Friday, February 22, 2008


Not understanding the client requirements can be disastrous! See how:

In the days when you couldn't count on a public toilet facility, an English woman was planning a trip to India... She was registered to stay in a small guest house owned by the local schoolmaster. She was concerned as to whether the guest house contained a WC. In England, a bathroom is commonly called a WC which stands for "Water Closet". She wrote to the schoolmaster inquiring of the facilities about the WC.

The school master, not fluent in English, asked the local priest if he knew the meaning of WC. Together they pondered possible meanings of the letters and concluded that the lady wanted to know if there was a "Wayside Chapel" near the house... a bathroom never entered their minds.

So the schoolmaster wrote the following reply:
Dear Madam,

I take great pleasure in informing you that the WC is located 9 miles from the house. It is located in the middle of a grove of pine trees, surrounded by lovely grounds. It is capable of holding 229 people and is open on Sundays and Thursdays. As there are many people expected in the summer months, I suggest you arrive early. There is, however, plenty of standing room. This is an unfortunate situation especially if you are in the habit of going regularly.

It may be of some interest to you that my daughter was married in the WC as it was there that she met her husband. It was a wonderful event. There were 10 people in every seat. It was wonderful to see the expressions on their faces. We can take photos in different angle. My wife, sadly, has been ill and unable to go recently. It has been almost a year since she went last, which pains her greatly.

You will be pleased to know that many people bring their lunch and make a day of it. Others prefer to wait till the last minute and arrive just in time. I would recommend your ladyship plan to go on a Thursday as there is an organ accompaniment. The acoustics are excellent and even the most delicate sounds can be heard everywhere.

The newest addition is a bell which rings every time a person enters. We are holding a bazaar to provide plush seats for all since many feel it is long needed. I look forward to escorting you there myself and seating you in a place where you can be seen by all.

With deepest regards,
The Schoolmaster.

The woman fainted reading the reply, and apparently, never visited the place!


Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Tell the world for me

Some 14 years ago, I stood watching my university students fill into the classroom for our opening session in the theology of faith. That was the day I first saw Tommy. He was combing his hair, which hung six inches below his shoulders. My quick judgment wrote him off as strange - very strange.

Tommy turned out to be my biggest challenge. He constantly objected to, or smirked at the possibility of an unconditionally loving God. When he turned in his final exam at the end of the course, he asked in a slightly cynical tone, "Do you think I'll ever find God?"

"No," I said emphatically.

"Oh," he responded. "I thought that was the product you were pushing."

I let him get five steps from the door and then called out. "I don't think you'll ever find him, but I am certain he will find you." Tommy shrugged and left. I felt slightly disappointed that he had missed my clever line.

Later I heard that Tommy had graduated, and I was grateful for that. Then came a sad report: Tommy had terminal cancer. Before I could search him out, he came to me. When he walked into my office, his body was badly wasted, and his long hair had fallen out because of the chemotherapy. But, his eyes were bright and his voice, for the first time, was firm.

"Tommy! I've thought about you so often. I heard you were very sick," I blurted out.

"Oh, yes, very sick. I have cancer. It's a matter of weeks."

"Can you talk about it?"

"Sure. What would you like to know?"

"What's it like to be only 24 and know that you're dying?"

"It could be worse," he told me, "like being 50 and thinking that drinking booze, seducing women and making money are the real 'biggies' in life." Then, he told me why he had come.

"It was something you said to me on the last day of class. I asked if you thought I would ever find God and you said no, which surprised me. Then you said, 'But, he will find you.' I thought about that a lot, even though my search for God was hardly intense at that time."

"But, when the doctors removed a lump from my body and told me that it was malignant, I got serious about locating God. And when the malignancy spread into my vital organs, I really began banging against the bronze doors of heaven. But, nothing happened. Well, one day I woke up, and instead of my desperate attempts to get some kind of message, I just quit. I decided I didn't really care about God, an afterlife, or anything like that."

"I decided to spend what time I had left doing something more important. I thought about you and something else you had said: 'The essential sadness is to go through life without loving. But, it would be almost equally sad to leave this world without ever telling those you loved that you loved them.'

So, I began with the hardest Dad."

Tommy's father had been reading the newspaper when his son approached him.

"Dad, I would like to talk with you."

"Well, talk."

"I mean, it's really important."

The newspaper came down three slow inches. "What is it?"

"Dad, I love you. I just wanted you to know that."

Tommy smiled at me as he recounted the moment. "The newspaper fluttered to the floor. Then, my father did two things I couldn't remember him doing before. He cried and he hugged me. And then, we talked all night, even though he had to go to work the next morning."

"It was easier with my mother and little brother," Tommy continued.

"They cried with me, and we hugged one another, and shared the thing we had been keeping secret for so many years. I was only sorry that I had waited so long. Here I was, in the shadow of death, and I was just beginning to open up to all the people I had actually been close to."

"Then one day, I turned around and God was there. He didn't come to me when I pleaded with him. Apparently he does things in his own way and at his own hour. The important thing is that you were right. He found me even after I stopped looking for him."

"Tommy," I practically gasped, "I think you are saying something much more universal than you realize. You are saying that the surest way to find God is not by making him a private possession or an instant consolation in time of need, but rather by opening to love."

"Tommy," I added, "could I ask you a favor? Would you come to my theology-of-faith course and tell my students what you just told me?"

Though we scheduled a date, he never made it. Of course, his life was not really ended by his death, only changed. He made the great step from faith into vision. He found a life far more beautiful than the eye of humanity has ever seen, or the mind ever imagined.

Before he died, we talked one last time. "I'm not going to make it to your class," he said.

"I know, Tommy."

"Will you tell them for me? Will you . . . tell the whole world for me?"

"I will, Tommy. I'll tell them."


Monday, February 11, 2008

Old man's horse

There was an old man in a village, very poor, but even kings were jealous of him because he had a beautiful white horse.

Kings offered fabulous prices for the horse, but the man would say, "This horse is not a horse to me, he is a person. And how can you sell a person, a friend?" The man was poor, but he never sold the horse. One morning, he found that the horse was not in the stable. The whole village gathered and they said, "You foolish old man! We knew that someday the horse would be stolen. It would have been better to sell it. What a misfortune!" The old man said, "Don't go so far as to say that. Simply say that the horse is not in the stable. This is the fact; everything else is a judgment. Whether it is a misfortune or a blessing I don't know, because this is just a fragment. Who knows what is going to follow it?" People laughed at the old man. They had always known that he was a little crazy.

But after fifteen days, suddenly one night the horse returned. He had not been stolen, he had escaped into the wild. And not only that, he brought a dozen wild horses with him. Again the people gathered and they said, "Old man, you were right. This was not a misfortune, it has indeed proved to be a blessing." The old man said, "Again you are going too far. Just say that the horse is back... Who knows whether it is a blessing or not? It is only a fragment. You read a single word in a sentence. How can you judge the whole book?"

This time the people could not say much, but inside they knew that he was wrong. Twelve beautiful horses had come. The old man had an only son who started to train the wild horses. Just a week later he fell from a horse and his legs were broken. The people gathered again and again they judged. They said, "Again you proved right! It was a misfortune. Your only son has lost the use of his legs, and in your old age he was your only support. Now you are poorer than ever."

The old man said, "You are obsessed with judgment. Don't go that far. Say only that my son has broken his legs. Nobody knows whether this is a misfortune or a blessing. Life comes in fragments and more is never given to you."

It happened that after a few weeks the country went to war, and all the young men of the town were forcibly taken for the military. Only the old man's son was left, because he was crippled. The whole town was crying and weeping, because it was a losing fight and they knew most of the young people would never come back. They came to the old man and they said, "You were right, old man-this has proved a blessing. Maybe your son is crippled, but he is still with you. Our sons are gone forever." The old man said again, "You go on and on judging. Nobody knows! Only say this, that your sons have been forced to enter into the army and my son has not been forced. But only God, the total, knows whether it is a blessing or a misfortune...."

Similarly, judgment means a stale state of mind. And mind always wants judgment, because to be in process is always hazardous and uncomfortable. In fact, the journey never ends. One path ends, another begins. One door closes another opens. You reach a peak; a higher peak is always there. Only those who are so courageous that they don't bother about the goal but are content with the journey, content just to live the moment and grow into it, only those are able to walk with the total.


Friday, February 8, 2008

Test of love

John Blanchard stood up from the bench, straightened his Army uniform, and studied the crowd of people making their way through Grand Central Station.

He looked for the girl whose heart he knew, but whose face he didn't, the girl with the rose. His interest in her had begun thirteen months before in a Florida library. Taking a book off the shelf he found himself intrigued, not with the words of the book, but with the notes penciled in the margin. The soft handwriting reflected a thoughtful soul and insightful mind.

In the front of the book, he discovered the previous owner's name, Miss Hollis Maynell. With time and effort he located her address. She lived in New York City. He wrote her a letter introducing himself and inviting her to correspond. The next day he was shipped overseas for service in World War II.

During the next year and one-month the two grew to know each other through the mail. Each letter was a seed falling on a fertile heart. A Romance was budding.

Blanchard requested a photograph, but she refused. She felt that if he really cared, it wouldn't matter what she looked like.

When the day finally came for him to return from Europe, they scheduled their first meeting - 7:00 PM at the Grand Central Station in New York.

"You'll recognize me," she wrote, "by the red rose I'll be wearing on my lapel."

So at 7:00 he was in the station looking for a girl whose heart he loved, but whose face he'd never seen.

I'll let Mr. Blanchard tell you what happened:

A young woman was coming toward me, her figure long and slim. Her blonde hair lay back in curls from her delicate ears; her eyes were blue as flowers. Her lips and chin had a gentle firmness, and in her pale green suit she was like springtime come alive.

I started toward her, entirely forgetting to notice that she was not wearing a rose. As I moved, a small, provocative smile curved her lips.

"Going my way, sailor?" she murmured.

Almost uncontrollably I made one step closer to her, and then I saw Hollis Maynell. She was standing almost directly behind the girl. A woman well past 40, she had graying hair tucked under a worn hat. She was more than plump, her thick-ankled feet thrust into low-heeled shoes. The girl in the green suit was walking quickly away.

I felt as though I was split in two, so keen was my desire to follow her, and yet so deep was my longing for the woman whose spirit had truly companioned me and upheld my own.

And there she stood. Her pale, plump face was gentle and sensible, her gray eyes had a warm and kindly twinkle. I did not hesitate. My fingers gripped the small worn blue leather copy of the book that was to identify me to her.

This would not be love, but it would be something precious, something perhaps even better than love, a friendship for which I had been and must ever be grateful. I squared my shoulders and saluted and held out the book to the woman, even though while I spoke I felt choked by the bitterness of my disappointment.

"I'm Lieutenant John Blanchard, and you must be Miss Maynell. I am so glad you could meet me; may I take you to dinner?"

The woman's face broadened into a tolerant smile.

"I don't know what this is about, son," she answered, "but the young lady in the green suit who just went by, she begged me to wear this rose on my coat. And she said if you were to ask me out to dinner, I should go and tell you that she is waiting for you in the big restaurant across the street. She said it was some kind of test!"

Love comes in unexpected forms. Never judge it with your limited perceptions of the world.


Tuesday, February 5, 2008

You are fired!

Does management know their staff as much as they should? Well, not in this story at least!

On walking into the company, the CEO noticed a young guy leaning against the wall, doing nothing. He approached the young man and calmly said to him, "How much do you earn?"

The young man was quite amazed that he was asked such a personal question, he replied, none the less, "I earn Dhs. 2000.00 a month, Sir. Why?"

Without answering, the CEO took out his wallet and removed Dhs. 6000.00 cash and gave it to the young man and said, "Around here I pay people for working, not for standing around looking pretty! Here is 3 months' salary, now GET OUT and don't come back".

The young man turned around and was quickly out of sight. Noticing a few onlookers, the CEO said in a very upset manner, "And that applies for everybody in this company".

He approached one of the onlookers and asked him, "Who's the young man that I just fired?"

To which an amazing reply came of, "He was the pizza delivery man, Sir!"