Thursday, November 16, 2017

Good? Bad? Who knows?

A long time ago a king was out hunting when he cut his finger. He summoned his doctor, who always accompanied him on the hunt, and the doctor put a bandage over the wound.

“Is it going to be all right?” asked the king.

“Good? Bad? Who knows?” replied the doctor, and they carried on hunting.

By the time they had returned to the palace, the wound had become infected, and so the king summoned his doctor again. The doctor cleaned the wound, carefully applied some ointment, and then bandaged it.

“Are you sure it’s going to be okay?” asked the king, becoming concerned.

“Good? Bad? Who knows?” replied the doctor again. The king became worried.

The king’s worry was confirmed when, in a few days, the finger was so badly infected that the doctor had to amputate it! The king was so furious with his incompetent doctor that he personally escorted him to the dungeon and threw him in a cell.

“Well, Doctor, how do you like it, being in jail?”

“Being in prison, Sire.. Good? Bad? Who knows?” replied the doctor with a shrug of his shoulders.

“You are insane as well as incompetent!” declared the king and departed.

A few weeks later, when the wound had healed, the king was out hunting again. Chasing an animal, he became separated from the others and ended up lost in the forest. Wandering in the woods, he was captured by the indigenous forest people. It was their holy day, and they had found a sacrifice for their jungle god! They tied the king to a large tree, and their priest began chanting and dancing as the forest people sharpened the sacrificial knife. The priest took the blade and was about to cut the king’s throat when he shouted, “Stop! This man has only nine fingers. He is not perfect enough to sacrifice to our god. Set him free.”

In a few days, the king found his way back to his palace and went straight to the dungeon to say thank you to the wise doctor.

“I thought you were stupid saying all this ‘Good? Bad? Who knows?’ nonsense. Now I know you were right. Losing my finger was good. It saved my life. But it was bad of me to lock you in jail. I’m sorry.”

“What do you mean, Sire? Had you not put me in jail, I would have been there with you on the hunt, and I would have been captured too. And I have all my ten fingers!”

-- Ajahn Brahm

Friday, November 10, 2017

Learn To Love Them

Are you ever frustrated with people you care about? Are you more frustrated because it seems as if they just won’t change?

A man tried everything he could think of to eradicate the weeds in his lawn. Finally, in desperation, he wrote to his local department of agriculture, asking advice and listing every method he had tried.

He received a reply back. It said, “We suggest you learn to love them!”

The same could be said about marriage and friendship. We may feel exasperated by the faults and idiosyncrasies of others. We believe the relationship would be perfect if only they would change that annoying habit or correct that irritating behavior.

So we embark on a campaign to “get rid of the weeds” – to get someone we care about to change. We may nag and cajole and plead and bribe. And in the end, we feel frustrated because they are still the same.

The truth is, we cannot, and should not, attempt to eradicate the “weeds” we find in others’ lives. We can never change others. They can change, but we can’t change them. The will to change must come from within themselves. Rather, our task is simply to learn to love them, weeds and all.

Isn’t this the way we want them to treat us? And besides, like a lovely garden, they become more attractive to us when we are not focused on the weeds. We might even begin to enjoy them so much that we remember what drew us to them in the first place.

-Steve Goodier (Life Support System)

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

The Sculptor’s Attitude

I woke up early today, excited over all I get to do before the clock strikes midnight. I have responsibilities to fulfill today. I am important. My job is to choose what kind of day I am going to have.

Today I can complain because the weather is rainy or I can be thankful that the grass is getting watered for free.

Today I can feel sad that I don't have more money or I can be glad that my finances encourage me to plan my purchases wisely and guide me away from waste.

Today I can grumble about my health or I can rejoice that I am alive.

Today I can lament over all that my parents didn't give me when I was growing up or I can feel grateful that they allowed me to be born.

Today I can cry because roses have thorns or I can celebrate that thorns have roses.

Today I can mourn my lack of friends or I can excitedly embark upon a quest to discover new relationships.

Today I can whine because I have to go to work or I can shout for joy because I have a job to do.

Today I can complain because I have to go to school or eagerly open my mind and fill it with rich new tidbits of knowledge.

Today I can murmur dejectedly because I have to do housework or I can feel honored because the Lord has provided shelter for my mind, body and soul.

Today stretches ahead of me, waiting to be shaped. And here I am, the sculptor who gets to do the shaping.

What today will be like is up to me. I get to choose what kind of day I will have!

What will you choose to do with Today?

Have a Great Day... unless you have other plans.

-- Author Unknown

Friday, October 6, 2017

The Little Things

As you might know, the head of a major company survived the tragedy of  '9/11' in New York because his son started kindergarten.

Another fellow was alive because it was his turn to bring donuts.

One woman was late because her alarm clock didn't go off in time.

One was late because of being stuck on the NJ Turnpike because of an auto accident.

One of them missed his bus.

One spilled food on her clothes and had to take time to change.

One's car wouldn't start.

One went back to answer the telephone.

One had a child that dawdled and didn't get ready as soon as he should have.

One couldn't get a taxi.

The one that struck me was the man who put on a new pair of shoes that morning, took the various means to get to work but before he got there, he developed a blister on his foot. He stopped at a drugstore to buy a Band-Aid. That is why he is alive today.

Now when I am stuck in traffic..
miss an elevator..
turn back to answer a ringing telephone..
all the little things that annoy me..
I think to myself..
this is exactly where God wants me to be at this very moment.

The next time your morning seems to be going wrong,
the children are slow getting dressed,
you can't seem to find the car keys,
you hit every traffic light..
don't get mad or frustrated;
God is at work watching over you.

May God continue to bless you with all those annoying little things - and may you remember and appreciate their possible purpose.

-- Author Unknown

Friday, September 29, 2017

No Wrong Time to Say the Right Thing

A cartoon depicts a woman shaking hands with her clergyman as she leaves the church. The caption says, "Thank you for the sermon. It was like water to a drowning man." Some compliments are better left unsaid.

Isn't it true that words carry with them immense power? Power to build up and power to tear down. Such was the case with the words of Mandy (not her real name), a woman who learned that there is no wrong time to say the right thing.

It was a cold, rainy day in March. Across the room in the retail store where Mandy worked, sat Laura, a woman about Mandy's age. Other workers did not like Laura; they thought of her as snobbish and aloof. And Mandy agreed.

But sweeping the bias from her eyes, she made up her mind to say something kind to Laura. Finally, she managed, "Do you know, Laura, that I've worked in this room with you for several years. And whenever I glance up I see your head silhouetted against the window there behind you. I think you have the prettiest profile and hair that I have ever seen on anybody." Her words were not insincere flattery. She meant it.

Laura looked up and began to cry. "That's the first kind word anybody has ever said to me in all the time I've worked here," she said.

Mandy discovered that Laura's aloofness was not due to snobbishness, but shyness. The two became friends. Other workers soon began to include Laura in their activities, and she blossomed like a flower that, for the first time, found sunlight. The right words, spoken in kindness, made all the difference.

Words carry the potential to tear down or to build up. But when they are both sincere and kind, they are instruments that wield great power. Never underestimate the potential and power of your words.

There is no wrong time to say the right thing. And there is no better time than now.

-Steve Goodier (Life Support System)