled with deep wisdom and answered, “Because only Time is capable of understanding how great Love is.

WORK WHILE YOU WORK?

Father was a hardworking man who delivered bread as a living to support his wife and three children. He spent all his evenings after work attending classes, hoping to improve himself so that he could one day find a better paying job. Except for Sundays, Father hardly ate a meal together with his family. He worked and studied very hard because he wanted to provide his family with the best money could buy.

Whenever the family complained that he was not spending enough time with them, he reasoned that he was doing all this for them. But he often yearned to spend more time with his family.

The day came when the examination results were announced. To his joy, Father passed, and with distinctions too! Soon after, he was offered a good job as a senior supervisor which paid handsomely.

Like a dream come true, Father could now afford to provide his family with life’s little luxuries like nice clothing, fine food and vacation abroad.

However, the family still did not get to see father for most of the week. He continued to work very hard, hoping to be promoted to the position of manager. In fact, to make himself a worthily candidate for the promotion, he enrolled for another course in the open university.

Again, whenever the family complained that he was not spending enough time with them, he reasoned that he was doing all this for them. But he often yearned to spend more time with his family.

Father’s hard work paid off and he was promoted. Jubilantly, he decided to hire a maid to relieve his wife from her domestic tasks. He also felt that their three-room flat was no longer big enough, it would be nice for his family to be ablt to enjoy the facilities and comfort of a condominium. Having experienced the rewards of his hard work many times before, Father resolved to further his studies and work at being promoted again. The family still did not get to see much of him. In fact, sometimes Father had to work on Sundays entertaining clients. Again, whenever the family complained that he was not spending enough time with them, he reasoned that he was doing all this for them. But he often yearned to spend more time with his family.

As expected, Father’s hard work paid off again and he bought a beautiful condominium overlooking the coast of Singapore. On the first Sunday evening at their new home, Father declared to his family that he decided not to take anymore courses or pursue any more promotions. From then on he was going to devote more time to his family.

Father did not wake up the next day

WONDERFUL GESTURE

Mark was walking home from school one day when he noticed the boy ahead of him had tripped and dropped all of the books he was carrying, along with two sweaters, a baseball bat, a glove and a small tape recorder. Mark knelt down and helped the boy pick up the scattered articles. Since they were going the same way, he helped to carry part of the burden. As they walked Mark discovered the boy’s name was Bill, that he loved video games, baseball and history, and that he was having lots of trouble with his other subjects and that he had just broken up with his girlfriend. They arrived at Bill’s home first and Mark was invited in for a Coke and to watch some television. The afternoon passed pleasantly with a few laughs and some shared small talk, then Mark went home. They continued to see each other around school, had lunch together once or twice, then both graduated from junior high school. They ended up in the same high school where they had brief contacts over the years. Finally the long awaited senior year came and three weeks before graduation, Bill asked Mark if they could talk.

Bill reminded him of the day years ago when they had first met. “Did you ever wonder why I was carrying so many things home that day?” asked Bill. “You see, I cleaned out my locker because I didn’t want to leave a mess for anyone else. I had stored away some of my mothers sleeping pills and I was going home to commit suicide. But after we spent some time together talking and laughing, I realized that if I had killed myself, I would have missed that time and so many others that might follow. So you see, Mark, when you picked up those books that day, you did a lot more, you saved my life.”

MOTHER THERESA’S GESTURE

One night a man came to our house and told me, “There is a family with eight children. They have not eaten for days,” I took some food and I went. When I finally came to the family, I saw the faces of those little children disfigured by hunger. There was no sorrow or sadness in their faces, just the deep pain of hunger. I gave the rice to the mother. She divided it in two, and went out, carrying half the rice with her. When she came back, I asked her, “Where did you go?” She gave me this simple answer, “To my neighbors-they are hungry also.”

I was not surprised that she gave-because poor people are generous. But I was surprised that she knew they were hungry. As a rule, when we are suffering, we are so focused on ourselves we have no time for others.

-Mother Teresa

WHAT WOULD I DO THEN?

Once a fisherman was sitting near seashore, under the shadow of a tree smoking his beedi. Suddenly a rich businessman passing by approached him and enquired as to why he was sitting under a tree smoking and not working. To this the poor fisherman replied that he had caught enough fishes for the day.

Hearing this the rich man got angry and said: Why don’t you catch more fishes instead of sitting in shadow wasting your time?
Fisherman asked: What would I do by catching more fishes?
Businessman: You could catch more fishes, sell them and earn more money, and buy a bigger boat.
Fisherman: What would I do then?
Businessman: You could go fishing in deep waters and catch even more fishes and earn even more money.
Fisherman: What would I do then?
Businessman: You could buy many boats and employ many people to work for you and earn even more money.
Fisherman: What would I do then?
Businessman: You could become a rich businessman like me.
Fisherman: What would I do then?
Businessman: You could then enjoy your life peacefully.
Fisherman: What do you think I’m doing right now?

MORAL – You don’t need to wait for tomorrow to be happy and enjoy your life. You don’t even need to be more rich, more powerful to enjoy life. LIFE is at this moment, enjoy it fully.

As some great men have said “My riches consist not in extent of my possessions but in the fewness of my wants”.

HE NEVER QUITS

Abraham Lincoln never quits.

Born into poverty, Lincoln was faced with defeat throughout his life. He lost eight elections, twice failed in business and suffered a nervous breakdown.

He could have quit many times – but he didn’t and because he didn’t quit, he became one of the greatest presidents in the United States history.

Here is a sketch of Lincoln’s road to the White House:

  • 1816 His family was forced out of their home. He had to work to support them.
  • 1818 His mother died.
  • 1831 Failed in business.
  • 1832 Ran for state legislature – lost.
  • 1832 Also lost his job – wanted to go to law school but couldn’t get in.
  • 1833 Borrowed some money from a friend to begin a business and by the end of the year he was bankrupt. He spent the next 17 years of his life paying off this debt.
  • 1834 Ran for state legislature again – won.
  • 1835 Was engaged to be married, sweetheart died and his heart was broken.
  • 1836 Had a total nervous breakdown and was in bed for six months.
  • 1838 Sought to become speaker of the state legislature – defeated.
  • 1840 Sought to become elector – defeated.
  • 1843 Ran for Congress – lost.
  • 1846 Ran for Congress again – this time he won – went to Washington and did a good job.
  • 1848 Ran for re-election to Congress – lost.
  • 1849 Sought the job of land officer in his home state – rejected.
  • 1854 Ran for Senate of the United States – lost.
  • 1856 Sought the Vice-Presidential nomination at his party’s national convention – get less than 100 votes.
  • 1858 Ran for U.S. Senate again – again he lost.
  • 1860 Elected president of the United States.

LIFE STRUGGLES

A man found a cocoon of an emperor moth. He took it home so that he could watch the moth come out of the cocoon. On the day a small opening appeared, he sat and watched the moth for several hours as the moth struggled to force the body through that little hole.

The moth seemed to be stuck and appeared to have stopped making progress. It seemed as if it had gotten as far as it could and it could go no farther. The man, in his kindness, decided to help the moth; so he took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining bit of the cocoon. The moth then emerged easily. But its body was swollen and small, its wings wrinkled and shriveled. The man continued to watch the moth because he expected that, at any moment, the wings would enlarge and expand to and able to support the body, which would contract in time. Neither happened! In fact, the little moth spent the rest of its life crawling around with a small, swollen body and shriveled wings. It never was able to fly. The man in his kindness and haste did not understand that the struggle required for the moth to get through the tiny opening was necessary to force fluid from the body of the moth into its wings so that it would be ready for flight upon achieving its freedom from the cocoon. Freedom and flight would only come after the struggle. By depriving the moth of a struggle, he deprived the moth of health.

Sometimes struggles are exactly what we need in our life. If we were to go through our life without any obstacles, we would be crippled. We would not be as strong as what we could have been. Give every opportunity a chance, leave no room for regrets, and don’t forget the power in the struggle.

ENDLESS LOVE

As I walked home one freezing day, I stumbled on a wallet someone had lost in the street. I picked it up and looked inside to find some identification so I could call the owner. But the wallet contained only three dollars and a crumpled letter that looked as if it had been in there for years.

The envelope was worn and the only thing that was legible on it was the return address. I started to open the letter, hoping to find some clue. Then I saw the dateline–1924. The letter had been written almost sixty years ago.

It was written in a beautiful feminine handwriting on powder blue stationery with a little flower in the left-hand corner. It was a “Dear John” letter that told the recipient, whose name appeared to be Michael, that the writer could not see him any more because her mother forbade it. Even so, she wrote that she would always love him. It was signed, Hannah.

It was a beautiful letter, but there was no way except for the name Michael, that the owner could be identified. Maybe if I called information, the operator could find a phone listing for the address on the envelope.

“Operator,” I began, “this is an unusual request. I’m trying to find the owner of a wallet that I found. Is there anyway you can tell me if there is a phone number for an address that was on an envelope in the wallet?”

She suggested I speak with her supervisor, who hesitated for a moment then said, “Well, there is a phone listing at that address, but I can’t give you the number.” She said, as a courtesy, she would call that number, explain my story and would ask them if they wanted her to connect me. I waited a few minutes and then she was back on the line. “I have a party who will speak with you.”

I asked the woman on the other end of the line if she knew anyone by the name of Hannah. She gasped, “Oh! We bought this house from a family who had a daughter named Hannah. But that was 30 years ago!”

“Would you know where that family could be located now?” I asked.

“I remember that Hannah had to place her mother in a nursing home some years ago,” the woman said. “Maybe if you got in touch with them they might be able to track down the daughter.”

She gave me the name of the nursing home and I called the number. They told me the old lady had passed away some years ago but they did have a phone number for where they thought the daughter might be living. I thanked them and phoned. The woman who answered explained that Hannah herself was now living in a nursing home.

This whole thing was stupid, I thought to myself. Why was I making such a big deal over finding the owner of a wallet that had only three dollars and a letter that was almost 60 years old?

Nevertheless, I called the nursing home in which Hannah was supposed to be living and the man who answered the phone told me, “Yes, Hannah is staying with us. ”

Even though it was already 10 p.m., I asked if I could come by to see her. “Well,” he said hesitatingly, “if you want to take a chance, she might be in the day room watching television.”

I thanked him and drove over to the nursing home. The night nurse and a guard greeted me at the door. We went up to the third floor of the large building. In the day room, the nurse introduced me to Hannah.

She was a sweet, silver-haired old timer with a warm smile and a twinkle in her eye. I told her about finding the wallet and showed her the letter. The second she saw the powder blue envelope with that little flower on the left, she took a deep breath and said, “Young man, this letter was the last contact I ever had with Michael.”

She looked away for a moment deep in thought and then said Softly, “I loved him very much. But I was only 16 at the time and my mother felt I was too young. Oh, he was so handsome. He looked like Sean Connery, the actor.”

“Yes,” she continued. “Michael Goldstein was a wonderful person. If you should find him, tell him I think of him often. And,” she hesitated for a moment, almost biting her lip, “tell him I still love him. You know,” she said smiling as tears began to well up in her eyes, “I never did marry. I guess no one ever matched up to Michael…”

I thanked Hannah and said goodbye. I took the elevator to the first floor and as I stood by the door, the guard there asked, “Was the old lady able to help you?”

I told him she had given me a lead. “At least I have a last name. But I think I’ll let it go for a while. I spent almost the whole day trying to find the owner of this wallet.”

I had taken out the wallet, which was a simple brown leather case with red lacing on the side. When the guard saw it, he said, “Hey, wait a minute! That’s Mr. Goldstein’s wallet. I’d know it anywhere with that bright red lacing. He’s always losing that wallet. I must have found it in the halls at least three times.”

“Who’s Mr. Goldstein?” I asked as my hand began to shake.

“He’s one of the old timers on the 8th floor. That’s Mike Goldstein’s wallet for sure. He must have lost it on one of his walks.” I thanked the guard and quickly ran back to the nurse’s office. I told her what the guard had said. We went back to the elevator and got on. I prayed that Mr. Goldstein would be up.

On the eighth floor, the floor nurse said, “I think he’s still in the day room. He likes to read at night. He’s a darling old man.”

We went to the only room that had any lights on and there was a man reading a book. The nurse went over to him and asked if he had lost his wallet. Mr. Goldstein looked up with surprise, put his hand in his back pocket and said, “Oh, it is missing!”

“This kind gentleman found a wallet and we wondered if it could be yours?”

I handed Mr. Goldstein the wallet and the second he saw it, he smiled with relief and said, “Yes, that’s it! It must have dropped out of my pocket this afternoon. I want to give you a reward.”

“No, thank you,” I said. “But I have to tell you something. I read the letter in the hope of finding out who owned the wallet.”

The smile on his face suddenly disappeared. “You read that letter?”

“Not only did I read it, I think I know where Hannah is.”

He suddenly grew pale. “Hannah? You know where she is? How is she? Is she still as pretty as she was? Please, please tell me,” he begged.

“She’s fine…just as pretty as when you knew her.” I said softly.

The old man smiled with anticipation and asked, “Could you tell me where she is? I want to call her tomorrow.” He grabbed my hand and said, “You know something, mister, I was so in love with that girl that when that letter came, my life literally ended. I never married. I guess I’ve always loved her.”

“Mr. Goldstein,” I said, “Come with me.”

We took the elevator down to the third floor. The hallways were darkened and only one or two little night-lights lit our way to the day room where Hannah was sitting alone watching the television. The nurse walked over to her.

“Hannah,” she said softly, pointing to Michael, who was waiting with me in the doorway. “Do you know this man?”

She adjusted her glasses, looked for a moment, but didn’t say a word.

Michael said softly, almost in a whisper, “Hannah, it’s Michael. Do you remember me?”

She gasped, “Michael! I don’t believe it! Michael! It’s you! My Michael!”

He walked slowly towards her and they embraced. The nurse and I left with tears streaming down our faces.

“See,” I said. “See how the Good Lord works! If it’s meant to be, it will be.”

About three weeks later I got a call at my office from the nursing home. “Can you break away on Sunday to attend a wedding? Michael and Hannah are going to tie the knot!”

It was a beautiful wedding with all the people at the nursing home dressed up to join in the celebration. Hannah wore a light beige dress and looked beautiful. Michael wore a dark blue suit and stood tall.

They made me their best man. The hospital gave them their own room and if you ever wanted to see a 76-year-old bride and a 79-year-old groom acting like two teenagers, you had to see this couple.

A perfect ending for a love affair that had lasted nearly 60 years.

SHE WILL LIVE ON

Her name was Bonnie. She was 57 years old the day she died. It was her birthday. She was a hard worker who loved gardening in her sprawling country yard. She was a beloved elementary school teacher and volunteer in her community. She loved her family and her baby grandson.

She was a woman of faith and honor. She was the kind of person you could always count on to be there if you needed anything. I know…she was my neighbor.

As a testament to the impact she had on the lives of those she met, the line at the funeral home wound back and forth in serpentine fashion through the room in which she lay, into the reception area, out the door and down the long parking lot. She was loved by countless many.

The verse on her memorial card was a profound expression of the inextricable mix of her love of the beauty in nature and her faith in the afterlife. May we all find hope and comfort in these exquisite words by Juanita DeLong:

My Hereafter

Do not come when I am dead
To sit beside a low green mound,
Or bring the first gay daffodils
Because I love them so,
For I shall not be there.
You cannot find me there.
I will look at you from the eyes of little children;
I will bend to meet you in the swaying boughs of bud-thrilled trees,
And caress you with the passionate sweep of storm-filled winds;
I will give you strength in your upward tread of everlasting hills;
I will cool your body in the flow of the limpid river;
I will warm your work-glorified hands through the glow of the winter fire;
I will soothe you into forgetfulness to the drop,
drop of the rain on the roof;
I will speak to you out of the rhymes of the Masters;
I will dance with you in the lilt of the violin,
And make your heart leap with the bursting cadence of the organ;
I will flood your soul with the flaming radiance of the sunrise;
And bring you peace in the tender rose and gold of the after-sunset.
All these have made me happy,
They are a part of me;
I shall become a part of them.

GRATITUDE AND THANKFULNESS

One day a woman was walking down the street when she spied a beggar sitting on the corner. The man was elderly, unshaven, and ragged. As he sat there, pedestrians walked by him giving him dirty looks They clearly wanted nothing to do with him because of who he was — a dirty, homeless man. But when she saw him, the woman was moved to compassion.

It was very cold that day and the man had his tattered coat — more like an old suit coat rather than a warm coat — wrapped around him. She stopped and looked down. “Sir?” she asked. “Are you all right?”

The man slowly looked up. This was a woman clearly accustomed to the finer things of life. Her coat was new. She looked like that she had never missed a meal in her life. His first thought was that she wanted to make fun of him, like so many others had done before. “Leave me alone,” he growled.

To his amazement, the woman continued standing. She was smiling — her even white teeth displayed in dazzling rows. “Are you hungry?” she asked.

“No,” he answered sarcastically. “I’ve just come from dining with the president. Now go away.”

The woman’s smile became even broader. Suddenly the man felt a gentle hand under his arm. “What are you doing, lady?” the man asked angrily. “I said to leave me alone.”

Just then a policeman came up. “Is there any problem, ma’am?” he asked.

“No problem here, officer,” the woman answered. “I’m just trying to get this man to his feet. Will you help me?”

The officer scratched his head. “That’s old Jack. He’s been a fixture around here for a couple of years. What do you want with him?”

“See that cafeteria over there?” she asked. “I’m going to get him something to eat and get him out of the cold for awhile.”

“Are you crazy, lady?” the homeless man resisted. “I don’t want to go in there!” Then he felt strong hands grab his other arm and lift him up. “Let me go, officer. I didn’t do anything.”

“This is a good deal for you, Jack,” the officer answered. “Don’t blow it.”

Finally, and with some difficulty, the woman and the police officer got Jack into the cafeteria and sat him at a table in a remote corner. It was the middle of the morning, so most of the breakfast crowd had already left and the lunch bunch had not yet arrived. The manager strode across the cafeteria and stood by the table. “What’s going on here, officer?” he asked. “What is all this. Is this man in trouble?”

“This lady brought this man in here to be fed,” the policeman answered.

“Not in here!” the manager replied angrily. “Having a person like that here is bad for business.”

Old Jack smiled a toothless grin. “See, lady. I told you so. Now if you’ll let me go. I didn’t want to come here in the first place.”

The woman turned to the cafeteria manager and smiled. “Sir, are you familiar with Eddy and Associates, the banking firm down the street?”

“Of course I am,” the manager answered impatiently. “They hold their weekly meetings in one of my banquet rooms.”

“And do you make a good profit from providing food at the weekly meetings?”

“What business is that of yours?”

“I, sir, am Penelope Eddy, president and CEO of the company.”

“Oh.”

The woman smiled again. “I thought that might make a difference.” She glanced at the cop who was busy stifling a giggle. “Would you like to join us in a cup of coffee and a meal, officer?”

“No thanks, ma’am,” the officer replied. “I’m on duty.”

“Then, perhaps, a cup of coffee to go?”

“Yes, ma’am. That would be very nice.”

The cafeteria manager turned on his heel. “I’ll get your coffee for you right away, officer.”

The officer watched him walk away. “You certainly put him in his place,” he said.

“That was not my intent. Believe it or not, I have a reason for all this.” She sat down at the table across from her amazed dinner guest. She stared at him intently. “Jack, do you remember me?”

Old Jack searched her face with his old, rheumy eyes “I think so — I mean you do look familiar.”

“I’m a little older perhaps,” she said. “Maybe I’ve even filled out more than in my younger days when you worked here, and I came through that very door, cold and hungry.”

“Ma’am?” the officer said questioningly. He couldn’t believe that such a magnificently turned out woman could ever have been hungry.

“I was just out of college,” the woman began. “I had come to the city looking for a job, but I couldn’t find anything. Finally I was down to my last few cents and had been kicked out of my apartment. I walked the streets for days. It was February and I was cold and nearly starving. I saw this place and walked in on the off chance that I could get something to eat.”

Jack lit up with a smile. “Now I remember,” he said. “I was behind the serving counter. You came up and asked me if you could work for something to eat. I said that it was against company policy.”

“I know,” the woman continued. “Then you made me the biggest roast beef sandwich that I had ever seen, gave me a cup of coffee, and told me to go over to a corner table and enjoy it. I was afraid that you would get into trouble. Then, when I looked over, I saw you put the price of my food in the cash register. I knew then that everything would be all right.”

“So you started your own business?” Old Jack said.

“I got a job that very afternoon. I worked my way up. Eventually I started my own business that, with the help of God, prospered.” She opened her purse and pulled out a business card. “When you are finished her e, I want you to pay a visit to a Mr. Lyons. He’s the personnel director of my company. I’ll go talk to him now and I’m certain he’ll find something for you to do around the office.” She smiled. “I think he might even find the funds to give you a little advance so that you can buy some clothes and get a place to live until you get on your feet And if you ever need anything, my door is always opened to you.”

There were tears in the old man’s eyes. “How can I ever thank you,” he said.

“Don’t thank me,” the woman answered. “To God goes the glory. Thank Jesus. He led me to you.”

Outside the cafeteria, the officer and the woman paused at the entrance before going their separate ways. “Thank you for all your help, officer,” she said.

“On the contrary, Ms. Eddy,” he answered. “Thank you. I saw a miracle today, something that I will never forget. And… And thank you for the coffee.”

She frowned. “I forgot to ask you whether you used cream or sugar. That’s black.”

The officer looked at the steaming cup of coffee in his hand. “Yes, I do take cream and sugar — perhaps more sugar than is good for me.” He patted his ample stomach.

“I’m sorry,” she said.

“I don’t need it now,” he replied smiling. “I’ve got the feeling that this coffee you bought me is going to taste as sweet as sugar.”

TEA CUP

There was a couple who used to go to England to shop in the beautiful stores. This was their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary. They both liked antiques and pottery and especially teacups.

One day in this beautiful shop they saw a beautiful teacup. They said “May we see that? We’ve never seen one quite so beautiful.” As the lady handed it to them, suddenly the teacup spoke.

“You don’t understand,” it said. “I haven’t always been a teacup.

There was a time when I was red and I was clay. My master took me and rolled me and patted me over and over and I yelled out, let me alone,’ but he only smiled, ‘Not yet’.

“Then I was placed on a spinning wheel,” the teacup said, “and suddenly I was spun around and around and around. ‘Stop it! I’m getting dizzy!’ I screamed. But the master only nodded and said, ‘Not yet.’

Then he put me in the oven. I never felt such heat. I wondered why he wanted to burn me, and I yelled, and I knocked at the door. I could see him through the opening and I could read his lips as he shook his head, ‘Not yet.’

“Finally the door opened, he put me on the shelf, and I began to cool. ‘There, that’s better,’ I said. And he brushed and painted me all over. The fumes were horrible. I thought I would gag. ‘Stop it, stop it!’ I cried. He only nodded, ‘Not yet.’

“Then suddenly he put me back into the oven, not like the first one. This was twice as hot and I knew I would suffocate. I begged. I pleaded. I screamed. I cried. All the time I could see him through the opening nodding his head, saying, ‘Not yet.’

“Then I knew there wasn’t any hope. I would never make it. I was ready to give up. But the door opened and he took me out and placed me on the shelf. One hour later he handed me a mirror and said, ‘Look at yourself.’ And I did. I said, ‘That’s not me; that couldn’t be me. It’s beautiful. I’m beautiful.’

‘I want you to remember, then,’ he said, ‘I know it hurt to be rolled and patted, but if I just left you, you’d have dried up. I know it made you dizzy to spin around on the wheel, but if I had stopped, you would have crumbled. I know it hurt and it was hot and disagreeable in the oven, but if I hadn’t put you there, you would have cracked. I know the fumes were bad when I brushed and painted you all over, but if I hadn’t done that, you never would have hardened. You would not have had any color in your life, and if I hadn’t put you back in that second oven, you wouldn’t survive for very long because the hardness would not have held. Now you are a finished product. You are what I had in mind when I first began with you.’

BALANCE

Once the great Anthony of the Desert was relaxing with his disciples outside his hut when a hunter came by. The hunter was surprised to see Anthony relaxing, and rebuffed him for taking it easy. It was not his idea of what a holy monk should be doing.

Anthony replied, “Bend your bow and shoot an arrow.” And the hunter did so. “Bend it again and shoot another arrow,” said Anthony. The hunter did so, again and again.

The hunter finally said, “Abba Anthony, if I keep my bow always stretched, it will break.”

So it is with the monk,” replid Anthony. “if we push ourselves beyond measure, we will break. It is right from time to time to relax our efforts.”

THE KINGDOM TO BE CLAIMED

Once there was a time, according to legend, when Ireland was ruled by a king who had no son. The king sent out his couriers to post notices in all the towns of his realm. The notices advised that every qualified young man should apply for an interview with the king as a possible successor to the throne. However, all such candidates must have these two qualifications: They must (1) love God and (2) love their fellow human beings.

The Young man about whom this legend centers saw a notice and reflected that he loved God and, also, his neighbors. One thing stopped him, he was so poor that he had no clothes that would be presentable in the sight of the king. Nor did he have the funds to buy provisions for the long journey to the castle. So the young man begged here, and borrowed there, finally managing to scrounge enough money for the appropriate clothes and the necessary supplies.

Properly attired and well-suited, the young man set out on his quest, and had almost completed the journey when he came upon a poor beggar by the side of the road. The beggar sat trembling, clad only in tattered rags. His extended arms pleaded for help. His weak voice croaked, “I’m hungry and cold. Please help me… please?”

The young man was so moved by this beggar’s need that he immediately stripped off his new clothes and put on the tattered threads of the beggar. Without a second thought he gave the beggar all his provision as well. Then, somewhat hesitantly, he continued his journey to the castle dressed in the rags of the beggar, lacking provisions for his return trek home. Upon his arrival at the castle, a king’s attendant showed him in to the great hall. After a brief respite to clean off the journey’s grime, he was finally admitted to the throne room of the king.

The young man bowed low before his majesty. When he raised his eyes, he gaped in astonishment. “You… it’s you! You’re the beggar by the side of the road.”

“Yes,” the king replied with a twinkle, “I was that beggar.”

“But…bu…bu… you are not really a beggar. You are the king for real. Well, then, why did you do this to me?” the young man stammered after gaining more of his composure.

“Because I had to find out if you genuinely love God and your fellow human beings,” said the king. “I knew that if I came to you as king, you would have been impressed by my gem-encrusted golden crown and my royal robes. You would have done anything I asked of you because of my regal character. But that way I would never have known what is truly in your heart. So I used a ruse. I came to you as a beggar with no claims on you except for the love in your hear. And I discovered that you sincerely do love God and your fellow human beings. You will be my successor,” promised the king. “You will inherit my kingdom.”

Hundredth Monkey

by: Author Unknown, A Quiet Place for the Mind

The Japanese monkey, Macaca fuscata, has been observed in the filed for a period of over 30 years. In 1952, on the island of Koshima scientists were providing monkeys with sweet potatoes dropped in the sand. The monkeys liked the taste of the raw sweet potatoes, but they found the firt unpleasant.

An 18-month old female name Imo found she could solve the problem by washing the potatoes in a nearby stream. She taught this trick to her mother. Her playmates also learned this new way and they taught their mothers, too.

This cultural innovation was gradually picked up by various monkeys before the eyes of the scientists. Between 1952 and 1958, all the young monkeys learned to wash the sandy sweet potatoes to make them more palatable. Only the adults who imitated their children learned this social improvement. Other adults kept eating the dritysweet potatoes.

Then something startling took place. In the autumn of 1958, a certain number of Koshima monkeys were washing sweet potatoes — the exact number is not known. Let us suppose that when the sun rose one morning there were 99 monkeys on Koshima Island who had learned to wash their sweet potatoes. Let’s further suppose that later that morning, the hundredth monkey learned to wash potatoes. THEN IT HAPPENED!

By that evening almost everyone in the tribe was washing sweet potatoes before eating them. The added energy of this hundredth monkey somehow created an ideological breakthrough!

But notice. The most surprising thing observed by these scientists was that the habit of washing sweet potatoes then spontaneously jumped over the sea — Colonies of monkeys on other islands and the mainland troop of monkeys at Takasakiyama began washing their sweet potatoes! (Lifetide, Watson, pp. 147-148, Bantam Books, 1980. This book gives other fascinating details.)

NAIL IN THE FENCE

Make sure you read all the way down to the last sentence. (Most importantly the last sentence)

There once was a little boy who had a bad temper.

His Father gave him a bag of nails and told him that every time he lost his temper, he must hammer a nail into the back of the fence.

The first day the boy had driven 37 nails into the fence. Over the next few weeks, as he learned to control his anger, the number of nails hammered daily gradually dwindled down. He discovered it was easier to hold his temper than to drive those nails into the fence.

Finally the ! day came when the boy didn’t lose his temper at all. He told his father about it and the father suggested that the boy now pull out one nail for each day that he was able to hold his temper.

The days passed and the young boy was finally able to tell his father that all the nails were gone. The father took his son by the hand and led him to the fence He said, “You have done well, my son, but look at the holes in the fence. The fence will never be the same. When you say things in anger, they leave a scar just like this one. You can put a knife in a man and draw it out.

It won’t matter how many times you say “I’m sorry”, the wound is still there. A verbal wound is as bad as a physical one.

Friends are very rare jewels, indeed. They make you smile and encourage you to succeed.

They lend an ear, they share words of praise and they always want to open their hearts to us.”

Patience to Learn

A young man presented himself to the local expert on gems and said he wanted to become a gemologist. The expert brushed him off because he feared that the youth would not have the patience to learn. The young man pleaded for a chance. Finally the expert consented and told the youth, “Be here tomorrow.”

The next morning the expert put a jade stone in the boy’s hand and told him to hold it. The expert then went about his work, cutting, weighing, and setting gems. The boy sat quietly and waited.

The following mooring the expert again placed the jade stone in the youth’s hand and told him to hold it. On the third, fourth, and fifth day the expert repeated the exercise and the instructions.

On the sixth day the youth held the jade stone, but could no longer stand the silence. “Master,” he asked, “when am I going to learn something?”

“You’ll learn,” the expert replied and went about his business.

Several more days went by and the youth’s frustration mounted. One morning as the expert approached and beckoned for him to hold out his hand, he was about to blurt out that he could go on no longer. But as the master placed the stone in the youth’s hand, the young man exclaimed with-out looking at his hand, “This is not the same jade stone!”

“You have begun to learn,” said the master.

A TRUE ONE

Barbara was driving her six-year-old son, Benjamin, to his piano lesson.

They were late, and Barbara was beginning to think she should have cancelled it. There was always so much to do, and Barbara, a night-duty nurse at the local hospital, had recently worked extra shifts.

She was tired. The sleet storm and icy roads added to her tension. Maybe she should turn the car around.

“Mom!” Ben cried. “Look!” Just ahead, a car had lost control on a patch of ice. As Barbara tapped the brakes, the other car spun wildly rolled over, then crashed sideways into a telephone pole.

Barbara pulled over, skidded to a stop and threw open her door. Thank goodness she was a nurse – she might be able to help these unfortunate passengers.

Then she paused. What about Ben? She couldn’t take him with her. Little boys shouldn’t see scenes like the one she anticipated. But was it safe to leave him alone? What if their car were hit from behind?

For a brief moment Barbara considered going on her way. Someone else was sure to come along. No! “Ben, honey, promise me you’ll stay in the car!”

“I will, Mommy,” he said as she ran, slipping and sliding toward the crash site. It was worse than she’d feared. Two girls of high school age are in the car. One, the blonde on the passenger side, was dead, killed on impact.

The driver, however was still breathing. She was unconscious and pinned in the wreckage. Barbara quickly applied pressure to the wound in the teenager’s head while her practiced eye catalogued the other injuries. A broken leg, maybe two, along with probable internal bleeding. But if help came soon, the girl would live.

A trucker had pulled up and was calling for help on his cellular phone. Soon Barbara heard the ambulance sirens. A few moments later she surrendered her lonely post to rescue workers.

“Good job,” one said as he examined the driver’s wounds. “You probably saved her life, ma’am.” Perhaps.

But as Barbara walked back to her car a feeling of sadness overwhelmed her, especially for the family of the girl who had died. Their lives would never be the same. Oh God, why do such things have to happen?

Slowly Barbara opened her car door. What should she tell Benjamin? He was staring at the crash site, his blue eyes huge. “Mom,” he whispered, “did you see it?”

“See what, Honey?” she asked.

“The angel, Mom! He came down from the sky while you were running to the car. And he opened the door, and he took that girl out.”

Barbara’s eyes filled with tears. “Which door, Ben?”

“The passenger side. He took the girl’s hand, and they floated up to Heaven together”

“What about the driver?”

Ben shrugged. “I didn’t see anyone else.”

Later, Barbara was able to meet the families of the victims. They expressed their gratitude for the help she had provided. Barbara was able to give them something more – Ben’s vision.

There was no way he could have known what happened to either of the passengers. Nor could the passenger door have been opened; Barbara had seen its tangle of immovable steel herself. Yet Ben’s account brought consolation to a grieving family. Their daughter was safe in Heaven. And they would see her again.

Charles Schultz Philosophy

The following is the philosophy of Charles Schultz, the creator of the “Peanuts” comic strip.
You don’t have to actually answer the questions. Just read the e-mailstraight through, and you’ll get the point.

1.    Name the five wealthiest people in the world.
2.    Name the last five Heisman trophy winners.
3.    Name the last five winners of the Miss America contest.
4.    Name ten people who have won the Nobel or Pulitzer Prize.
5.    Name the last half dozen Academy Award winner for best actor and actress.
6.    Name the last decade’s worth of World Series winners.

How did you do?
The point is, none of us remember the headliners of yesterday.
These are no second-rate achievers. They are the best in their fields.
But the applause dies. Awards tarnish. Achievements are forgotten.
Accolades and certificates are buried with their owners.

Here’s another quiz. See how you do on this one:

1.    List a few teachers who aided your journey through school.
2.    Name three friends who have helped you through a difficult time.
3.    Name five people who have taught you something worthwhile.
4.    Think of a few people who have made you feel appreciated and special.
5.    Think of five people you enjoy spending time with.
6.    Name half a dozen heroes whose stories have inspired you.

Easier?

The lesson:
The people who make a difference in your life are not the ones with the most credentials, the most money, or the most awards.
They are the ones that care.

EFFECTIVE TIME MANAGEMENT – TALENTS: RECEIVED TEN MAKE ANOTHER TEN

Unless time is managed properly, nothing worthwhile can be accomplished.

Time is unique resource.

It is indispensable, intangible, irreplaceable, irretrievable and therefore invaluable.

It is equitably and uniformly distributed.

The rich, the poor, the powerful and the weak, all get the same amount of time.

A day of every one consists of 24 hours only, no more and no less.

Every piece of work requires time. Difficult tasks may require ample time; after all Rome was not built in a day.

Time does not obey the laws of ordinary arithmetic.

4 minutes today and 3 minutes tomorrow do not add up to 7 minutes at a stretch.

Time without energy has not much value; for instance, if one is seriously ill the time duration of illness is practically useless.

Time is money.

Costs are related to the passage of time, such as interest on capital. Time is also a measure of effort.

Even a few minutes of time can be of critical importance.

Time lost is lost for ever and yet the easiest thing is to waste time.

We always tend to waste time and then regret that we are always short of time.

Time management is, therefore a vital aspect of management.

A Swiss gentleman summed up 65 years of his life as follows:-

(a) Spent in bed – 26 years
(b) Spent in Office/at work – 20 years
(c) Spent in eating – 6 years
(d) Spent in waiting – 6 years
(e) Spent in anger – 6 years
(f) Spent in toilet, bathing, shaving, laughing, scolding children, blowing nose and lighting cigar – 1 year
(g) No time apparently spent in thinking, planning or achieving goals

Modes of Time

There are two modes of time for every person:

(a) Either you have a very “busy” mind, effectively employing human resources like working, thinking, remembering, reading, writing, watching, discussing, listening etc., in short, fully utilizing your senses. Here you are very busy and involved.

(b) Or at the other extreme, you have an “empty” mind – for example, whilst waiting for a bus or train, waiting for a doctor or friend, when you do not get sleep or listening to a boring speech or attending infructuous meetings – activities in which you are not interested or mentally involved but perforce have to be physically present.

In the first case time flies – you would say – “Oh. My God! One hour has passed. I thought just about 5 minutes have gone by.”

In the second case, imagine you are waiting for a doctor, or your friend at a Cinema Hall or awaiting a train, which is running late, at the railway station. You look right, then left, then at your watch. You curse your friend or the train for not coming on time. It seems ages. When the much-delayed person or train arrives at last, you shout “Why are you late? I am cooling my heels for hours.” Whereas actually only three or four minutes may have passed.

For a Busy Mind: Time Flies.
For a Empty Mind: Time Crawls
.

Time Management

Time can be divided into three aspects for applying techniques of managing it:-

(a) Biological: Pertaining to bodily functions.
(b) Social: Pertaining to self, family and society.
(c) Professional: Pertaining to professional activities/time spent at work.

It is essential to maintain equilibrium between these three aspects. Any imbalance may prove to be detrimental to one’s physical and mental health and can adversely affect the individual in the long run.

It is essential, therefore, to allocate one’s time in balanced manner to the extent feasible to all these three aspects.

(a) Biological Time : Adopt the golden mean of moderation among:-
(i) Sleep
(ii) Food
(iii) Ablutions / Calls of nature
(iv) Sex / Recreation
(v) Physical Exercise

It is advantageous to establish regularity for all the above activities.

(b) Social Time : It is desirable to give time to yourself, your family and for society and the general guide lines are :

(i) Self development/self time – at least one hour per day should be kept for oneself for thinking, introspection, reading and other hobbies.

(ii) Family time – strong family ties and a happy domestic life are the foundations of success in both personal and professional life. One must spend some time with one’s family everyday and to co-ordinate activities of family members. Dinner time and after is suitable for this.

iii) Societal time – in order to live in society, one has to attend various social events like weddings, religious functions etc., where one is not the master of one’s own time. Social obligations may entail a substantial portion of time.

(c) Professional Time : In this aspect, if one is working, one does not really have a choice as working hours are generally fixed. The aim here is to optimally utilize the available time for maximum output/productivity and self satisfaction. It is, therefore, essential to plan one’s work and that of the subordinates in an efficient manner and also identify “Time Wasters” and make efforts to eliminate/reduce them.

Examples of Time Wasters are –

(i) Infructuous meetings.
(ii) Poor communication [including unnecessary mobile phone calls].
(iii) Unwanted visitors
(iv) Disorganized work due to lack of clear cut priorities, “Fire Fighting”/Crisis Management, duplication of effort, confused responsibility and authority, ineffective delegation, indecision and, in general, failure of Management of Work.

The basic cause of time wastage at work can be classified as follows:-

(a) Over-staffing is common cause of wastage of time. Since most of the people do not have clearly defined work for the whole day, they often obstruct each other and create unnecessary problems. According to Peter Drucker – “If a Manager or Supervisor is spending more than 1/10th of his time on human relations, on disputes and quarrels, it is clear indication of over-staffing”.

(b) Time is wasted on account of faulty organization of work. Work is not planned sufficiently in advance.

(c) There is enormous wastage of time and effort due to various meetings often at various locations, which are not properly directed and drag on interminably.

(d) Time is often wasted because the relevant information is not readily available or the information available is inaccurate. Similarly collection, storage and dissemination of unnecessary information is wasteful.

Though one has to evolve one’s own technique of time management depending on the circumstances, the three cardinal principles are –

(a) Span of Attention
(b) Provision of time in adequate chunks.
(c) Concentration.

(a) Span of Attention : There is a natural limit to how long one can concentrate on a particular activity or task. This is called span of attention. For example – One cannot obviously work continuously for a long duration without loosing effectiveness. Working beyond one’s span of attention becomes counter-productive. Work begins to suffer badly. In planning work, this requirement must always be kept in view.

(b) Provisions of time in adequate chunks : If any important work is to be done, time must be made available in sufficiently large chunks. For example – If a job takes 20 minutes, it is of no use to allocate time at the rate of 5 minutes a day for 4 days. Time used in such driblets is utterly wasted. For important work one requires sufficient time at a stretch.

(c) Concentration: Concentration is essential for effective utilization of time. This as a matter of practice is necessary to avoid all interruptions. It is also necessary to focus attention on one task at a time.

Conclusion

Time Management is essentially a matter of self-discipline, though it is affected by external factors.

Your aim should be to identify and minimize both internal and external Time Wasters to the extent feasible.

One has to cultivate the art of enjoying both essential work and leisure.

It is essential to maintain equilibrium between biological, social and professional time for improving one’s effectiveness.

RIGHT WAY OF FEEDING

A renowned management guru entered a huge lecture hall where he was scheduled to deliver an inspiring lecture on the topic of “Motivation” to management students of a premier business school.

He was shocked to find that the lecture hall was empty except for a lone unkempt man in shabby clothes man seated in the front row.

The lecturer asked the lone man in the audience who he was.

“I am a Cook in the College Canteen,” said the man.

The management guru, pondering whether to deliver his lecture or not, asked the Cook, “You are the only one here. What do you think – should I speak or not?”

The Cook said to scholar: “I am a simple man and do not understand these things. But if I came into the Dining Hall and saw only one man sitting I would give him food.”

The management guru took this to heart and began to deliver his lecture with zest and passion. He spoke for over two hours, articulating his repertoire of knowledge with élan and flamboyance. After that he felt highly elated at his grand performance and wanted his audience to confirm how great his lecture had been.

He patronisingly asked the Cook, “How did you like my lecture?”

The Cook answered, “I told you already that I am a simple man and do not understand these things very well. However, if I came into the dining hall and found only one man sitting there I would feed him, but I certainly would not give him the huge quantity of all the food in the kitchen in one go and expect him to properly digest the entire amount.”

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