BUSYNESS IN LIFE
"Come apart and rest a while." -- Jesus (Mark 6:31)
According to tradition, the apostle John had a hobby raising pigeons. On one occasion a fellow church leader who was returning from a hunting trip stopped by John's place and found him playing with one of his birds and gently corrected him for wasting his time.
John, noticing his friend's hunting bow, said that the string was loose whereupon the man replied, "Yes, I always loosen the string of my bow when it's not in use. If it stayed tight, it would lose its resilience and fail me in the hunt."
"And I am now relaxing the bow of my mind," said John, "so that I may be better able to shoot the arrows of divine truth."
Work is important. We need to eat and we need to take care of our family, but over-busyness can be a curse. Without sufficient rest and relaxation we will eventually lose our health and not be able to work efficiently. And without taking time to nurture and be nurtured in loving relationships, life becomes empty and meaningless.
We need to follow the advice of Jesus when he said to his disciples, "Come apart and rest a while." Or as somebody else put it, "Come and rest a while before you come apart."
~ Author Unknown ~
Think, Believe, Dream and Dare
An eight-year-old boy approached an old man in front of a wishing well, looked up into his eyes, and asked: "I understand you're a very wise man. I'd like to know the secret of life."
The old man looked down at the youngster and replied: "I've thought a lot in my lifetime, and the secret can be summed up in four words.
The first is think. Think about the values you wish to live your life by.
The second is believe. Believe in yourself based on the thinking you've done about the values you're going to live your life by.
The third is dream. Dream about the things that can be, based on your belief in yourself and the values you're going to live by.
The last is dare. Dare to make your dreams become reality, based on your belief in yourself and your values."
And with that, Walter E. Disney said to the little boy, "Think, Believe, Dream, and Dare."
~ Author Unknown ~
Magic Mustard Seeds
There is an old Chinese tale about a woman whose only son died. In her grief, she went to the holy man and said, "What prayers, what magical incantations do you have to bring my son back to life?"
Instead of sending her away or reasoning with her, he said to her, "Fetch me a mustard seed from a home that has never known sorrow. We will use it to drive the sorrow out of your life." The woman went off at once in search of that magical mustard seed.
She came first to a splendid mansion, knocked at the door, and said, "I am looking for a home that has never known sorrow. Is this such a place? It is very important to me."
They told her, "You've certainly come to the wrong place," and began to describe all the tragic things that recently had befallen them.
The woman said to herself, "Who is better able to help these poor, unfortunate people that I, who have had misfortune of my my own?" She stayed to comfort them, then went on in search of a home that had never known sorrow. But wherever she turned, in hovels and in other places, she found one tale after another of sadness and misfortune. She became so involved in ministering to other people's grief that ultimately she forgot about her quest for the magical mustard seed, never realizing that it had, in fact, driven the sorrow out of her life.
~ Brian Cavanaugh ~
Today I will delete from my Diary two days: yesterday and tomorrow.
Yesterday was to learn and tomorrow will be the consequence of what I can do today.
Today I will face life with the conviction that this day will not ever return.
Today is the last opportunity I have to live intensely, as no one can assure me that I will see tomorrow's sunrise.
Today I will be brave enough not to let any opportunity pass me by, my only alternative is to succeed.
Today I will invest my most valuable resource:my time, in the most trascendental work: my life; I will spend each minute passionately to make of today a different and unique day in my life.
Today I will defy every obstacle that appears on my way trusting I will succeed.
Today I will resist pessimism and will conquer the world with a smile, with the positive attitude of expecting always the best.
Today I will make of every ordinary task a sublime expression.
Today I will take the time to be happy and will leave my footprints and my presence in the hearts of others.
Today, I invite you to begin a new season where we can dream that everything we undertake is possible and we fulfil it, with joy and dignity.
~ Author Unknown
Dear readers, I'll keep posting our daily inspirations. Because we are under a severe hurricane warning, postings might be disrupted.
ALL GOOD THINGS
He was in the first third grade class I taught at Saint Mary's School in Morris, Minn. All 34 of my students were dear to me, but Mark Eklund was one in a million. Very neat in appearance, but had that happy-to-be-alive attitude that made even his occasional mischievousness delightful.
Mark talked incessantly. I had to remind him again and again that talking without permission was not acceptable. What impressed me so much, though, was his sincere response every time I had to correct him for misbehaving - "Thank you for correcting me, Sister!"
I didn't know what to make of it at first, but before long I became accustomed to hearing it many times a day.
One morning my patience was growing thin when Mark talked once too often, and then I made a novice-teacher's mistake. I looked at Mark and said, "If you say one more word, I am going to tape your mouth shut!"
It wasn't ten seconds later when Chuck blurted out, "Mark is talking again." I hadn't asked any of the students to help me watch Mark, but since I had stated the punishment in front of the class, I had to act on it.
I remember the scene as if it had occurred this morning. I walked to my desk, very deliberately opened by drawer and took out a roll of masking tape. Without saying a word, I proceeded to Mark's desk, tore off two pieces of tape and made a big X with them over his mouth. I then returned to the front of the room.
As I glanced at Mark to see how he was doing, he winked at me. That did it!! I started laughing. The class cheered as I walked back to Mark's desk, removed the tape, and shrugged my shoulders. His first words were, "Thank you for correcting me, Sister."
At the end of the year, I was asked to teach junior-high math. The years flew by, and before I knew it Mark was in my classroom again. He was more handsome than ever and just as polite. Since he had to listen carefully to my instruction in the "new math," he did not talk as much in ninth grade as he had in third.
One Friday, things just didn't feel right. We had worked hard on a new concept all week, and I sensed that the students were frowning, frustrated with themselves - and edgy with one another. I had to stop this crankiness before it got out of hand. So I asked them to list the names of the other students in the room on two sheets of paper, leaving a space between each name.
Then I told them to think of the nicest thing they could say about each of their classmates and write it down. It took the remainder of the class period to finish their assignment, and as the students left the room, each one handed me the papers. Charlie smiled. Mark said, "Thank you for teaching me, Sister. Have a good weekend."
That Saturday, I wrote down the name of each student on a separate sheet of paper, and I listed what everyone else had said about that individual. On Monday I gave each student his or her list. Before long, the entire class was smiling. "Really?" I heard whispered, "I never knew that meant anything to anyone!" "I didn't know others liked me so much."
No one ever mentioned those papers in class again. I never knew if they discussed them after class or with their parents, but it didn't matter. The exercise had accomplished its purpose. The students were happy with themselves and one another again. That group of students moved on.
Several years later, after I returned from vacation, my parents met me at the airport. As we were driving home, Mother asked me the usual questions about the trip the weather, my experiences in general. There was a lull in the conversation. Mother gave Dad a side-ways glance and simply said, "Dad?" My father cleared his throat as he usually did before something important.
"The Eklunds called last night," he began. "Really?" I said. "I haven't heard from them in years. I wonder how Mark is."
Dad responded quietly. "Mark was killed in Vietnam," he said. "The funeral is tomorrow, and his parents would like it if you could attend."
To this day I can still point to the exact spot on I-494 where Dad told me about Mark. I had never seen a serviceman in a military coffin before. Mark looked so handsome, so mature. All I could think at that moment was, Mark I would give all the masking tape in the world if only you would talk to me.
The church was packed with Mark's friends. Chuck's sister sang "The Battle Hymn of the Republic." Why did it have to rain on the day of the funeral? It was difficult enough at the graveside. The pastor said the usual prayers, and the bugler played taps. One by one those who loved Mark took a last walk by the coffin and sprinkled it with holy water. I was the last one to bless the coffin. As I stood there, one of the soldiers who acted as pallbearer came up to me.
"Were you Mark's math teacher?" he asked. I nodded as I continued to stare at the coffin. "Mark talked about you a lot," he said.
After the funeral, most of Mark's former classmates headed to Chuck's farmhouse for lunch. Mark's mother and father were there, obviously waiting for me. "We want to show you something," his father said, taking a wallet out of his pocket. "They found this on Mark when he was killed. We thought you might recognize it."
Opening the billfold, he carefully removed two worn pieces of notebook paper that had obviously been taped, folded and refolded many times. I knew without looking that the papers were the ones on which I had listed all the good things each of Mark's classmates had said about him. "Thank you so much for doing that," Mark's mother said. "As you can see, Mark treasured it."
Mark's classmates started to gather around us. Charlie smiled rather sheepishly and said, "I still have my list. It's in the top drawer of my desk at home." Chuck's wife said, "Chuck asked me to put his in our wedding album."
"I have mine too," Marilyn said. "It's in my diary." Then Vicki, another classmate, reached into her pocketbook, took out her wallet and showed her worn and frazzled list to the group. "I carry this with me at all times," Vicki said without batting an eyelash. "I think we all saved our lists." That's when I finally sat down and cried. I cried for Mark and for all his friends who would never see him again.
~Helen P. Mrosla