Archive | February 2013

A tragedy or blessing ?

 

A Tragedy or Blessing? Years ago in Scotland, the Clark family had a dream. Clark and his wife worked and saved, making plans for their nine children and themselves to travel to the United States. It had taken years, but they had finally saved enough money and had gotten passports and reservations for the whole family on a new liner to the United States. The entire family was filled with anticipation and excitement about their new life. However, seven days before their departure, a dog bit the youngest son. The doctor sewed up the boy but hung a yellow sheet on the Clarks’ front door. Because of the possibility of rabies, they were being quarantined for fourteen days. The family’s dreams were dashed. They would not be able to make the trip to America as they had planned. The father, filled with disappointment and anger, stomped to the dock to watch the ship leave – without the Clark family. The father shed tears of disappointment and cursed both his son and God for their misfortune. Five days later, the tragic news spread throughout Scotland – the mighty Titanic had sunk. The unsinkable ship had sunk, taking hundreds of lives with it. The Clark family was to have been on that ship, but because a dog had bitten the son, they were left behind in Scotland. When Mr. Clark heard the news, he hugged his son and thanked him for saving the family. He thanked God for saving their lives and turning what he had felt was a tragedy into a blessing. Although we may not always understand, all things happen for a reason

A Tear to the Eye

 

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.

Running in the rain

She had been shopping with her Mom in Wal-Mart. She must have been 6 years old, this beautiful red haired, freckle faced image of innocence. It was pouring outside. The kind of rain that gushes over the top of rain gutters, so much in a hurry to hit the earth it has no time to flow down the spout. We all stood there under the awning and just inside the door of the Wal-Mart. We waited, some patiently, others irritated because nature messed up their hurried day. I am always mesmerized by rainfall. I got lost in the sound and sight of the heavens washing away the dirt and dust of the world. Memories of running, splashing so carefree as a child come pouring in as a welcome reprieve from the worries of my day. Her voice was so sweet as it broke the hypnotic trance we were all caught in. “Mom, let’s run through the rain,” she said. “What?” Mom asked. “Let’s run through the rain!” She repeated. “No, honey. We’ll wait until it slows down a bit,” Mom replied. This young child waited about another minute and repeated: “Mom, let’s run through the rain.” “We’ll get soaked if we do,” Mom said. “No, we won’t, Mom. That’s not what you said this morning,” the young girl said as she tugged at her Mom’s arm. “This morning? When did I say we could run through the rain and not get wet?” “Don’t you remember? When you were talking to Daddy about his cancer, you said, ‘If God can get us through this, he can get us through anything!” The entire crowd stopped dead silent. I swear you couldn’t hear anything but the rain. We all stood silently. No one came or left in the next few minutes. Mom paused and thought for a moment about what she would say. Now some would laugh it off and scold her for being silly. Some might even ignore what was said. But this was a moment of affirmation in a young child’s life. A time when innocent trust can be nurtured so that it will bloom into faith. “Honey, you are absolutely right. Let’s run through the rain. If GOD let’s us get wet, well maybe we just needed washing,” Mom said. Then off they ran. We all stood watching, smiling and laughing as they darted past the cars and yes, through the puddles. They held their shopping bags over their heads just in case. They got soaked. But they were followed by a few who screamed and laughed like children all the way to their cars. And yes, I did. I ran. I got wet. I needed washing. Circumstances or people can take away your material possessions, they can take away your money, and they can take away your health. But no one can ever take away your precious memories…So, don’t forget to make time and take the opportunities to make memories everyday.

You are being of light in this world

 

I am amazed at the number of people, walking through life, deadened to the purpose for their living. They while away their time emulating the way others live, instead of living a positive life of their own.

They live from a couch, watching a TV set; they sit at their computers seeking satisfaction in information and games; they live for the latest Iphone, Ipad, Xbox, or other electronic gadget. With the push of a button, they expect the abundant life.

They are beings, with a light of special gifts, talents, and experiences. I want to tell them to wake up and share of themselves with a darkened world that needs their light. Where is their ambition? What is their purpose for living? We were put here to bring light to others. We need to have goals and expectations and work towards accomplishing our aspirations.

What is our responsibility for the privilege of living in this world? As the sun lights our days and the moon our nights, we are being called on to light up the lives of those around us. Think about the power of light. It makes sight possible. It allows us to see things the way they really are. It eliminates the darkness. With the power of your light, darkness retreats.

You have the capacity to bring love and joy, care and compassion, and inspiration and motivation to others in this world. It begins with your thoughts and emotions and is brought out through your actions. What would it mean to light the world around you with great hope, desire, and possibility? When you change just one life, you start to change the whole world.

Start with yourself. Be honest and true. Be able to laugh at yourself. Admit when you’re wrong and apologize. Always show respect for others. Bring value to other’s lives. Be grateful. The more you nurture your own light, the better you can illuminate the way for others. A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle. So, it is with us.

When we give of ourselves, our light is not diminished, but aids others who are still in darkness. A realm of light is needed to overcome the darkness of this world. God put you here for a purpose. Learn what He has for you to do and passionately shine your light into the world.

Even now, there are countless others in need of the guidance, security, and inspiration of your light. So, be a light in this world, every day that you live. Live in the light of eternity.

—  Bob Stoess
— Submitted By Brian G. Jett — Kentucky

Don’t Hope…Decide..!!

 

While waiting to pick up a friend at the airport in Portland, Oregon, I had one of those life-changing experiences that you hear other people talk about — the kind that sneaks up on you unexpectedly. This one occurred a mere two feet away from me.

Straining to locate my friend among the passengers deplaning through the jet way, I noticed a man coming toward me carrying two light bags. He stopped right next to me to greet his family.

First he motioned to his youngest son (maybe six years old) as he laid down his bags. They gave each other a long, loving hug. As they separated enough to look in each other’s face, I heard the father say, “It’s so good to see you, son. I missed you so much!” His son smiled somewhat shyly, averted his eyes and replied softly, “Me, too, Dad!”

Then the man stood up, gazed in the eyes of his oldest son (maybe nine or ten) and while cupping his son’s face in his hands said, “You’re already quite the young man. I love you very much, Zach!” They too hugged a most loving, tender hug.

While this was happening, a baby girl (perhaps one or one-and-a-half) was squirming excitedly in her mother’s arms, never once taking her little eyes off the wonderful sight of her returning father. The man said, “Hi, baby girl!” as he gently took the child from her mother. He quickly kissed her face all over and then held her close to his chest while rocking her from side to side. The little girl instantly relaxed and simply laid her head on his shoulder, motionless in pure contentment.

After several moments, he handed his daughter to his oldest son and declared, “I’ve saved the best for last!” and proceeded to give his wife the longest, most passionate kiss I ever remember seeing. He gazed into her eyes for several seconds and then silently mouthed. “I love you so much!” They stared at each other’s eyes, beaming big smiles at one another, while holding both hands.

For an instant they reminded me of newlyweds, but I knew by the age of their kids that they couldn’t possibly be. I puzzled about it for a moment then realized how totally engrossed I was in the wonderful display of unconditional love not more than an arm’s length away from me. I suddenly felt uncomfortable, as if I was invading something sacred, but was amazed to hear my own voice nervously ask, “Wow! How long have you two been married?

“Been together fourteen years total, married twelve of those.” he replied, without breaking his gaze from his lovely wife’s face. “Well then, how long have you been away?” I asked. The man finally turned and looked at me, still beaming his joyous smile. “Two whole days!”

Two days? I was stunned. By the intensity of the greeting, I had assumed he’d been gone for at least several weeks – if not months. I know my expression betrayed me.

I said almost offhandedly, hoping to end my intrusion with some semblance of grace (and to get back to searching for my friend), “I hope my marriage is still that passionate after twelve years!”

The man suddenly stopped smiling.

He looked me straight in the eye, and with forcefulness that burned right into my soul, he told me something that left me a different person. He told me, “Don’t hope, friend… decide!” Then he flashed me his wonderful smile again, shook my hand and said, “God bless!”

– By Michael D. Hargrove and Bottom Line Underwriters, Inc.
Copyright 1997

Be Content About Your Life

 

Wonder if any of you ever had the feeling that life is bad, real bad,…and you wish you were in another situation. Do you find that life seems to make things difficult for you, work sucks, life sucks, everything seems to go wrong….

It was not until yesterday that I totally changed my views about life; after a conversation with one of my friends.

He told me despite taking 2 jobs, and bringing back barely above 1K per month, he is happy as he is. I wonder how he can be as happy as he is now, considering that he has to skimp his life with the low pay to support a pair of old-age parents, in-laws, wife, 2 daughters and the many bills of a household.

He explained that it was through one incident that he saw in India……

That happened a few years ago when he was really feeling low and was touring India after a major setback. He said that right in front of his very eyes, he saw an Indian mother chopped off her child’s right hand with a chopper. The helplessness in the mother’s eyes, the scream of the pain from the innocent 4 years old child haunted him until today. You may ask why did the mother do so, has the child been naughty, was the child’s hand infected??

No, it was done for two simple words — to beg. The desperate mother deliberately caused the child to be handicapped so that the child can go out to the streets to beg. I cannot accept how this could happen, but it really did, just in another part of the world which I don’t see.

Taken aback by the scene, he dropped a small piece of bread he was eating half-way. And almost instantly, flock of 5 or 6 children swamp towards this small piece of bread which was then covered with sand, robbing of bits from one another. The natural reaction of hunger. Striken by the happenings, he instructed his guide to drive him to the nearest bakery. He arrived at two bakeries and bought every single loaf of bread he found in the bakeries.

The owner is dumbfounded , but willing sold everything. He spent less than $100 to obtain about 400 loaf of bread (this is less than $0.25/per loaf) and spend another $100 to get daily necessities. Off he went in the truck full of bread into the streets. As he distributed the bread and necessities to the children (mostly handicapped) and a few adults, he received cheers and bows from these unfortunate. For the first time in life he wonder how people can give up their dignity for a loaf of bread which cost less than $0.25. He began to ask himself how fortunate he is as a Singaporean. How fortunate he to be able to have a complete body, have a job, have a family, have the chance to complain what food is nice what isn’t, have the chance to be clothed, have the many things that these people in front of him are deprived of…..

Now I begin to think and feel it, too. Was my life really that bad?

Perhaps….no,… it should not be bad at all….

What about you? Maybe the next time you think you are, think about the child who lost one hand to beg on the streets.

Story By Wendy Tan

Submitted  by Kimiko Sato.

I Have Learned

 

I’ve learned-
that you cannot make someone love you. All you can do is be someone who can be loved. The rest is up to them.

I’ve learned-
that no matter how much I care, some people just don’t care back.

I’ve learned-
that it takes years to build up trust, and only seconds to destroy it.

I’ve learned-
that no matter how good a friend is, they’re going to hurt you every once in a while and you must forgive them for that.

I’ve learned-
that it’s not what you have in your life but who you have in your life that counts.

I’ve learned-
that you should never ruin an apology with an excuse.

I’ve learned-
that you can get by on charm for about fifteen minutes. After that, you’d better know something.

I’ve learned-
that you shouldn’t compare yourself to the best others can do.

I’ve learned-
that you can do something in an instant that will give you heartache for life.

I’ve learned-
that it’s taking me a long time to become the person I want to be.

I’ve learned-
that you should always leave loved ones with loving words. It may be the last time you see them.

I’ve learned-
that you can keep going long after you can’t.

I’ve learned-
that we are responsible for what we do, no matter how we feel.

I’ve learned-
that either you control your attitude or it controls you.

I’ve learned-
that regardless of how hot and steamy a relationship is at first, the passion fades and there had better be something else to take its place.

I’ve learned-
that heroes are the people who do what has to be done when it needs to be done, regardless of the consequences.

I’ve learned-
that money is a lousy way of keeping score.

I’ve learned-
that my best friend and I can do anything or nothing and have the best time.

I’ve learned-
that sometimes the people you expect to kick you when you’re down will be the ones to help you get back up.

I’ve learned-
that sometimes when I’m angry I have the right to be angry, but that doesn’t give me the right to be cruel.

I’ve learned-
that true friendship continues to grow, even over the longest distance. Same goes for true love.

I’ve learned-
that just because someone doesn’t love you the way you want them to doesn’t mean they don’t love you with all they have.

I’ve learned-
that maturity has more to do with what types of experiences you’ve had and what you’ve learned from them and less to do with how many birthdays you’ve celebrated.

I’ve learned-
that you should never tell a child their dreams are unlikely or outlandish. Few things are more humiliating, and what a tragedy it would be if they believed it.

I’ve learned-
that your family won’t always be there for you. It may seem funny, but people you aren’t related to can take care of you and love you and teach you to trust people again. Families aren’t biological.

I’ve learned-
that it isn’t always enough to be forgiven by others. Sometimes you are to learn to forgive yourself.

I’ve learned-
that no matter how bad your heart is broken the world doesn’t stop for your grief.

I’ve learned-
that our background and circumstances may have influenced who we are, but we are responsible for who we become.

I’ve learned-
that a rich person is not the one who has the most, but is one who needs the least.

I’ve learned-
that just because two people argue, it doesn’t mean they don’t love each other. And just because they don’t argue, it doesn’t mean they do.

I’ve learned-
that we don’t have to change friends if we understand that friends change.

I’ve learned-
that you shouldn’t be so eager to find out a secret. It could change your life forever.

I’ve learned-
that two people can look at the exact same thing and see something totally different.

I’ve learned-
that no matter how you try to protect your children, they will eventually get hurt and you will hurt in the process.

I’ve learned-
that even when you think you have no more to give, when a friend cries out to you, you will find the strength to help.

I’ve learned-
that credentials on the wall do not make you a decent human being.

I’ve learned-
that the people you care about most in life are taken from you too soon.

I’ve learned-
that it’s hard to determine where to draw the line between being nice and not hurting people’s feelings, and standing up for what you believe.

I’ve learned-
that people will forget what you said, and people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.

By Omer B. Washington