There are many, many causes and circumstances throughout a person’s life that may make an individual fearful and afraid of the future or a situation that they might be presently experiencing and can cause a great deal of hardship and turmoil. Some of the leading causes of anxiety and distress in today’s world are things such as stresses in school, work, relationships, financial/money, the death of a loved one, a serious medical illness, drugs…the list goes on and on.
It is during these times, that people may begin to feel isolated, lonely, and hopeless. Friends, family, and other acquaintances may seem a million miles away and it can appear like no one is around to help.
Well, I have great news for you!!! Today, I am going to share with you an old American Indian legend regarding the Cherokee Indians and their young boy’s “rite of passage” into manhood. It is my hope that this story will supply you with a positive sense of comfort and reassurance when you are experiencing the “valleys and shadows” of life.
At the time the ritual begins, a father takes his young son into the forest, blindfolds him and leaves him alone. The boy is required to sit on a stump the entire night and not remove his blindfold until he sees the dawns first rays of sunlight shine through it. Once he survives the night, he is a MAN.
The boy is not allowed to tell any of the other boys in his village of this experience because each male must experience and come into manhood on his own. Naturally, the boy is terrified and scared to death. He can hear all kinds of noises…some are familiar, but many are strange and scary. There is no question that wild animals are all around him…or maybe even another human that may be wanting to cause him harm!
The wind blows the grass and the earth and shakes his stump…but the boy sits quietly and stoically, never getting up or removing his blindfold. This is the only way that he can become a man!
Finally, what seems like an eternity, the terrible night is over. Dawn’s first rays of sunlight appear, and the boy now takes off his blindfold. It is then that he discovers his father sitting on a stump next to him. He had been watching his son the entire night, protecting him from harm.
You see folks, we, too, are never alone…even when we don’t know it, God is always with and watching over us…sitting on the stump next to us!
A mile is 5.280 feet long. The distance between New York City and London, England is approximately 3,500 miles, New York City to Hong Kong around 8,000 miles. If you took a trip around the globe, you would travel almost 25,000 miles! Yet, this distance is still not the farthest in the sense of importance to an individual and what they do with the life they are given.
What is the greatest, most important distance in the world? It was once said, that the greatest distance in the world is an astounding 18 inches…the distance from a person’s heart to their head. People can have all the knowledge about a particular subject matter in their head and be as smart as the wisest individuals who walk the earth but unless they LIVE it and USE their abilities, it will mean nothing.
Here is a story to illustrate what I am trying to say:
One morning a man was sitting at the breakfast table intently reading the morning paper when his wife came up to him and started to ask him questions about their plans for the upcoming day. The man just sat there, slightly nodding his head and showed no other reactions. Despite numerous attempts to get a conversation with her husband started…he was just too busy reading his paper.
Then the lady had an idea to try and break her husband’s trance from his paper. She said to him in a calm voice, “Honey, there a huge, hairy spider crawling up your sleeve.” The man just sat there, nodded slightly, and continued to read the paper never even giving her a glance. She tried the same tact a few other times…again, to no avail. Suddenly she screamed, “HONEY! THERE’S A HUGE, HAIRY SPIDER CRAWLING UP YOUR SLEEVE!” Her husband screamed, jumped up from his seat, threw down his newspaper, and started making moves that a Ninja would be proud of!
You see, the man had HEARD his wife but he didn’t LISTEN. He knew that there was a spider crawling up his arm but he didn’t do anything about it because he was TOO BUSY doing something else. It wasn’t until he took what he KNEW and put it into ACTION that did anything about combating the evil creature.
Many people are like that man who was reading the newspaper. They hear what is going on and KNOW what to do but without putting their knowledge into action, they are no different than anyone else.
One of my favorite slogans in athletics is also so very true in a person’s everyday life: “The difference between an ordinary person and an extraordinary individual, is that little EXTRA.” There are an untold number of people that have great ideas, thoughts, inventions, solutions to the world’s problems, etc., and do actually DO anything about them. They do ACT on their THOUGHTS. A person may have all of the book knowledge of something but if they never actually use it…it is worthless. An individual may know how to build a house, where to place the lumber, the plumbing, the electrical systems, the foundation, etc., but if that person never goes out and physically builds a house…what good is having that knowledge?
So, I ask you today…are you a THINKER or a DOER? How well are you conquering the greatest distance in the world?
It seems to me, generally speaking, that people are becoming increasingly more uneasy, drab, and miserable. Negativity, pessimism, and a general malaise pervade today’s society. Wars, rumors of wars, terrorism, harmful and destructive banter, violence, riots, race bating, etc., have basically resulted in air of melancholy throughout the land. Its negative influence is apparent just about wherever you go in today’s world.
So, what you do? Is there anything that we can do to improve this situation…Maybe in our own small way? It has been said, that for every one negative thing that a person says to another individual, that person should then say seven positive things to offset that negative word.
Our words are powerful weapons that we can use to uplift others, build up their confidence, self-worth, and overall sense of well-being and self-reliance. There are many, many things that we can do to accomplish this goal…share a few kind words to someone, giving others compliments, a courteous acknowledgement, a word of encouragement…the list goes on and on. Today’s story is a beautiful example of the kind of encouragement that warms the heart of another individual, but it also demonstrates the sad illustration of regret.
Two men, both seriously ill, occupied the same hospital room. One man was allowed to sit up in his bed for an hour each afternoon to help drain the fluid from his lungs. His bed was next to the room’s only window.
The other man had to spend all his time flat on his back. The men talked for hours on end. They spoke of their wives and families, their homes, their jobs, their involvement in the military service, where they had been on vacation. And every afternoon when the man in the bed by the window could sit up, he would pass the time by describing to his room-mate all the things he could see outside the window.
The man in the other bed began to live for those one-hour periods where his world would be broadened and enlivened by all the activity and color of the world outside. The window overlooked a park with a lovely lake. Ducks and swans played on the water while children sailed their model boats. Young lovers walked arm in arm amidst flowers of every color of the rainbow. Grand old trees graced the landscape, and a fine view of the city skyline could be seen in the distance.
As the man by the window described all this in exquisite detail, the man on the other side of the room would close his eyes and imagine the picturesque scene. One warm afternoon the man by the window described a parade passing by. Although the other man couldn’t hear the band – he could see it in his mind’s eye as the gentleman by the window portrayed it with descriptive words.
Then unexpectedly, a sinister thought entered his mind. Why should the other man alone experience all the pleasures of seeing everything while he himself never got to see anything? It didn’t seem fair. At first thought the man felt ashamed. But as the days passed and he missed seeing more sights, his envy eroded into resentment and soon turned him sour. He began to brood and he found himself unable to sleep. He should be by that window – that thought, and only that thought now controlled his life.
Late one night as he lay staring at the ceiling, the man by the window began to cough. He was choking on the fluid in his lungs. The other man watched in the dimly lit room as the struggling man by the window groped for the button to call for help. Listening from across the room he never moved, never pushed his own button which would have brought the nurse running in. In less than five minutes the coughing and choking stopped, along with that the sound of breathing. Now there was only silence-deathly silence.
The following morning the day nurse arrived to bring water for their baths. When she found the lifeless body of the man by the window, she was saddened and called the hospital attendants to take it away. As soon as it seemed appropriate, the other man asked if he could be moved next to the window. The nurse was happy to make the switch, and after making sure he was comfortable, she left him alone. Slowly, painfully, he propped himself up on one elbow to take his first look at the world outside. Finally, he would have the joy of seeing it all himself. He strained to slowly turn to look out the window beside the bed. It faced a blank wall.
The man asked the nurse what could have compelled his deceased roommate who had described such wonderful things outside this window. The nurse responded that the man was blind and could not even see the wall. She said, “Perhaps he just wanted to encourage you.”
I love to find and read all kinds of stories. I like tales that warm the heart, stir the soul, fire up the imagination, explore history, and discover lessons that I can apply throughout my lifetime. Well, today’s true story is one that is a fascinating account of…what some people refer as…the “Luck of the Irish.”
I hope that you enjoy it as much as I did!
In the Young Irish disorders, in Ireland in 1848, the following nine men were captured, tried and convicted of treason against their majesty, the Queeen, and were sentenced to death: John Mitchell, Morris Lyene, Pat Donahue, Thomas McGee, Charles Duffy, Thomas Meagher, Richard O’Gorman, Terrance McManus, and Michael Ireland.
Before passing sentence the judge asked if there was anything anyone wished to say. Meager, speaking for everyone in the group said, “My lord, this is the first offense, but not our last. If you will be easy on us this once, we promise, on our word as gentlemen, to try to do better next time. And next time, we sure won’t be fools enough to get caught.”
Thereupon the indignant judge sentenced them all to be hanged by the neck until dead and then drawn and quartered. Passionate protest from all over the world forced Queen Victoria to commute the sentence to transportation for life…to the far…wild Australia.
In 1874, word reached the astounded Queen Victoria that the Sir Charles Duffy who had been elected Prime Minister of Australia was the same Charles Duffy who has been transported 25 years ago. On the Queen’s demand, the records of the rest of the transported men were revealed and this is what was uncovered….
Thomas Francis Meagher – Governor of Montana
Terrance McManus – Brigadier General, United States Army
Patrick Donahue – Brigadier General, United States Army
Richard O’Gorman – Governor General of New Foundland
Morris Lyene – Attorney General of Australia
Michael Ireland – Succeeded Morris Lyene as Attorney General
Thomas D’Arcy McGee – Member of Parliament Montreal, Minister of Agriculture and President of Council Dominion of Canada
John Mitchell – Prominent New York politician. He was the father of John Purray Mitchell, Mayor of New York at the outbreak of World War 1
Albert Einstein, the legendary German physicist is a person that has always fascinated me. This genius who developed the theory of relativity and E=MC2, loved his music, had a remarkable sense of humor, and, surprisingly, valued money very little.
So, I have decided to share with you, a few interesting short stories about him that I think that you will find not only fascinating but also entertaining. They will also give you a little insight and appreciation for one of the smartest men the world has ever known.
Albert Einstein used to have a personal driver that drove him to each one of his lectures. During his speeches, his chauffer would sit at the back of the hall and listen to Einstein’s words of wisdom. After a period of time, the driver remarked to the famous researcher that he could probably give the lecture himself because he had heard it so many times.
At the next lecture stop, Einstein and the driver switched places…with Einstein sitting at the back of the room, dressed in the driver’s uniform. The driver gave the lecture flawlessly..
At the end of the lecture, a member of the audience asked a detailed scientific question about some kind of scientific matter. Without missing a beat, the “lecturer” replied, Well, the answer to that question is so simple, I’ll let my driver, sitting at the back there, answer it.”
When Albert Einstein was in residence at the Institute for Advanced Studies at Princeton during his later years, a guest asked him if Einstein would show him his laboratory.
The famous scientist and mathematician smiled, held up his fountain pen and pointed to his head!
Money meant very little to the legend, Albert Einstein. When he first joined the Princeton Institute for Advanced Study, he requested a salary so low, officials had to double it to preserve some semblance of institute standards.
He once used a $1,500 check from the Rockefeller Foundation as a bookmark…then lost the book! The foundation’s records were out of kilter for months. When they finally sent a duplicate check, Einstein wrote back, “What’s this for?”
Einstein, who thought himself as an accomplished violinist, was rehearsing a Haydn composition with a string quartet.
When Einstein failed for the fourth time to get his entry in the second movement, the group’s cellist looked up and somewhat annoyed and said, “The problem with you, Albert, is that you can’t count.”
Einstein was once asked by the press for an explanation of his theory of relativity which would be meaningful to the common, everyday lay person. The scientist then gave a statement to his secretary which read, “An hour sitting with a pretty girl on a park bench passes like a minute, but a minute sitting on a hot stove seems like an hour.”
The following story was told by Dr. Russell H. Conwell to raise millions of dollars to help fund the formation of Temple University in Philadelphia. He used the story to fire the imagination of his listeners during more than 6,000 fund-raising lectures. The story gives us a tremendous illustration of a way that a person can find true happiness in their own “Acres of Happiness.”
Many, many years ago, a young American was traveling down the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in the Middle East and was accompanied by an old Arab guide that he had hired in Bagdad.
During the trip, the guide told him a story about an ancient Persian Ali Hafed. Hafed owned a very large farm, orchards, grain fields, gardens, and money coming in from loans that he made. He was a wealthy and contented man.
One day Hafed was visited by an ancient Buddhist priest who told him how the earth was created and, particularly, about the most valuable thing in the world – diamonds!
Said the priest, “A diamond is a congealed drop of sunlight.” The priest told Hafed that, if he had one diamond the size of his thumb, he could purchase the entire county, and if he had a mine of diamonds he could place his children upon thrones through the influence of his great wealth.”
This set Hafed’s mind ablaze with a lust for such great wealth. So he sold his farm, left his family in charge of a neighbor, and began a search for diamonds in places the priest had said might contain them. Hafed spent all of his money on his lifelong, unsuccessful search and died, far from home, a penniless, suffering, disappointed old man.
The man who purchased Hafed’s farm one day led his camel into the garden to drink and as the camel put its nose into the shallow water of the garden brook, Hafed’s successor noticed a curious flash of light emanating from a black stone in the stream. He pulled out the black stone and placed it on the mantel of his fireplace in his home, and forgot about it.
A few days later the same Buddhist priest who had taught Hafed about the diamonds came to meet the new owner and saw the black stone. “That is a diamond!” he shouted. When his host said that it was just a pebble he had picked up in the garden, the priest replied, “I tell you, I know a diamond when I see it. I know without a shadow of a doubt, that the stone is a diamond.”
It turns out that the farm became the famed diamond mine of Golconda, the richest diamond mine in all of history. The Kohinoor diamond and the crown jewels of England and Russia came from that mine.
The moral, of course, is that, if Hafed had spent his time and energy exploring his own farm, he would have discovered riches beyond his wildest dreams. This story should teach us all, that if you wish you find greatness, and even wealth, you must first begin where you are…NOW! If you serve your community in a positive way, if you are an honest person, if you are a good provider for your family, whether you work in a shop, in a factory, or whatever your occupation may be, you can find happiness and recognition if you do it well. To find success in whatever endeavor that you choose, you must first look for your “acre of diamonds” right where you live.
Welcome to the second installment of “Children Say the Funniest Things.” As I stated in my previous installment, “Children Say the Funniest Things Part One,” I am a Physical Education teacher and have taught children on all levels…from Kindergarten to college. It has always ben one of my favorite things about teaching and fatherhood to listen to what kids say in certain situations or give their answers to…what we as adults think…simple questions.
So, sit back, relax, grab a cup of your favorite beverage and maybe a snack…and get ready to enjoy a giggle, a chuckle, or a good laugh.
A four year old girl was drinking a cup of cold orange juice when she suddenly got the hiccups. “Don’t give me this juice again,” she said. “It makes my teeth cough.”
A second-grade city school teacher decided to take her class on a trip to a farm. When they returned to school at the end of the day, she asked the children: “What were some of the sounds that you heard on your trip to the farm today?”
“Hey! Get off my tractor!!!”
Five-year-old, Deana, asked her Granny how old she was. Her grandmother said that she was so old that she had forgotten her age.
“Well, then, Granny you have to look on the back of your underpants. Mine says five to six.”
A nine-year-old daughter walked into her mother’s bedroom as she was getting ready for work.
“What are you doing?,” she asked.
“Putting on my wrinkle cream,” the mother answered.
“Oh,” she said, walking away. “I thought that they were natural.”
Edith was a five-year-old and she had an earache. She knew where to find the painkillers but she couldn’t open the bottle. She brought the bottle to her mother, who explained that it was a childproof bottle that only adult could open. Eyes wide open with wonder, Edith said, “but how does it know it’s ME?”
The mother of a three-year-old was surprised to hear him say, “yes, sir,” to her. She explained the “sir” was for men and “ma’ma” for women.
So, what would you say to Daddy?”
“Very good. And to Mama?”
“ And to grandma?”
The little boy’s face lit up as he replied, “Can I have a cookie?”
A six-year-old girl, Angela, returned home from school and told her mom that they had their first family planning lesson that day. Wondering what it could be about, her mother asks, “How did it go?”
“I was so ashamed!” said the little girl.
“Billy from across the street said that the stork brings babies.” Nancy, our next door neighbor, said that you can buy babies from the orphanage. Johnny said that his little sister was bought in a hospital.”
Laughing and giggling a little bit, her mom said, “But that’s no reason to be ashamed!”
“No, but I couldn’t tell them that we were so poor that you and Daddy had to make me yourselves!”
A teacher gave her second grade class a lesson on the magnet and what it does. The next day, in a written test, she included the question, “My full name has six letters. The first one is M. I am strong and attractive. I pick up tings. What am I?”
When the test papers were turned in, almost half of the students answered the question with the word…”Mother.”
Attending a wedding for the first time, a little girl whispered to her mother, “Why is a bride dressed in white?”
“Because it is the color of happiness,” explained her mother. “And today is the happiest day of her life!”
The child thought of it for a moment, then asked, “Why is the groom wearing black then?”
Teacher: “How old is your father?”
Kid: “He is 6 years old.”
Teacher: “What? How is that possible?”
Kid: “He became a father only when I was born
**Logic: Children are quick and always speak their minds 🙂
Teacher: “Maria, go to the map and find North America.”
Maria: “Here it is.”
Teacher: “Correct. Now class, who discovered America?”
Teacher: “How do you spell ‘crocodile’?”
Teacher: “No, that’s wrong.”
Tommy: Maybe it is wrong…but you asked me how I spell it.”
Teacher: “What is the chemical formula for water?”
Kevin: “H I J K L M N O.”
Teacher: “What are you talking about?”
Kevin: “Yesterday you said it was H to O>”
Teacher: “Clyde, your composition on ‘My Dog’ is exactly the same as your brother’s. Did you copy his?”
Clyde: “No sir. It’s the same dog.”
(I love this kid! I want to adopt him 🙂
Last but not least….
Teacher: “What do you call a person who keeps on talking when people are no longer interested?”
Franklin: “A Teacher.”
I hope that you enjoyed these short stories. Look for the 3rd installment of “Children Say the Funniest Things” sometime in the future.
If you have a funny story to share, please feel free to do so!!
The joy and satisfaction of making a life-long difference in a person’s life is an experience and accomplishment of untold fulfillment. I have been a teacher for more than 30 years and have had the opportunity to teach thousands of people. It is such a gratifying and rewarding sentiment when I see my “kids” grow up, go to college, and become successful men and women in their professions and families.
Personally, there is honestly one thing that I have always felt that has been satisfying more than this…and that would be the instances when I had the chance to encourage and support a “less fortunate” individual. Watching them gain confidence and self-esteem as they journeyed down the “road of life”, gives me an amazingly sense of accomplishment.
Today’s story is a tremendous illustration of times when we judge people wrongly, by their looks and actions…then, fortunately, open their eyes to their REAL situation . The following is a heartwarming, inspirational true story of such an instance.
Mrs. Thompson stood in front of her fifth grade class on the first day of school and told a lie, a big lie. As she welcomed the students, she said that she would treat them all the same. But that was not true because there was one student she would not treat the same – his name was Teddy Stoddard.
The school district hired Ms. Thompson the year before and she couldn’t help but notice Teddy last year. He was a known problem child with a lousy academic record. He didn’t play well with others; his clothes were a mess; he always looked like he needed a bath, and he had a bad attitude. Consequently, Mrs. Thompson delighted in marking Teddy’s papers with a broad red pen and placing big bold ‘X’s on all his wrong answers. She loved putting a large ‘F’ at the top of his papers so other students could see his grade when she handed them out.
School policy required that each teacher review the records of their students during the first week of December. Mrs. Thompson held Teddy’s file off until last. When she finally sat down to review his file, she was taken aback. Teddy’s first grade teacher wrote, “Teddy is a bright child who does neat work and has excellent classroom manners. He is a joy to have in my class – I will miss him next year.”
His second grade teacher wrote, “Teddy is an above average student who is well liked by his classmates. He has been having trouble lately because of his mother’s illness, and life at home has really been a struggle for him.”
His third grade teacher wrote, “His mother’s recent death has been very hard on Teddy. He tries hard to do his best, but his father doesn’t show much interest and his home life is negatively affecting him.”
Teddy’s fourth grade teacher wrote, “Teddy is a withdrawn child who doesn’t show much interest in school. He has few friends, often comes to class unprepared, and is frequently disruptive.”
Mrs. Thompson was now ashamed of her behavior. She felt even worse a few weeks later when her students brought in their Christmas presents for her. All were wrapped in holiday paper and tied with ribbons except for one. Teddy’s was clumsily wrapped in brown paper from an old grocery bag with no ribbon. Mrs. Thompson opened Teddy’s present first. Some children laughed when they saw a rhinestone bracelet with several stones missing and an old bottle of perfume only 1/4 full; but Mrs. Thompson quickly stifled their laughter by commenting on how beautiful the bracelet was as she put in on. She then dabbed some perfume on each wrist, inhaled deeply and said it smells wonderful.
Before he left class that afternoon, Teddy walked up to Mrs. Thompson’s desk, slowly leaned in and said, “I just want you to know you smell just like my Mom use to.” Then he ran out of the room. When all the other students left, Mrs. Thompson cried at her desk. That was the day she vowed to quit teaching. Never again would she teach reading, writing or arithmetic, instead she would start teaching children.
She began to pay attention to Teddy. As she worked with him, his mind came alive. The more she encouraged him, the faster he responded. By the end of the school year, Teddy was one of the brightest students in her class. Despite “her lie to treat all students the same,” it was obvious Teddy was her pet. The following year, Teddy transferred to middle school and Mrs. Thompson never saw him again.
Towards the end of the next school year, Mrs. Thompson found a note under her door. It was a note from Teddy telling her that she was still the best teacher he ever had in his whole life.
Seven years passed before she received another note. This time Teddy wrote he had just finished high school – third in his class – and that he would be going to college and that, by the way Mrs. Thompson, you are still the best teacher I ever had in my whole life.
Four more years went by when a letter from Teddy arrived explaining he had graduated from college and was planning on going to medical school in the fall and, by the way Mrs. Thompson, you are still the best teacher I ever had.
Several years passed before another letter arrived. In this letter, Teddy stated he met a woman and they would be getting married in June. He explained that his father died a few years earlier and he was wondering if she, Mrs. Thompson, would agree to sit in the place of honor reserved for the groom’s parents at the head table. This letter was signed Theodore J. Stoddard M.D.
Of course Mrs. Thomson agreed. She arrived at the plush wedding ceremony wearing an old rhinestone bracelet with several rhinestones missing and carried a scent of a perfume that Teddy once said reminded him of his mother. Dr. Stoddard came forward and hugged her. As he inhaled the fragrance of her perfume, he whispered in her ear, “Thank you Mrs. Thompson for making me feel important and thank you for making a difference in my life.” Mrs. Thompson, with tears in her eyes, whispered back, “No Teddy you have it wrong. I need to thank you. You taught me. You taught me I could make a difference.”
I have stated in previous blogs, that I firmly believe that the reason people are put on this earth is to assist other individuals and show compassion and empathy towards them. When we really love our neighbors as ourselves, we find that we feel more content, satisfied, and happy about our own lives. Many, many times, you will discover that the happiest people in the world, are the ones that help and care about others.
Today’s story is a beautiful illustration of the love that a son shows his elder father which, once again, is a small sample, of how much we should assist other people, like our loved ones, as they get older.
A son took his old father to a restaurant for an evening dinner.
His father, being very old and weak, while eating, dropped food on his shirt and pants. The mess that he made disgusted the other diners in the restaurant while his son remained calm.
After they were finished eating, the son, who was not embarrassed at all, quietly took him to the wash room, wiped off the food particles, removed the stains, combed his hair and fitted his glasses firmly, When they came out, the entire restaurant was watching them in dead silence, not able to grasp how someone could embarrass themselves publicly like that.
The son settled the bill and started to leave the eatery with his father.
At that time, an old man amongst the diners called out to the son and asked him, “Don’t you think you left something behind?”
The son replied, “No sir, I haven’t.”
The old man retorted, “Yes, you have! You have left a lesson for every son and hope for every father.”
The restaurant went silent.
To care for those who once cared for us is one of life’s highest honors!
There is nothing better in the world than a nice, big laugh…a good belly-laugh. Laughing and smiling is an awesome remedy for the soul. It can brighten your day. It can turn a dark time into an enjoyable light. It’s funny how an individuals view of life can sometimes drastically change when they “take the frown and turn it upside-down.”
I recently came across the following story which demonstrates to us the wonderful power of the gift of laughter. It is my hope that this story might help someone who may be suffering some kind of hardship.
Many years ago, Norman Cousins was diagnosed as “terminally ill”. He was given six months to live. His chance for recovery was 1 in 500.
He could see the worry, depression and anger in his life contributed to, and perhaps helped cause, his disease. He wondered, “If illness can be caused by negativity, can wellness be created by positivity?”
He decided to make an experiment of himself. Laughter was one of the most positive activities he knew. He rented all the funny movies he could find – Keaton, Chaplin, Fields, the Marx Brothers. (This was before VCRs, so he had to rent the actual films.) He read funny stories. He asked his friends to call him whenever they said, heard or did something funny.
His pain was so great he could not sleep. Laughing for 10 solid minutes, he found, relieved the pain for several hours so he could sleep.
He fully recovered from his illness and lived another 20 happy, healthy and productive years. (His journey is detailed in his book, Anatomy of an Illness.) He credits visualization, the love of his family and friends, and laughter for his recovery.
Some people think laughter is a waste of time. It is a luxury, they say, a frivolity, something to indulge in only every so often.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Laughter is essential to our equilibrium, to our well-being, to our aliveness. If we’re not well, laughter helps us get well; if we are well, laughter helps us stay that way.
Since Cousins’ ground-breaking subjective work, scientific studies have shown that laughter has a curative effect on the body, the mind and the emotions.
So, if you like laughter, consider it sound medical advice to indulge in it as often as you can. If you don’t like laughter, then take your medicine – laugh anyway.
Use whatever makes you laugh – movies, sitcoms, Monty Python, records, books, New Yorker cartoons, jokes, friends.
Give yourself permission to laugh – long and loud and out loud – whenever anything strikes you as funny. The people around you may think you’re strange, but sooner or later they’ll join in even if they don’t know what you’re laughing about.
Some diseases may be contagious, but none is as contagious as the cure. . . laughter.
By Peter McWilliams
From “Chicken Soup for the Surviving Soul”
There was a young man who had been diagnosed with a terminal illness and had been given three months to live. So as he was getting his things ‘in order,’ he contacted his Priest and had him come to his house to discuss certain aspects of his final wishes.
He told him which songs he wanted sung at the service,what scriptures he would like read, and what outfit he wanted to be buried in.
Everything was in order and the Priest was preparing to leave when the young man suddenly remembered something very important to him.
‘There’s one more thing,’ he said excitedly..
‘What’s that?’ came the Priest’s reply.
‘This is very important,’ the young man continued.
‘I want to be buried with a fork in my right hand.’
The Priest stood looking at the young man, not knowing quite what to say.
That surprises you, doesn’t it?’ the young man asked.
‘Well, to be honest, I’m puzzled by the request,’ said the Priest.
The young man explained. ‘My grandmother once told me this story, and from that time on I have always tried to pass along its message to those I love and those who are in need of encouragement.
In all my years of attending socials and dinners, I always remember that when the dishes of the main course were being cleared, someone would inevitably lean over and say,
‘Keep your fork.
‘ It was my favorite part because I knew that something better was coming …. like velvety chocolate cake or deep-dish apple pie.
Something wonderful, and with substance!’
So, I just want people to see me there in that casket with a fork in my hand and I want them to wonder ‘What’s with the fork?’
Then I want you to tell them:
‘Keep your fork … the best is yet to come.’
The Priest’s eyes welled up with tears of joy as he hugged the young man good-bye. He knew this would be one of the last times he would see him before his death.
But he also knew that the young man had a better grasp of heaven than he did. He had a better grasp of what heaven would be like than many people twice his age, with twice as much experience and knowledge.
He KNEW that something better was coming.
At the funeral people were walking by the young man’s casket and they saw the suit he was wearing and the fork placed in his right hand. Over and over, the Priest heard the question, ‘What’s with the fork?’ And over and over he smiled.
During his message, the Priest told the people of the conversation he had with the young man shortly before he died. He also told them about the fork and about what it symbolized to him.
He told the people how he could not stop thinking about the fork and told them that they probably would not be able to stop thinking about it either.
He was right. So the next time you reach down for your fork let it remind you, ever so gently, that the best is yet to come.
Friends are a very rare jewel, indeed.
They make you smile and encourage you to succeed.
Cherish the time you have, and the memories you share. Being friends with someone is not an opportunity, but a sweet responsibility.
Send this to everyone you consider a FRIEND… and I’ll bet this will be an Email they do remember, every time they pick up a fork!
And just remember … keep your fork! The BEST is yet to come!
I am a big fan of history. I love reading and listening to books and documentaries of all kinds of history that ha spanned over the centuries. It is fascinating to see how past world leaders, inventors, athletes, armies, scientists, politicians, wars, etc.
One of the people who has always fascinated me was Alexander the Great. He was a supreme commander who, believe it or not, was actually tutored under the great philosopher, Aristotle! He wasn’t a big man…he was actually a short and stocky man who had two different color eyes…one brown and one blue. He also founded over 20 cities that bore his name…the greatest being the famous city of Alexandria in Egypt. At the peak of his reign, he ruled over 2007731 square miles of the world!!
So, it is no surprise that when I read the following story about Alexander the Great on Speakbindas.com, it fascinated me and actually reminded me of me some really good concepts and lessons in life, that we all, should never forget! I encourage you to take the lessons that you will read and put them into your heart!!
There is very instructive incident involving the life of Alexander, the great Macedonian king. Alexander, after conquering many kingdoms, was returning home. On the way, he fell ill and it took him to his death bed. With death staring him in his face, Alexander realized how his conquests, his great army, his sharp sword and all his wealth were of no consequence.
He now longed to reach home to see his mother’s face and bid her his last adieu. But, he had to accept the fact that his sinking health would not permit him to reach his distant homeland. So, the mighty conqueror lay prostrate and pale, helplessly waiting to breathe his last. He called his generals and said, “I will depart from this world soon, I have three wishes, please carry them out without fail.” With tears flowing down their cheeks, the generals agreed to abide by their king’s last wishes.
“My first desire is that,” said Alexander, “My physicians alone must carry my coffin.” After a pause, he continued, “Secondly, I desire that when my coffin is being carried to the grave, the path leading to the graveyard be strewn with gold, silver and precious stones which I have collected in my treasury.
“The king felt exhausted after saying this. He took a minute’s rest and continued. “My third and last wish is that both my hands be kept dangling out of my coffin.”The people who had gathered there wondered at the king’s strange wishes. But no one dare bring the question to their lips.
Alexander’s favorite general kissed his hand and pressed them to his heart. “O king, we assure you that your wishes will all be fulfilled. But tell us why do you make such strange wishes?”
At this Alexander took a deep breath and said: “I would like the world to know of the three lessons I have just learnt. I want my physicians to carry my coffin because people should realize that no doctor can really cure any body. They are powerless and cannot save a person from the clutches of death. So let not people take life for granted.
The second wish of strewing gold, silver and other riches on the way to the graveyard is to tell People that not even a fraction of gold will come with me. I spent all my life earning riches but cannot take anything with me. Let people realize that it is a sheer waste of time to chase wealth.
And about my third wish of having my hands dangling out of the coffin, I wish people to know that I came empty handed into this world and empty handed I go out of this world.”
Alexander’s last words: “Bury my body, do not build any monument, keep my hands outside so that the world knows the person who won the world had nothing in his hands when dying“.
With these words, the king closed his eyes. Soon he let death conquer him and breathed his last.
It has always been fascinating to me how strong and fervent the power of love can be. It can make the simplest and humblest individual into a person who is incredibly courageous, strong, and brave…especially in the time of harm and danger.
Such is the story that you will read today. I can’t help but think…how many people would have the determination, love, and bravery that this man, husband and son had when his life was at one of its darkest depths? It makes you think….
In March 2001, Japan got hit with the most devastating and deadly Tsunami’s that have ever hit the country. Millions of people lost their homes, businesses, belongings, etc., and tens of thousands of people either were injured or lost their lives.
One of the towns that was struck was named Ishinomaki where a man named Hideaki Akaiwa was working in his home.. Realizing his wife was trapped in their home, he ignored the advice of the emergency personnel and other professionals, who told him to wait for the army to arrive and help him with a search and rescue.
Instead, he found a wet suit, jumped in the furious water current…dodging cars, houses, and other kinds of debris that was being dragged around and carried away by the current…any of which could have killed him instantly. He navigated the now submerged streets in the pitch dark, freezing water until he found his house.
Swimming inside, he discovered his wife alive on the upper level with only a small amount of breathing room and pulled her to safety. If he had waited for the army, his wife, of 20 years, would have been dead.
But Hideaki wasn’t finished. A short time later, he realized that his mother was also missing. So he jumped back into the water and managed to save her life as well.
Every day, for weeks after the tsunamis struck, Hideaki got into the water on one-man search and rescue missions, saving countless lives. This proved that two natural disasters in a single day…and insurmountable odds…can’t stand in the way of love.
I simply LOVE short, inspirational and heartwarming stories like this. It is stuff like this that inspires me to be kind to at least one person each day. Just look at the happiness on Scott’s face and the total love and contentment on the little child’s face…priceless!!
We all know that life in today’s world is getting faster and faster. Lifestyles are getting busier, more complicated, and less enjoyable. One of the skills that a good number of individuals have lost along the way, has been the skill or ability to actually be quiet, listen and hear to what people (or things) are saying.
How many times have you found yourself “going through the motions” responding to people in robotic, mechanical ways, and never really hearing to what is being said?
Let’s really take the time each day to stop and authentically listen and hear to what our friends, loved ones, or other things” are being said…the results may surprise you!
Today, I have included four very short stories that will illustrate the importance of listening to different things. I hope that these stories will help you in some small way, to maybe improve your relationships with people.
The story is told of Franklin Roosevelt, who often endured long receiving lines at the White House. He complained that no one really paid any attention to what was said. One day, during a reception, he decided to try an experiment. To each person who passed down the line and shook his hand, he murmured, “I murdered my grandmother this morning.” The guests responded with phrases like, “Marvelous! Keep up the good work. We are proud of you. God bless you, sir.” It was not till the end of the line, while greeting the ambassador from Bolivia, that his words were actually heard. Nonplussed, the ambassador leaned over and whispered, “I’m sure she had it coming.”
The Signal Gets Weaker
I listen to my local radio station while I’m driving in my car. When I drive away from the radio tower, the signal gets weaker and weaker. But if I turn the car around and drive back into town, the signal becomes stronger and I can hear it again.
In the same way, we stop hearing God when we drift away from Him. But if we will turn around and come back to Him, we’ll hear His voice again. The closer we are to God, the clearer we can hear Him. “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you” (James 4:8).
On December 9, 1902, on Mt Desert Rock off the coast of Maine, a young lighthouse assistant awakened the lighthouse keeper to tell him that he thought he heard a steamboat whistle nearby. The two of them went out into the bitter cold and saw, on the tip of a rock ledge, what appeared to be a wrecked boat. The two men took a rope and fought their way through the icy wind until they saw a tugboat with several men aboard pinned to the rock. It took several attempts, but at last they reached the boat, and despite the frigid conditions, pulled 18 men to safety. Had the young assistant keeper not heard the whistle in the night, some of the crewmen might have perished, for the boat sank shortly after the last man was rescued. Afterwards, as the survivors warmed up and talked about their ordeal, they marveled that their distress whistle could even have been heard over the howling wind and pounding waves. One of the seamen remarked, “That whistle was the voice of God; and thankfully, someone heard it.” (LecAid ibid.) God speaks to us. And when you hear that word, it brings comfort, solace, strength, guidance, courage, and wisdom. God speaks to YOU. And when you hear that word, when you LISTEN to that word, when you RESPOND to that word, you have in your hands a strong rope to lead you over the most troubled waters. For God’s word is the word of life. This is the word of the Lord! AMEN.
An Old Man’s Wisdom
There is a story told of an old man and his grandson who were walking down a business street in a downtown district. As they walked along, the grandfather suddenly stopped, turned his head slightly, and tweaked his ear. After a moment he said to his grandson, “Follow me.”
They slowly moved from where they were standing to a small planter box next to a sidewalk café. The planter was filled with various seasonal plants, but as the old man gently pushed back the flowers, behind them revealed a small bird’s nest filled with baby chicks; their chirping almost indistinguishable from the din of lunchtime dinners and people on the sidewalk.
No one seemed to pay any attention to the old man, his grandson or the little nest, but the grandson was amazed. After watching for a few minutes and then moving away the little boy looked up at his grandfather.
“Grandpa, how did you hear the birds? There is so much noise, so much happening, how could you hear?”
Without saying a word the old man took several coins from his pocket and tossed them on the ground.
With the tinkling of the coins on the sidewalk it seemed everything came to a stop. People turned around. Diners stopped eating to look their way. Several almost seemed to want to reach down and pick up the dropped coins. Then as quickly as it had happened – everything went back to the way it was.
That’s when the old man spoke, “It’s all in what you are listening for, my child, its all in what you are listening for…”
Sometimes I think we are much like the crowd walking down the street. We fail to hear the most important things in life. We’ve filled our lives with so much noise that it’s difficult to hear anything anymore. And when we do hear, we often mistake what we are hearing for what we want to hear instead of what we should be hearing.
Remember this little bit of trivia: The word LISTEN has the same letters as the word SILENT!