Archive | April 18, 2013

Explain God

 

“Explain God”.

“One of God’s main jobs is making people. He makes them to replace the ones that die so there will be enough people to take care of things on earth. He doesn’t make grown-ups, just babies. I think because they are smaller and easier to make. That way He doesn’t have to take up His valuable time teaching them to talk and walk. He can just leave that to mothers and fathers.

“God’s second most important job is listening to prayers. An awful lot of this goes on, since some people, like preachers and things, pray at times besides bedtime. God doesn’t have time to listen to the radio or TV because of this. Because He hears everything, there must be a terrible lot of noise in His ears, unless He has thought of a way to turn it off. “God sees everything and hears everything and is everywhere which keeps Him pretty busy. So you shouldn’t go wasting His time by going over your mom and dad’s head asking for something they said you couldn’t have.

“Atheists are people who don’t believe in God. I don’t think there are any in Chula Vista. At least there aren’t any who come to our church.

“Jesus is God’s Son. He used to do all the hard work like walking on water and performing miracles and trying to teach the people who didn’t want to learn about God. They finally got tired of Him preaching to them and they crucified Him. But He was good and kind, like His Father and He told His Father that they didn’t know what they were doing and to forgive them and God said O.K.

“His Dad (God) appreciated everything that He had done and all His hard work on earth so He told Him He didn’t have to go out on the road anymore. He could stay in heaven. So He did. And now He helps His Dad out by listening to prayers and seeing things which are important for God to take care of and which ones He can take care of Himself without having to bother God. Like a secretary, only more important.

“You can pray anytime you want and they are sure to help you because they got it worked out so one of them is on duty all the time.

“You should always go to Church on Sunday because it makes God happy, and if there’s anybody you want to make happy, it’s God. Don’t skip church to do something you think will be more fun like going to the beach. This is wrong. And besides the sun doesn’t come out at the beach until noon anyway.

“If you don’t believe in God, besides being an atheist, you will be very lonely, because your parents can’t go everywhere with you, like to camp, but God can. It is good to know He’s around you when you’re scared in the dark or when you can’t swim and you get thrown into real deep water by big kids.

“But you shouldn’t just always think of what God can do for you. I figure God put me here and He can take me back anytime He pleases.

And that’s why I believe in God.

How to Explain God was written by Danny Dutton, age8, from Chula Vista, California, for his third grade homework assignment.

A Brother’s Hands

 

Back in the fifteenth century, in a tiny village near Nuremberg, lived a family with eighteen children. Eighteen! In order merely to keep food on the table for this mob, the father and head of the household, a goldsmith by profession, worked almost eighteen hours a day at his trade and any other paying chore he could find in the neighborhood. Despite their seemingly hopeless condition, two of Albrecht Durer the Elder’s children had a dream. They both wanted to pursue their talent for art, but they knew full well that their father would never be financially able to send either of them to Nuremberg to study at the Academy.

After many long discussions at night in their crowded bed, the two boys finally worked out a pact. They would toss a coin. The loser would go down into the nearby mines and, with his earnings, support his brother while he attended the academy. Then, when that brother who won the toss completed his studies, in four years, he would support the other brother at the academy, either with sales of his artwork or, if necessary, also by laboring in the mines. They tossed a coin on a Sunday morning after church. Albrecht Durer won the toss and went off to Nuremberg.

Albert went down into the dangerous mines and, for the next four years, financed his brother, whose work at the academy was almost an immediate sensation. Albrecht’s etchings, his woodcuts, and his oils were far better than those of most of his professors, and by the time he graduated, he was beginning to earn considerable fees for his commissioned works.

When the young artist returned to his village, the Durer family held a festive dinner on their lawn to celebrate Albrecht’s triumphant homecoming. After a long and memorable meal, punctuated with music and laughter, Albrecht rose from his honored position at the head of the table to drink a toast to his beloved brother for the years of sacrifice that had enabled Albrecht to fulfill his ambition. His closing words were, “And now, Albert, blessed brother of mine, now it is your turn. Now you can go to Nuremberg to pursue your dream, and I will support you.”

All heads turned in eager expectation to the far end of the table where Albert sat, tears streaming down his pale face, shaking his lowered head from side to side while he sobbed and repeated over and over, “No … no … no … no.”

Finally, Albert rose and wiped the tears from his cheeks. He glanced down the long table at the faces he loved, and then, holding his hands close to his right cheek, he said softly, “No, brother. I cannot go to Nuremberg. It is too late for me. Look … look what four years in the mines have done to my hands! The bones in every finger have been smashed at least once, and lately I have been suffering from arthritis so badly in my right hand that I cannot even hold a glass to return your toast, much less make delicate lines on parchment or canvas with a pen or a brush. No, brother … for me it is too late.”

More than 450 years have passed. By now, Albrecht Durer’s hundreds of masterful portraits, pen and silver-point sketches, watercolors, charcoals, woodcuts, and copper engravings hang in every great museum in the world, but the odds are great that you, like most people, are familiar with only one of Albrecht Durer’s works. More than merely being familiar with it, you very well may have a reproduction hanging in your home or office.

One day, long ago, to pay homage to Albert for all that he had sacrificed, Albrecht Durer painstakingly drew his brother’s abused hands with palms together and thin fingers stretched skyward. He called his powerful drawing simply “Hands,” but the entire world almost immediately opened their hearts to his great masterpiece and renamed his tribute of love “The Praying Hands.”

 

Mommy Didn’t Want Me and Daddy Didn’t Care

When you’re walking alone, when you’ve got nothing
and you say to yourself, you’ll never amount to something.
When your dreams are crushed and hope is long gone,
no matter which road you know, it’s all wrong,
But you smile, you fake,
you pretend that it’s ok because you never want anyone to know that you’re at stake,

But when you cry to yourself, when you’re alone at night
and these cuts on your wrist deflect what’s on your mind.
Because when mommy didn’t want you and daddy didn’t care,
when the pain of your rejection got to much for you to bear.
So you sabotage your life, then it happens again,
when the pain and hate get all inside your head
and she says she would always be here.

Mom where are you now, there pretending that you care,
at the slightest of a frown.
But it’s more than that, it’s more than this,
right?
It’s supporting her addiction, mommy’s only wish,
and daddy, you could have spoke up, but you didn’t,
wish you would pretend to care for more than just a minute,

When what doesn’t kill you, makes you wish you were dead,
you’ll try to overcome it, but it won’t escape your head.
These emotional scars are deeper than anything that bleeds,
you cover up the wounds, it doesn’t mean they’ll ever leave,
but it’s ok, I mean I’ll turn around, You either rise up or sink into the ground.
Because I have a voice, I’ll speak for those who don’t,
I’ll prove that I can do it when push comes to shove.

When all you’re looking for is love, but love you can’t find,
but when you look for it, it’s all behind.
I know that you can do it, you’ll conquer the great,
you just got to keep going, it’s never too late.
You’re young, beautiful, brave and strong,
and no matter where you turn, you’re going to feel it’s wrong.
But you’re not, you’re great, standing tall and smart,
who you appear, are they really in your heart?

I know it’s not, I know it, at least more than anybody ever gave you credit for.
You’re standing, you’re ready, you’re coming up strong,
you’ve been traveling this road for a little too long.
Don’t give up, this is your life,
are you really going to end it with the presence of a knife?
You’ve got this, you own it, all you’ve got to do is show it.
Keep fighting, stay strong, even when it’s wrong,
it’s never the end, you can still re-write your song,

Stand tall, yes, I believe in you,
all you’ve got to do is believe in you too,
Yes, this is my story, own it and rewrite it,
sing it to yourself when you are alone at night,
I don’t care if you use my story, I really don’t mind,
as long as it helps you through your struggle and through your fight.

 Originally written by 14 year old child. Keeley Hart

http://www.iwillnevergiveup.com

Grace

 

The boy stood with back arched, head cocked back and hands clenched defiantly. “Go ahead, give it to me.”

The principal looked down at the young rebel. “How many times have you been here?” The child sneered rebelliously, “Apparently not enough.”

The principal gave the boy a strange look. “And you have been punished each time, have you not?”

“Yeah, I been punished, if that’s what you want to call it.” He threw out his small chest, “Go ahead — I can take whatever you dish out. I always have.”

“And no thought of your punishment enters your head the next time you decide to break the rules, does it?”

“Nope, I do whatever I want to do. Ain’t nothing you people gonna do to stop me, either.”

The principal looked over at the teacher who stood nearby. “What did he do this time?”

“Fighting. He took little Tommy and shoved his face into the sandbox.”

The principal turned to look at the boy, “Why? What did little Tommy do to you?”

“Nothin’. I didn’t like the way he was lookin’ at me, just like I don’t like the way you’re lookin’ at me! And if I thought I could do it, I’d shove your face into something.”

The teacher stiffened and started to rise, but a quick look from the principal stopped him. He contemplated the child for a moment and then quietly said, “Today, my young student, is the day you learn about grace.”

“Grace? Isn’t that what you old people say before you sit down to eat? I don’t need none of your stinkin’ grace.”

“Oh, but you do.” The principal studied the young man’s face and whispered, “Oh yes, you truly do…”

The boy continued to glare as the principal continued, “Grace, in its short definition is unmerited favor. You can not earn it — it is a gift and is always freely given. It means that you will not be getting what you so richly deserve.”

The boy looked puzzled. “You’re not gonna whip me? You just gonna let me walk?”

The principal looked down at the unyielding child. “Yes, I am going to let you walk.”

The boy studied the face of the principal, “No punishment at all? Even though I socked Tommy and shoved his face into the sandbox?”

“Oh, there has to be punishment. What you did was wrong and there are always consequences to our actions. There will be punishment. Grace is not an excuse for doing wrong.”

“I knew it,” sneered the boy as he held out his hands. “Let’s get on with it.”

The principal nodded toward the teacher. “Bring me the belt.” The teacher presented the belt to the principal. He carefully folded it in two and then handed it back to the teacher. He looked at the child and said, “I want you to count the blows.”

He slid out from behind his desk and walked over to stand directly in front of the young man. He gently reached out and folded the child’s outstretched, expectant hands together and then turned to face the teacher with his own hands outstretched. One quiet word came forth from his mouth. “Begin.”

The belt whipped down on the outstretched hands of the principal. Crack!

The young man jumped ten feet in the air. Shock registered across his face,

“One” he whispered.

Crack! “Two.” His voice raised an octave.

Crack! “Three…” He couldn’t believe this.

Crack! “Four.”
Big tears welled up in the eyes of the rebel.”OK, stop! That’s enough. Stop!”

Crack! came the belt down on the callused hands of the principal. Crack! The child flinched with each blow, tears beginning to stream down his face.

Crack! Crack! “No please”, the former rebel begged, “Stop, I did it, I’m the one who deserves it. Stop! Please. Stop…”

Still the blows came, Crack! Crack! One after another. Finally it was over.

The principal stood with sweat glistening across his forehead and beads trickling down his face. Slowly he knelt down. He studied the young man for a second and then his swollen hands reached out to cradle the face of the weeping child.

“Grace,” he said softly.

This is a picture of what Jesus did this for each and every one of us.

http://www.kittybirdmom.com

A story about Shaya

 

In Brooklyn, New York, Chush is a school that caters to educating disabled children. Some children remain in Chush for their entire school career, while others can be mainstreamed into conventional schools. At a Chush fund raising dinner, the father of a Chush child delivered a speech that would never be forgotten by all who attended.

After extolling the school and its dedicated staff, he cried out, “Where is the perfection in my son Shaya? Everything God does is done with perfection. But my child cannot understand things as other children do. My child cannot remember facts and figures as other children do.

Where is God’s perfection?”

The audience was shocked by the question, pained by the father’s anguish and stilled by the piercing query. “I believe,” the father answered, “that when God brings a child like this into the world, the perfection that he seeks is in the way people react to this child.”

He then told the following story about his son Shaya:

One afternoon Shaya and his father walked past a park where some boys Shaya knew were playing baseball. Shaya asked, “Do you think they will let me play?”

Shaya’s father knew that his son was not at all athletic and that most boys would not want him on their team. But Shaya’s father understood that if his son were chosen to play, it would give him a comfortable sense of belonging.

Shaya’s father approached one of the boys in the field and asked if Shaya could play. The boy looked around for guidance from his teammates. Getting none, he took matters into his own hands and said “We are losing by six runs and the game is in its eighth inning. I guess he can be on our team and we’ll try to put him up to bat in the ninth inning.”

Shaya’s father was ecstatic as Shaya smiled broadly. Shaya was told to put on a glove and go out to play short centre field. In the bottom of the eighth inning Shaya’s team scored a few runs, but were still behind by three. In the bottom of the ninth inning Shaya’s team scored again, and now with two outs and the bases loaded with the potential winning run on base, Shaya was scheduled to be up.

Would the team actually let Shaya bat at this juncture and give away their chance to win the game? Surprisingly, Shaya was given the bat. Everyone knew that it was all but impossible because Shaya didn’t even know how to hold the bat properly, let alone hit with it. However, as Shaya stepped up to the`plate, the pitcher moved a few steps to lob the ball in softly so Shaya should at least be able to make contact.

The first pitch came in and Shaya swung clumsily and missed. One of Shaya’s teammates came up to Shaya and together they held the bat and faced the pitcher waiting for the next pitch.

The pitcher again took a few steps forward to toss the ball softly toward Shaya. As the pitch came in, Shaya and his teammate swung the bat and together they hit a slow ground ball to the pitcher. The pitcher picked up the soft grounder and could easily have thrown the ball to the first baseman. Shaya would have been out and that would have ended the game. Instead, the pitcher took the ball and threw it on a high arch to right field, far beyond reach of the first baseman.

Everyone started yelling, “Shaya, run to first. Run to first.” Never in his life had Shaya run to first. He scampered down the baseline wide-eyed and startled. By the time he reached first base, the right fielder had the ball.

He could have thrown the ball to the second baseman who would tag out Shaya who was still running. But the right fielder understood what the pitcher’s intentions were, so he threw the ball high and far over the third baseman’s head. Everyone yelled, “Run to second, run to second.” Shaya ran towards second base as the runners ahead of him deliriously circled the bases towards home.

As Shaya reached second base, the opposing short stop ran to him, turned him in the direction of third base and shouted, “Run to third.”

As Shaya rounded third, the boys from both teams ran behind him screaming, “Shaya run home.” Shaya ran home, stepped on home plate and all 18 boys lifted him on their shoulders and made him the hero, as he had just hit a “grand slam” and won the game for his team.

“That day,” said the father softly with tears now rolling down his face, those 18 boys reached their level of God’s perfection.”

Swami Mitrananda

A touching story of Teddy Stoddard

 

There is a story many years ago of an elementary teacher. Her name was Mrs. Thompson. And as she stood in front of her 5th grade class on the very first day of school, she told the children a lie. Like most teachers, she looked at her students and said that she loved them all the same. But that was impossible, because there in the front row, slumped in his seat, was a little boy named Teddy Stoddard.

Mrs. Thompson had watched Teddy the year before and noticed that he didn’t play well with the other children, that his clothes were messy and that he constantly needed a bath. And Teddy could be unpleasant.

It got to the point where Mrs. Thompson would actually take delight in marking his papers with a broad red pen, making bold X’s and then putting a big F at the top of his papers.

At the school where Mrs. Thompson taught, she was required to review each child’s past records and she put Teddy’s off until last.

However, when she reviewed his file, she was in for a surprise.

Teddy’s first grade teacher wrote, “Teddy is a bright child with a ready laugh. He does his work neatly and has good manners…he is a joy to be around.”

His second grade teacher wrote, “Teddy is an excellent student, well-liked by his classmates, but he is troubled because his mother has a terminal illness and life at home must be a struggle.”

His third grade teacher wrote, “His mother’s death has been hard on him. He tries to do his best but his father doesn’t show much interest and his home life will soon affect him if some steps aren’t taken.”

Teddy’s fourth grade teacher wrote, “Teddy is withdrawn and doesn’t show much interest in school. He doesn’t have many friends and sometimes sleeps in class.”

By now, Mrs. Thompson realized the problem and she was ashamed of herself. She felt even worse when her students brought her Christmas presents, wrapped in beautiful ribbons and bright paper,except for Teddy’s.

His present was clumsily wrapped in the heavy, brown paper that he got from a grocery bag. Mrs. Thompson took pains to open it in the middle of the other presents. Some of the children started to laugh when she found a rhinestone bracelet with some of the stones missing and a bottle that was one quarter full of perfume.

But she stifled the children’s laughter when she exclaimed how pretty the bracelet was, putting it on, and dabbing some of the perfume on her wrist.

Teddy Stoddard stayed after school that day just long enough to say, “Mrs. Thompson, today you smelled just like my Mom used to.”

After the children left she cried for at least an hour. On that very day, she quit teaching reading, and writing, and arithmetic. Instead, she began to teach children. Mrs. Thompson paid particular attention to Teddy.

As she worked with him, his mind seemed to come alive The more she encouraged him, the faster he responded. By the end of the year, Teddy had become one of the smartest children in the class and, despite her lie that she would love all the children the same, Teddy became one of her “teacher’s pets.”

A year later, she found a note under her door, from Teddy, telling her that she was still the best teacher he ever had in his whole life.

Six years went by before she got another note from Teddy. He then wrote that he had finished high school, third in his class, and she was still the best teacher he ever had in his whole life.

Four years after that, she got another letter, saying that while things had been tough at times, he’d stayed in school, had stuck with it,and would soon graduate from college with the highest of honors. He assured Mrs. Thompson that she was still the best and favorite teacher he ever had in his whole life.

Then four more years passed and yet another letter came. This time he explained that after he got his bachelor’s degree, he decided to go a little further. The letter explained that she was still the best and favorite teacher he ever had. But now his name was a little longer. The letter was signed, Theodore F. Stoddard, M.D.

The story doesn’t end there. You see, there was yet another letter that spring. Teddy said he’d met this girl and was going to be married. He explained that his father had died a couple of years ago and he was wondering if Mrs. Thompson might agree to sit in the place at the wedding that was usually reserved for the mother of the groom.

Of course, Mrs. Thompson did. And guess what? She wore that bracelet, the one with several rhinestones missing. And she made sure she was wearing the perfume that Teddy remembered his mother wearing on their last Christmas together.

They hugged each other, and Dr. Stoddard whispered in Mrs. Thompson’s ear, “Thank you, Mrs. Thompson, for believing in me. Thank you so much for making me feel important and showing me that I could make a difference.”

Mrs. Thompson, with tears in her eyes, whispered back. She said, “Teddy, you have it all wrong. You were the one who taught me that I could make a difference. I didn’t know how to teach until I met you.”

http://www.divinecaroline.com