Thursday, January 18, 2018

Sack Lunches

I put my carry-on in the luggage compartment and sat down in my assigned seat.  It was going to be a long flight. 'I'm glad I have a good book to read.  Perhaps I will get a short nap,' I thought.

Just before take-off, a line of soldiers came down the aisle and filled all the vacant seats, totally surrounding me.  I decided to start a conversation.  "Where are you headed?" I asked the soldier seated nearest to me.

"Great Lakes Air Base.  We'll be there for two weeks for special training, and then we're being deployed to Iraq," he answered.

After flying for about an hour, an announcement was made that sack lunches were available for five dollars.  It would be several hours before we reached Chicago, and I quickly decided a lunch would help pass the time.

As I reached for my wallet, I overheard the soldier ask his buddy if he planned to buy lunch.  "No, that seems like a lot of money for just a sack lunch.  Probably wouldn't be worth five bucks.  I'll wait till we get to Chicago."

His friend agreed.

I looked around at the other soldiers.  None were buying lunch.  I walked to the back of the plane and handed the flight attendant a fifty dollar bill.  "Take a lunch to all those soldiers."  She grabbed my arms and squeezed tightly.  Her eyes wet with tears, she thanked me.  "My son was a soldier in Iraq... it's almost like you are doing it for him."

Picking up ten sacks, she headed up the aisle to where the soldiers were seated.  She stopped at my seat and asked, "Which do you like best - beef or chicken?" "Chicken," I replied, wondering why she asked.

She turned and went to the front of plane, returning  a minute later with a dinner plate from first class. "This is your thanks."

After we finished eating, I went again to the back of the plane, heading for the rest room.  A man stopped me.

"I saw what you did.  I want to be part of it.  Here, take this."  He handed me twenty-five dollars.

Soon after I returned to my seat, I saw the Flight Captain coming down the aisle, looking at the aisle numbers as he walked, I hoped he was not looking for me, but noticed he was looking at the numbers only on my side of the plane. When he got to my row he stopped, smiled, held out his hand, and said, "I want to shake your hand."

Quickly unfastening my seat belt I stood and took the Captain's hand.  With a booming voice he said, "I was a soldier and I was a military pilot.  Once, someone bought me a lunch.  It was an act of kindness I never forgot."  I was embarrassed when applause was heard from all of the passengers.

Later I walked to the front of the plane so I could stretch my legs.  A man who was seated about six rows in front of me reached out his hand, wanting to shake mine.  He left another twenty-five dollars in my palm.

When we landed in Chicago, I gathered my belongings and started to deplane.  Waiting just inside the airplane door was a man who stopped me, put something in my shirt pocket, turned, and walked away without saying a word.  Another twenty-five dollars!

Upon entering the terminal, I saw the soldiers gathering for their trip to the base.  I walked over to them and handed them seventy-five dollars.  "It will take you some time to reach the base. It will be about time for a sandwich.  God Bless You."

Ten young men left that flight feeling the love and respect of their fellow travelers.  As I walked briskly to my car, I whispered a prayer for their safe return.  These soldiers were giving their all for our country.  I could only give them a couple of meals. It seemed so little.


-- Author Unknown

Thursday, January 11, 2018

The Ice Cream Prayer

Last week I took my children to a restaurant. My six-year-old son asked if he could say grace.

As we bowed our heads he said, "God is good. God is great. Thank you for the food, and I would even thank you more if Mom gets us ice cream for dessert. And Liberty and justice for all! Amen!"

Along with the laughter from the other customers nearby I heard a woman remark, "That's what's wrong with this country. Kids today don't even know how to pray. Asking God for ice cream! Why, I never!"

Hearing this, my son burst into tears and asked me, "Did I do it wrong? Is God mad at me?"

As I held him and assured him that he had done a terrific job and God was certainly not mad at him, an elderly gentleman approached the table.

He winked at my son and said, "I happen to know that God thought that was a great prayer."

"Really?" my son asked.

"Cross my heart." Then in a theatrical whisper he added (indicating the woman whose remark had started this whole thing), "Too bad she never asks God for ice cream. A little ice cream is good for the soul sometimes."

Naturally, I bought my kids ice cream at the end of the meal. My son stared at his for a moment and then did something I will remember the rest of my life.

He picked up his sundae and without a word walked over and placed it in front of the woman.

With a big smile he told her, "Here, this is for you. Ice cream is good for the soul sometimes, and my soul is good already."


-- Author Unknown


Friday, December 29, 2017

Believe What You Feel

Source: “Tuesdays With Morrie” by Mitch Albom

On this day, Morrie says that he has an exercise for us to try. We are to stand, facing away from our classmates, and fall backward, relying on another student to catch us. Most of us are uncomfortable with this, and we cannot let go for more than a few inches before stopping ourselves. We laugh in embarrassment.

Finally, one student, a thin, quiet, dark-haired girl whom I notice almost always wears bulky, white fisherman sweaters, crosses her arms over her chest, closes her eyes, leans back, and does not flinch, like one of those Lipton tea commercials where the model splashes into the pool.

For a moment, I am sure she is going to thump on the floor. At the last instant, her assigned partner grabs her head and shoulders and yanks her up harshly.

“Whoa!” several students yell. Some clap. Morrie finally smiles. “You see”, he says to the girl, “you closed your eyes. That was the difference. Sometimes you cannot believe what you see. You have to believe what you feel. And if you are ever going to have other people trust you, you must feel that you can trust them too – even when you're in the dark. Even when you're falling."


Friday, December 15, 2017

Hole in the Boat

A man was asked to paint a boat.

He brought with him paint and brushes and began to paint the boat a bright red, as the owner asked him.

While painting, he noticed that there was a small hole in the hull, and quietly repaired it.

When finished painting, he received his money and left.

The next day, the owner of the boat came to the painter and presented him with a nice cheque, much higher than the payment for painting.

The painter was surprised and said "You've already paid me for painting the boat Sir!" 

"But this is not for the paint job. It's for having repaired the hole in the boat."

"Ah! But it was such a small service.. certainly it's not worth paying me such a high amount for something so insignificant."

"My dear friend, you do not understand. Let me tell you what happened.

When I asked you to paint the boat, I forgot to mention about the hole.

When the boat dried, my kids took the boat and went on a fishing trip.

They did not know that there was a hole. I was not at home at that time.

When I returned and noticed they had taken the boat, I was desperate because I remembered that the boat had a hole.

Imagine my relief and joy when I saw them returning from fishing.

Then, I examined the boat and found that you had repaired the hole! You see, now, what you did? You saved the life of my children! I do not have enough money to pay your 'small' good deed."

So, no matter who, when or how. Just continue to help, sustain, wipe tears, listen attentively and carefully repair all the 'leaks' you find, because you never know when one is in need of us or when God holds a pleasant surprise for us to be helpful and important to someone.

You may have repaired numerous 'boat holes' along the way.. of several people without realizing how many lives you've saved.

So Keep up the Good work no matter how small it may seem to be.

I want to thank Everyone who repaired my boat this year in every way like good wishes, thoughts, love, care & prayers, it made a big difference in my life. 

Thank you! 🙏🙏🙏

Thursday, December 7, 2017

I’m Slowly Learning that Everything will eventually Make Sense

I’m slowly learning that when your tears dry, your eyes will finally see the truth. Your eyes will finally uncover the truth you were so blind to see or believe. They will show you what really matters. Why things happened the way they did and why we sometimes we need to cry to finally wash away all the lies we told ourselves.

I’m slowly learning that when the pain goes away, you will understand the lesson. You’ll understand the purpose. You’ll understand why you had to go through things the hard way or why you were the chosen one. You’ll eventually use your pain wisely. You’ll eventually understand that your pain made you a better person. Your pain will be a blessing in disguise.

I’m slowly learning that if you have faith in God, things will make more sense. You won’t be so hung up on your mistakes or your failures or your exes. You won’t get so attached to timing and plans and goals. You won’t be so distraught over closed doors or ending or goodbyes. You’ll simply learn how to roll with the punches and how to live without expecting everything to go your way.

I’m slowly learning that things that didn’t work out will eventually work out. In another year, with another person, in a different city, in an unexpected way. Nothing remains the same forever. You won’t always be stuck in a rut. You won’t always feel lost. You won’t always be lonely. You won’t always feel like you don’t belong. There’s a time for everything and when your time comes, you’ll have your moment. You’ll be granted your wishes. You will be happy.

I’m slowly learning that life is not supposed to be easy and it’s not always supposed to add up but somehow it works out. Somehow it pieces itself back together after falling apart. Somehow it makes sense after driving you completely insane. Somehow it brings you calm and serenity after showering you with so many storms.


-- Rania Naim