Friday, July 13, 2018

Have You Lost the Dead Part Yet?

I am discovering that many people want, above all else, to live life fully. Or at least to get more out of life. But sometimes the past gets in the way. Unhealed hurts and unnecessary guilt too often suck the life out of people.

Here is a great visual. A schoolteacher tells about when he entered his room a few minutes early and noticed a mealworm laboriously crawling along the floor... It had somehow been injured. The back part of the worm was dead and dried up, but still attached to the front, living part by just a thin thread.

As the teacher studied the strange sight of a poor worm pulling its dead half across the floor, a little girl ran in and noticed it there. Picking it up, she said, “Oh, Oscar, when are you going to lose that dead part so you can really live?”

She could be asking that question to any of us. For you, too, may be dragging around something that you should have left behind long ago. Maybe anger over a past incident. Or some long-ago hurt of betrayal. Maybe you’re dragging around feelings of guilt brought about by poor decisions you’ve lived with for so long you hardly know how to feel without them.

What an important question for all of us - when are we going to lose that dead part so we can really live? When are we going to let the past BE the past? All the memories of the past that steal our peace today should not be allowed in the present. If you’ve been dragging around something that is dead, it’s time to choose life. 

Let the little boy’s question be your question: “When are you going to lose the dead part so you can really live?” Answering that question today may be the most important thing you have done in a long time.


-Steve Goodier (Life Support System)

Friday, July 6, 2018

Nestle, not Wrestle!

Last year I watched Billy Graham being interviewed by Oprah Winfrey on television. Oprah told him that in her childhood home, she use to watch him preach on a little black and white TV while sitting on a linoleum floor.

She went on to the tell viewers that, in his lifetime, Billy has preached to twenty-million people around the world, not to mention the countless numbers who have heard him whenever his crusades are broadcast. When she asked if he got nervous before facing a crowd, Billy replied humbly, "No, I don't get nervous before crowds, but I did today before I was going to meet with you."

Oprah's show is broadcast to twenty-million people every day. She is comfortable with famous stars and celebrities but seemed in awe of Dr. Billy Graham.

When the interview ended, she told the audience, "You don't often see this on my show, but we're going to pray." Then she asked Billy to close in prayer. The camera panned the studio audience as they bowed their heads and closed their eyes just like in one of his crusades.

Oprah sang the first line from the song that is his hallmark "Just as I am, without a plea," misreading the line and singing off'-key, but her voice was full of emotion and almost cracked.

When Billy stood up after the show, instead of hugging her guest, Oprah's usual custom, she went over and just nestled against him. Billy wrapped his arm around her and pulled her under his shoulder. She stood in his fatherly embrace with a look of sheer contentment.

I once read the book "Nestle, Don't Wrestle" by Corrie Ten Boom. The power of nestling was evident on the TV screen that day. Billy Graham was not the least bit condemning, distant, or hesitant to embrace a public personality who may not fit the evangelistic mold. His grace and courage are sometimes stunning.

In an interview with Hugh Downs, on the 20/20 program, the subject turned to homosexuality. Hugh looked directly at Billy and said, "If you had a homosexual child, would you love him?" Billy didn't miss a beat. He replied with sincerity and gentleness, "Why, I would love that one even more."

The title of Billy's autobiography, "Just As I Am," says it all. His life goes before him speaking as eloquently as that charming southern drawl for which he is known.

If, when I am eighty years old, my autobiography were to be titled "Just As I Am," I wonder how I would live now? Do I have the courage to be me? I'll never be a Billy Graham, the elegant man who draws people to the Lord through a simple one-point message, but I hope to be a person who is real and compassionate and who might draw people to nestle within God's embrace.

Do you make it a point to speak to a visitor or person who shows up alone at church, buy a hamburger for a homeless man, call your mother on Sunday afternoons, pick daisies with a little girl, or take a fatherless boy to a baseball game?

Did anyone ever tell you how beautiful you look when you're looking for what's beautiful in someone else?

Billy complimented Oprah when asked what he was most thankful for; he said, "Salvation given to us in Jesus Christ" then added, "and the way you have made people all over this country aware of the power of being grateful."

When asked his secret of love, being married fifty-four years to the same person, he said, "Ruth and I are happily incompatible."

How unexpected. We would all live more comfortably with everybody around us if we would find the strength in being grateful and happily incompatible.

Let's take the things that set us apart, that make us different, that cause us to disagree, and make them an occasion to compliment each other and be thankful for each other. Let us be big enough to be smaller than our neighbor, spouse, friends, and strangers.

Every day, may we "Nestle, not Wrestle!"

-- Author Unknown

Friday, June 29, 2018

Miracle of a Brother's Song

Like any good mother, when Karen found out that another baby was on the way, she did what she could to help her 3-year-old son, Michael, prepare for a new sibling. They found out that the new baby was going be a girl, and day after day, night after night, Michael sang to his s sister in Mommy's tummy. He was building a bond of love with his little sister before he even met her.

The pregnancy progressed normally for Karen, an active member of the the Creek United Methodist Church in Morristown, Tennessee. In time, the labor pains came. Soon it was every five minutes, every three, every minute. But serious complications arose during delivery and Karen found herself in hours of labor. Would a C-section be required?

Finally, after a long struggle, Michael's little sister was born. But she was in very serious condition. With a siren howling in the night, the ambulance rushed the infant to the neonatal intensive care unit at St. Mary's Hospital, Knoxville, Tennessee.

The days inched by. The little girl got worse. The pediatrician had to tell the parents there is very little hope. Be prepared for the worst. Karen and her husband contacted a local cemetery about a burial plot. They had fixed up a special room in their house for t heir new baby they found themselves having to plan for a funeral. Michael, however, kept begging his parents to let him see his sister.

"I want to sing to her," he kept saying. Week two in intensive care looked as if a funeral would come before the week was over. Michael kept nagging about singing to his sister, but kids are never allowed in Intensive Care. Karen decided to take Michael whether they liked it or not. If he didn't see his sister right then, he may never see her alive. She dressed him in an oversized scrub suit and marched him into ICU. He looked like a walking laundry basket. The head nurse recognized him as a child and bellowed, " Get that kid out of here now. No children are allowed."

The mother rose up strong in Karen, and the usually mild-mannered lady glared steel-eyed right into the head nurse's face, her lips a firm line. He is not leaving until he sings to his sister" she stated.

Then Karen towed Michael to his sister's bedside. He gazed at the tiny infant losing the battle to live. After a moment, he began tossing. In the pure-hearted voice of a 3-year-old, Michael sang: "You are my sunshine, my only sunshine, you make me happy when skies are gray." Instantly the baby girl seemed to respond. The pulse rate began to calm down and become steady.

"Keep on singing, Michael," encouraged Karen with tears in her eyes. "You never know, dear, how much I love you, please don't take my sunshine away. "As Michael sang to his sister, the baby's ragged, strained breathing became as smooth as a kitten's purr. "Keep on singing, sweetheart."

"The other night, dear, as I lay sleeping, I dreamed I held you in my arms". Michael's little sister began to relax as rest, healing rest, seemed to sweep over her. "Keep singing, Michael." Tears had now conquered the face of the bossy head nurse. Karen glowed. "You are my sunshine, my only sunshine. Please don't take my sunshine away.."

The next, day.. the very next day.. the little girl was well enough to go home. Woman's Day Magazine called it The Miracle of a Brother's Song. The medical staff just called it a miracle. Karen called it a miracle of God's love.

NEVER GIVE UP ON THE PEOPLE YOU LOVE.
LOVE IS SO INCREDIBLY POWERFUL.

Life is good. Have Wonderful Day!


-- Author Unknown


Friday, June 22, 2018

Paying Attention

A funny story circulated recently about Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of the fictional detective Sherlock Holmes. Doyle evidently told of a time when he hailed a taxi in Paris. Before he could utter a word, the driver turned to him and asked, “Where can I take you, Mr. Doyle?”

Doyle was flabbergasted. He asked the driver if he had ever seen him before.

“No, sir,” the driver responded, “I have never seen you before.” Then he explained: “This morning’s paper had a story about you being on vacation in Marseilles. This is the taxi stand where people who return from Marseilles always arrive. Your skin color tells me you have been on vacation. The ink spot on your right index finger suggests to me that you are a writer. Your clothing is very English, and not French. Adding up all those pieces of information, I deduced that you are Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.”

“This is truly amazing!” the writer exclaimed. “You are a real-life counterpart to my fictional creation, Sherlock Holmes!”

“There is one other thing,” the driver said.

“What is that?”

“Your name is on the front of your suitcase.”

Perhaps the driver was no master detective, but he was observant. He paid attention, and paying attention is an important part of living fully -- if we pay attention to the right things.

Speaker Alan Loy McGinnis tells of a New York City sculptor named Louise. She lived in one of the most dilapidated neighborhoods of the city. But, by paying attention to her surroundings, she found endless beauty and inspiration. She marveled at the elegance in the varying patterns of the sun and the moon reflected on tenement windows. In an object as ordinary as a chair she could see something extraordinary. “The chair isn’t so hot,” she once pointed out, “but look at its shadow.” By paying attention, she was able to see what others might miss.

Paying attention to the moments and to ordinary things of life, as much as possible, is a way to happiness. Like BrenĂ© Brown says, “I don't have to chase extraordinary moments to find happiness - it's right in front of me if I'm paying attention and practicing gratitude.” What do you think you might actually see and appreciate if you were to look carefully?

·       I think I might see things or people in a new way. Too often I look straight through them and take them for granted.
·       I think that, if I were to pay closer attention, I may better notice the abundance in my life instead of wishing for what I don’t have.
·       If I look carefully, I think I just might see how beautiful and exquisite my life really is instead of thinking someone else has it better.

I don’t have to chase extraordinary moments to find happiness. I may only have to pay attention to the right things and happiness will find me.


-Steve Goodier (Life Support System)

Friday, May 18, 2018

May You Be Known By Your Love

Henry Drummond has said, “The moments when you have really lived are the moments when you have done things in the spirit of love.

Here is a story (possibly apocryphal, but powerful nevertheless) about a man who acted in the spirit of love and about what he consequently learned.

Many years ago an old man stood on a Virginia riverbank. He was waiting to cross the river and, since it was bitterly cold and there were no bridges, he was hoping to get a ride across on horseback. After a lengthy wait he spotted a group of horsemen approaching. He let the first one pass, then the second, third, fourth and fifth. One rider remained. As he drew abreast, the old man looked him in the eye and said, “Sir, would you give me a ride across the river?”

The rider immediately replied, “Certainly.” Once across the river, the old man slid to the ground. “Sir,” the rider said before leaving. “I could not help but notice that you permitted all the other men to pass without asking for a ride. Then, when I drew abreast, you immediately asked me to carry you across. I am curious as to why you didn’t ask them and you did ask me.”

The old man quietly responded, “I looked into their eyes and could see no love and knew in my own heart it would be useless to ask for a ride. But when I looked into your eyes, I saw compassion, love and the willingness to help. I knew you would be glad to give me a ride across the river.”

The rider was touched. “I’m grateful for what you are saying,” he said. “I appreciate it very much.” With that, Thomas Jefferson turned and rode off to the White House.

It is often said that our eyes are the windows to our souls. If that is true, what is it that our eyes show about us? Or let me ask it a different way: if you had been the last rider, would the old man have asked you for a ride?

A good question. For it is said that others will know us by our love. Some will see it in the things we do and some in the things we say. And a few perceptive souls, like the old man in the story, may catch a glimmer of a loving and generous spirit in the expression of kind eyes.

May you be easily recognized by your love.



-Steve Goodier (Life Support System)