Saturday, January 20, 2007

Box full of kisses

Some time ago, a man punished his 3-year-old daughter for wasting a roll of gold wrapping paper.

Money was tight and he became infuriated when the child tried to decorate a box to put under the Christmas tree. Nevertheless, the little girl brought the gift to her father the next morning and said, "This is for you, Daddy."

The man was embarrassed by his earlier overreaction, but his anger flared again when he found out the box was empty. He yelled at her, stating, "Don't you know, when you give someone a present, there is supposed to be something inside? The little girl looked up at him with tears in her eyes and cried, "Oh, Daddy, it's not empty at all. I blew kisses into the box. They're all for you, Daddy."

The father was crushed. He put his arms around his little girl, and he begged for her forgiveness. Only a short time later, an accident took the life of the child. It is also told that her father kept that gold box by his bed for many years and, whenever he was discouraged, he would take out an imaginary kiss and remember the love of the child who had put it there.

In a very real sense, each one of us, as humans beings, have been given a gold container filled with unconditional love and kisses... from our children, family members, friends, and God. There is simply no other possession, anyone could hold, more precious than this.


Monday, January 15, 2007

Do you love HER enough?

When you were 1 year old, she fed you and bathed you. You thanked her by crying all the night.

When you were 2 years old, she taught you to walk. You thanked her by running away when she called.

When you were 3 years old, she made all your meals with love. You thanked her by tossing your plate on the floor.

When you were 4 years old, she gave you some crayons. You thanked her by coloring the dinning room table.

When you were 5 years old, she dressed you for the holidays. You thanked her by looping into the nearest pile of mud.

When you were 6 years old, she walked you into school. You thanked her by screaming, "I'M NOT GOING".

When you were 7 years old, she bought you a baseball. You thanked her by throwing it through the next-door-neighbor window.

When you were 8 years old, she handed you an ice cream. You thanked her by dripping it all over you lap.

When you were 9 years old, she paid for piano lessons. You thanked her by never even bothering to practice it.

When you were 10 years old, she drove you all day, from soccer to gymnastic to one birthday party after another. You thanked her by jumping out of the car and never looking back.

When you were 11 years old, she took you and your friends to the movies. You thanked her by asking to sit in the different row.

When you were 12 years old, she warned you not to watch certain TV shows. You thanked her by waiting until she left the house.

When you were 13, she suggested a haircut that was becoming. You thanked her by telling her she had no taste.

When you were 14, she paid for a month away at summer camp. You thanked her by forgetting to write a single letter.

When you were 15, she came home from work, looking for a hug. You thanked her by having your bedroom door locked.

When you were 16, she taught you how to drive her car. You thanked her by taking it every chance you could.

When you were 17, she was expecting an important call. You thanked her by being on the phone all night.

When you were 18, she cried at your school graduation. You thanked her by staying out partying until dawn.

When you were 19, she paid for your college tuition, drove you to campus, carried your bags. You thanked her by saying good-bye outside the dorm so you wouldn't be embarrassed in front of you friends.

When you were 20, she asked whether you were seeing anyone. You thanked her by saying "It's none of you business".

When you were 21, she suggested certain careers for your future. You thanked her by saying "I don't want to be like you".

When you were 22, she hugged you at your college graduation. You thanked her by asking whether she could pay for a trip to Europe.

When you were 23, she gave you furniture for your first apartment. You thanked her by telling your friend it was ugly.

When you were 24, she met your fiancé? And asked about your plans for the future. You thanked her by glaring and growling, "Muuhh-ther, please!"

When you were 25, she helped to pay for your wedding, and she cried and told how deeply she loved you. You thanked her by moving halfway across the country.

When you were 30, she called with some advice on the baby. You thanked by telling her, "Things are different now."

When you were 40, she called to remind you of a relative's birthday. You thanked her by saying you were "really busy right now."

When you were 50, she fell ill and needed you to take careof her. You thanked her by reading about the burden parents become to their children.

And then, one day, she quietly died. And everything you never did, came crashing down like thunder on your heart...

If she' s still around, never forget to love her more than ever. And if she' s not, remember her unconditional love.


Unconditional love

A soldier was finally coming home after having fought in Vietnam. He called his parents from San Francisco..

"Mom and Dad, I'm coming home, but I've a favor to ask. I have a friend I'd like to bring home with me."

"Sure," they replied, "we'd love to meet him."

"There's something you should know" the son continued, “he was hurt pretty badly in the fighting. He stepped on a land mind and lost an arm and a leg. He has nowhere else to go, and I want him to come live with us."

"I'm sorry to hear that, son. Maybe we can help him find somewhere to live."

"No, Mom and Dad, I want him to live with us."

"Son," said the father, "you don't know what you're asking. Someone with such a handicap would be a terrible burden on us. We have our own lives to live, and we can't let something like this interfere with our lives. I think you should just come home and forget about this guy. He'll find a way to live on his own."

At that point, the son hung up the phone. The parents heard nothing more from him. A few days later, however, they received a call from the San Francisco police. Their son had died after falling from a building, they were told. The police believed it was suicide. The grief-stricken parents flew to San Francisco and were taken to the city morgue to identify the body of their son. They recognized him, but to their horror they also discovered something they didn't know, their son had only one arm and one leg.

The parents in this story are like many of us. We find it easy to love those who are good-looking or fun to have around, but we don't like people who inconvenience us or make us feel uncomfortable. We would rather stay away from people who aren't as healthy, beautiful, or smart as we are. Thankfully, there's someone who won't treat us that way. Someone who loves us with an unconditional love that welcomes us into the forever family, regardless of how messed up we are.

Tonight, before you tuck yourself in for the night, say a little prayer that God will give you the strength you need to accept people as they are, and to help us all be more understanding of those who are different from us. Amen.


There's always a better way

A blind boy sat on the steps of a building with a hat nearby and a sign which said: I’ll polish your shoes.

A man was walking by. He got his shoes polished and dropped coins into the hat. He then took the sign, turned it around, and wrote some words. He put the sign back so that everyone who walked by will see the new words.

Soon the hat began to fill up! A lot more people were giving work and money to the blind boy!

That afternoon the man who had changed the sign came to see how things were. The boy recognized his footsteps and asked, "Were you the one who changed my sign this morning? What did you write?” The man said “I only wrote the truth. I said what you said but in a different way.”

What he had written was: Today is a beautiful day, and I cannot see it.

The first sign simply told people to help. The second sign told people that they were able to enjoy the beauty of the day, but the boy could not enjoy it because he was blind. Should we be surprised that the second sign was more effective?

There are at least two lessons we can learn from this simple story. The first is: Be thankful for what you have. Someone else has less. Help where you can. The second is: Be creative. Be Innovative. Think differently. There is always a better way.


Wednesday, January 3, 2007

The impossible bridge

In 1883, a creative engineer named John Roebling was inspired by an idea to build a spectacular bridge connecting New York with the Long Island. However bridge building experts throughout the world thought that this was an impossible feat and told Roebling to forget the idea. It just could not be done. It was not practical. It had never been done before.

Roebling could not ignore the vision he had in his mind of this bridge. He thought about it all the time and he knew deep in his heart that it could be done. He just had to share the dream with someone else. After much discussion and persuasion he managed to convince his son Washington, an up and coming engineer, that the bridge in fact could be built.

Working together for the first time, the father and son developed concepts of how it could be accomplished and how the obstacles could be overcome. With great excitement and inspiration, and the headiness of a wild challenge before them, they hired their crew and began to build their dream bridge.

The project started well, but when it was only a few months underway a tragic accident on the site took the life of John Roebling. Washington was injured and left with a certain amount of brain damage, which resulted in him not being able to walk or talk or even move.

"We told them so."

"Crazy men and their crazy dreams."

"It`s foolish to chase wild visions."

Everyone had a negative comment to make and felt that the project should be scrapped since the Roeblings were the only ones who knew how the bridge could be built. In spite of his handicap Washington was never discouraged and still had a burning desire to complete the bridge and his mind was still as sharp as ever. He tried to inspire and pass on his enthusiasm to some of his friends, but they were too daunted by the task.

As he lay on his bed in his hospital room, with the sunlight streaming through the windows, a gentle breeze blew the flimsy white curtains apart and he was able to see the sky and the tops of the trees outside for just a moment.

It seemed that there was a message for him not to give up. Suddenly an idea hit him. All he could do was move one finger and he decided to make the best use of it. By moving this, he slowly developed a code of communication with his wife.

He touched his wife's arm with that finger, indicating to her that he wanted her to call the engineers again. Then he used the same method of tapping her arm to tell the engineers what to do. It seemed foolish but the project was under way again.

For 13 years Washington tapped out his instructions with his finger on his wife's arm, until the bridge was finally completed.

Today the spectacular Brooklyn Bridge stands in all its glory as a tribute to the triumph of one man's indomitable spirit and his determination not to be defeated by circumstances. It is also a tribute to the engineers and their team work, and to their faith in a man who was considered mad by half the world. It stands too as a tangible monument to the love and devotion of his wife who for 13 long years patiently decoded the messages of her husband and told the engineers what to do.

And perhaps... this is one of the best examples of a never-say-die attitude that overcomes a terrible physical handicap and achieves an impossible goal. Often when we face obstacles in our day-to-day life, our hurdles seem very small in comparison to what many others have to face. The Brooklyn Bridge shows us that dreams that seem impossible can be realised with determination and persistence, no matter what the odds are.


Enjoy the coffee

A group of alumni, highly established in their careers, got together to visit their old university professor.

Conversation soon turned into complaints about stress in work and life.

Offering his guests coffee, the professor went to the kitchen and returned with a large pot of coffee and an assortment of cups porcelain, plastic, glass, crystal, some plain looking, some expensive, some exquisite - telling them to help themselves to hot coffee.

When all the students had a cup of coffee in hand, the professor said: "If you noticed, all the nice looking expensive cups were taken up, leaving behind the plain and cheap ones. While it is but normal for you to want only the best for yourselves, that is the source of your problems and stress. What all of you really wanted was coffee, not the cup, but you consciously went for the best cups and were eyeing each other's cups. Now if life is coffee, then the jobs, money and position in society are the cups. They are just tools to hold and contain Life, but the quality of Life doesn't change. Some times, by concentrating only on the cup, we fail to enjoy the coffee in it."

Don't let the cups drive you... Enjoy the coffee instead.


Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Does God exist?

A man went to a barber shop to have his hair cut and his beard trimmed. As the barber began to work, they began to have a good conversation. They talked about so many things and various subjects. When they eventually touched on the subject of God, the barber said "I don't believe that God exists."

"Why do you say that?" asked the customer.

"Well, you just have to go out in the street to realize that God doesn't exist. Tell me, if God exists, would there be so many sick people? Would there be abandoned children? If God existed, there would be neither suffering nor pain. I can't imagine a loving God who would allow all of these things."

The customer thought for a moment, but didn't respond because he didn't want to start an argument. The barber finished his job and the customer left the shop. Just after he left the barbershop, he saw a man in the street with long, stringy, dirty hair and an untrimmed beard. He looked dirty and unkempt. The customer turned back and entered the barber shop again and he said to the barber: "You know what? Barbers do not exist as well"

"How can you say that?" asked the surprised barber, "I am here, and I am a barber. And I just worked on you!"

"No!" the customer exclaimed. "Barbers don't exist because if they did, there would be no people with dirty long hair and untrimmed beards, like that man outside."

"Ah, but barbers DO exist! That's what happens when people do not come to me."

"Exactly!" affirmed the customer. "That's the point! God, too, DOES exist! That's what happens when people do not go to Him and don't look to Him for help. That's why there's so much pain and suffering in the world."

Ask Him for help. Don't reject your faith in him rightaway. Sometimes, the help may reach you late, but it will for sure.