Lord, may we be willing to take the time to get to know others and open up our lives so that we can learn from each other. Amen.
Who could you include in your circle to grow together?
Lord, may we be willing to take the time to get to know others and open up our lives so that we can learn from each other. Amen.
Who could you include in your circle to grow together?
I got this yesterday in my e-mail and thought it had such a powerful message. Never underestimate the power of friendship, even amongst strangers 🙂
Flowers on the Bus
By Jean Hendrichson
We were a very motley crowd of people who took the bus every day that summer 33 years ago. During the early morning ride from the suburb, we sat drowsily with our collars up to our ears, a cheerless and taciturn bunch.
One of the passengers was a small gray man who took the bus to the center for senior citizens every morning. He walked with a stoop and a sad look on his face when he, with some difficulty, boarded the bus and sat down alone behind the driver. No one ever paid very much attention to him.
The next day, the old man boarded the bus energetically, smiled and said in a loud voice: “And a very good morning to you all!” Some of us looked up, amazed, and murmured “Good morning,” in reply.
The following weeks we were more alert. Our friend was now dressed in a nice old suit and a wide out-of-date tie. The thin hair had been carefully combed. He said good morning to us every day and we gradually began to nod and talk to each other.
One morning he had a bunch of wild flowers in his hand. They were already dangling a little because of the heat. The driver turned around smilingly and asked: “Have you got yourself a girlfriend, Charlie?” We never got to know if his name really was “Charlie”, but he nodded shyly and said yes.
The other passengers whistled and clapped at him. Charlie bowed and waved the flowers before he sat down on his seat.
Every morning after that Charlie always brought a flower. Some of the regular passengers began bringing him flowers for his bouquet, gently nudged him and said shyly: “Here.” Everyone smiled. The men started to jest about it, talk to each other, and share the newspaper.
The summer went by, and autumn was closing in, when one morning Charlie wasn’t waiting at his usual stop. When he wasn’t there the next day and the day after that, we started wondering if he was sick or — hopefully — on holiday somewhere.
When we came nearer to the center for senior citizens, one of the passengers asked the driver to wait. We all held our breaths when she went to the door.
Yes, the staff said, they knew who we were talking about. The elderly gentleman was fine, but he hadn’t been coming to the center that week. One of his very close friends had died at the weekend. They expected him back on Monday. How silent we were the rest of the way to work.
The next Monday Charlie was waiting at the stop, stooping a bit more, a little bit more gray, and without a tie. He seemed to have shrinked again. Inside the bus was a silence akin to that in a church. Even though no one had talked about it, all those of us, who he had made such an impression on that summer, sat with our eyes filled with tears and a bunch of wild flowers in our hands.
There was a blind girl who hated herself because she was blind. She hated everyone, except her loving boyfriend. He was always there for her. She told her boyfriend, “If I could only see the the world, I would marry you.”
One day, someone donated a pair of eyes to her. When the bandages came off, she was able to see everything, including her boyfriend.
He asked her, “Now that you can see the world, will you marry me?” The girl looked at her boyfriend and saw that he was blind. The sight of his closed eyelids shocked her. She hadn’t expected that. The thought of looking at them the rest of her life led her to refuse to marry him.
Her boyfriend left in tears and days later wrote a note to her saying: ‘Take good care of your eyes, my dear, for before they were yours, they were mine.’
This is how the human brain often works when our status changes. Only a very few remember what life was like before, and who was always by their side in the most painful situations.
Life is a gift.
Today before you say an unkind word – Think of someone who can’t speak.
Before you complain about the taste of your food – Think of someone who has nothing to eat.
Before you complain about your husband or wife – Think of someone who’s crying out for a companion.
Today before you complain about life – Think of someone who went to heaven too early.
Before whining about the distance you drive – Think of someone who walks the same distance with their feet.
And when you are tired and complain about your job – Think of the unemployed, the disabled and those who wish they had your job.
And when depressing thoughts seem to get you down – Put a smile on your face and think: you’re alive and still around.
I WOULD LIKE THIS TO MOVE AROUND THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE.
First of all I’d like to thank you, Jason, for inviting me to guest post on your blog. It’s an honor to get an invitation because it means you consider me worthy enough to be included with your stories.
I’ve read through your site and have been contemplating on which story to tell from what part of my life. There are so many and yet, I hesitate to share them because although I learned and grew with each challenge, I prefer not to bring many of the stories into the light. I’ve grown beyond them, to the point that I am thankful, for they’ve made me who I am today.
Strong and independent.
I came to this realization in my early twenties. I was a kind, caring, compassionate human being because of the challenges in my life. I was a trustworthy friend and partner because I had never had anyone who I could trust. The way I had processed my challenges had forged me into a better human being, but my heart was still heavy. I was still carrying around fear, anger and guilt. Guilt is a required emotion, it’s meant to make us think twice about stealing the last cookie from the jar, or not sharing our lottery winnings with co-ticket holders. Unfortunately, it is also a harmful emotion, especially when the guilt has been taught as a form of control.
At the time of my realization, everything was good in my life. I had met and was living with the man I would marry. I’d graduated from college and was working as a counsellor, assisting deaf adults with multiple disabilities, learn the necessary life skills for independent living. And yet, the negative emotions continued to eat me from the inside out.
I decided that in order to attempt to rid my guilt, I would list every inappropriate and mean thing I had done in which my behavior hurt another. Fortunately, the list wasn’t too long! I then set about making my apologies to these people. Some I couldn’t find, like the very heavy boy who had a crush on me in sixth grade. When he asked me to “go out,” I wasn’t able to hurt his feelings and tell him no, so I asked for his phone number instead. He was new to the school and couldn’t remember it. I jokingly responded, “I thought elephants never forgot!” He didn’t tell me I’d hurt him, but it hurt me the minute it left my lips. I was too embarrassed to apologize then and there. One person didn’t call me back, probably because he had moved on and didn’t need to speak with me. Everyone else I spoke to. The process was more painful than anything I’ve ever experienced, there are some things that you never want to speak of again. Stupid things, innocent things, horrible things.
After calling or seeing every one I felt I had hurt, I took stock. I felt a little better. Asking for forgiveness opened the door to allow me to forgive those who had hurt me. I have not forgotten, but I have forgiven. More of the weight lifted.
I then did the most difficult thing of all. I forgave myself. I felt the guilt and the hurt slip away, and in it’s place was an indescribable lightness. I felt connected to something greater than me, larger than the physical world. I felt free.
I know we are meant to live our lives without these negative emotions, and that is what true freedom feels like. Too many people live in self-erected prisons built with negative acts and emotions. I know many people would describe it as being touched by God. It was powerful and provided a clarity that allowed me to see that EVERYTHING was connected.
Every day I live my life by not inviting guilt into it because if you let guilt in, he’s like a guest that will always overstay his welcome.
By Pat Williams
Connect with me
My life has been an inward and outward journey marked by change. The three greatest consistencies have been gratitude, my children and my business. I began CyberCletch LLC – Your Marketing Management Team more than ten years ago. I’ve also worked freelance for a newspaper, was a car dealership service technician, managed boutiques and sold real estate. I’ve lived in two countries, five cities and one township. I haven’t experienced enough of the world yet. I love talking one-on-one with somebody and learning what makes them tick. I spend too much time on my computer and too little time in my kayak. I am constantly seeking that elusive balance. I live for road trips.
Anchors are extremely important to the overall purpose and longevity of a ship.
When lowered, the anchor provides a ship with the ability to withstand the toughest of storms, enabling it to stay in place.
However, many miss the fact that in order for a ship to move along properly, that same anchor must eventually be lifted.
Every day, I have become more amazed at how we as believers have learned to trust God in where He has instructed us to lower our anchors, however (more often than not), refuse to hear from Him when He has instructed us to lift them back up.
Let’s face it: living a life with a lowered anchor is safe.
But living a life with a lifted anchor is not.
Our natural tendency as believers is to anchor down in times of uncertainty.
However, it takes extraordinary faith to become solely reliant on how our God decides to blow the wind. With only a few battered sails, and an old rudder of faith, there are times when we have to lean hard into the peace that can sometimes only be found in the middle of chaos.
It’s no wonder why so many of us have the number of barnacles we have attached to our lives. Many of us have become resistant to movement.
Dare to move your ship away from the shore.
Where you are today–you may have been there way too long.
“I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.”
– Philippians 3:14 (NLT)
by Milan Ford
This is so true and really does apply to everybody. I know I’ve wounded others with my needles at some point during my lifetime, and can only hope and pray that they forgive me. I never intended to hurt anybody, but words do and CAN hurt. I know I’ve been hurt by others before, and it’s not a pleasant feeling. I almost felt like the little girl in this story.
Little Miranda was alone in the garden. I was watching her distractedly, occasionally glancing over the top of my newspaper.
Almost kneeling, she was slowly approaching the fence, trying to make as little noise as possible. I thought she was looking for mushrooms or that she was pretending she was a giant mouse.
But after a few minutes I heard her cry out. It was a lusty cry, followed by a bout of tears. I jumped out of my chair and ran out to the garden, in my bare feet.
Miranda was holding her index finger. It was bleeding, but it didn’t look too bad. I ran some water over it, asking what she could have touched that made her finger bleed, in a garden that I had planted with grass and other harmless plants.
“I wanted to touch the animal,” she replied, “but it didn’t let me come close, so I stretched out my arm and it did this. Then it ran away. It’s too bad. I didn’t want to hurt it.”
“What animal?” I asked.
“The white and black ball, down there,” she said, pointing to the end
of the garden.
I picked up a broomstick I found in the kitchen and went back outside. In the garden, half buried in an old gopher hole, I found the animal. It was a porcupine. I remembered what I had learned in my natural science class.
The porcupine is a solitary animal. When confronted, it either retreats or projects its needles. Once the needles have penetrated the flesh, the wounds become infected and, in some cases, can cause death.
Miranda had presented no danger to the porcupine, but it didn’t know what else to do except wound her, or get wounded itself. Nature, in creating its instinct, gave the porcupine no choice: instead of communicating, it had to launch its needles. That is the only
strategy it knows, and no one can change it, not even a little girl who wants to make a friend.
Is the porcupine the only animal to use this type of defense?
No, people apply it every day of their lives. But our needles are more vicious, and better hidden. Words, blows, looks, anger, pride… these are the arms we use to attack those who
seem to be adversaries.
But even a porcupine has to get close to other porcupines at some time. If not the species would disappear.
“It matters little if we have the most beautiful feelings, if we are not able to communicate them.” ~ Stephan Zweig
So many times in life people hurt your feelings and then they say, “I’m sorry.”
Most of the time, no matter how bad you are hurt, you always just naturally say, “That’s okay,” but the thing is, is it really okay?
The burning, nagging, pulling at your heart says otherwise, but you sort of lie through your teeth and don’t say what you really feel. I think I want to change that and share with people how I really feel.
Letting things just slide by only makes things worse for you because deep down inside, the pain is still there. One thing I do respond to more than words is a sorry and a hug.
For some reason, a hug heals the broken heart and sometimes makes you forget what the issue was in the first place.
It’s like when you are a small child and get hurt, and your mommy kisses the place that hurts. It suddenly doesn’t hurt as bad, and she wipes away your tears then puts a bandage on it and makes it all better.
The next time you hurt someone, especially the one you love, remember even if you apologize and they say, “That’s okay,” you know it really isn’t.
Giving them a hug, criss-crossed arms around them, is like a bandage on their pain.
By Brenda Lambert
I am honored to be able to re-post the following with permission from Painting for Hailey. The blog’s author, Janet Harrold, believes in educating everyone and reminding them that people with disabilities are people just like everyone else. “The more we spread it around, the more it will be heard,” she said.
Just a little reminder
By Janet Harrold
Sometimes words and actions can be hurtful. Being the grandmother of a beautiful little girl who just happens to have C.P., I am reminded everyday how words can be hurtful. More often than not these words are not meant to be offensive, or hurtful, it is simply the lack of understanding.
So I thought I would just subtly remind people to choose their words a bit more carefully. I can’t tell you how many times in a week Hailey comes up in conversation (well, hundreds of times actually, after all I am a proud Grammy). Very often when I happen to see or hear from someone that I haven’t heard from in years or perhaps it just comes up in general conversation that Hailey has C.P.
It never fails, the dreadful words slip off their tongue effortlessly and without much thought “…Oh, I’m so sorry, that must be so difficult. Is this something that she will grow out of?” Or how about this one…”She will never have a good quality of life.” Though I am well aware that her quality of life will be compromised, the reminder is unnecessary, and I chose to focus on challenging her everyday and promoting her independence. These are the kinds of things that will benefit her best. I’ve heard people say that people with C.P. and other disabilities are not normal, and I can’t help but wonder who decides what “normal” is.
As defined in Wikipedia… In behavior, normal refers to a lack of significant deviation from the average. The phrase “not normal” is often applied in a negative sense (asserting that someone or some situation is improper, sick, etc.) Well, Hailey is not improper at all. Actually her actions happen to be more proper than the people who ask these silly questions or make these remarks without thinking them through.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that I didn’t do or say similar things before Hailey was born. I had no idea what to say or how to act around others who had a disability. But now I know better, and I want you to know better, too. Always be aware of the impact your words can have on others. Teach your children that it is ok to talk to people who have a disability, otherwise you are not only sending my child the wrong message, but your child as well. I think it is all in the education. It is the process by which society deliberately transmits its accumulated knowledge, skills and values from one generation to another, so please, pass it along.
Footprints in Your Heart
By Janet Izzo
Lately, I have been reconnecting with friends and acquaintances via social networking. Either I have found them or they have found me. It has been such joy to hear from these dear hearts from years ago. Memories have flooded my mind and I have laughed, cried and found great joy in remembering people and times that were so important to me as a child, a youth and as a young adult. It has been as though I have opened a beautiful story book.
So are we really able to relive our youth? Is it possible to simply close our eyes and see ourselves as we were? Can we shed years of not knowing what had become of those who were so important to us and renew relationships as if no time had elapsed?
At this point, I must admit, it has been quite a reflective journey. We may look a little older (for life can be guilty of that) but miracle of all miracles, every one of my “old” friends are still who they were years ago. Their voices are the same. Their laughs are the same. Their personalities are exactly as they were ions ago and remind me of why they were my chosen friends in the first place.
But what do they think of me? Am I the same care free girl I was so long ago? Are their memories of me good ones? Had I been a loyal and trusted friend during our youth? What do they remember the most about me? Many of those questions have been answered and surprisingly, it has been more of a blessing than anyone can imagine.
If you have not had the opportunity to connect with your past, then I encourage you to reach out! People may have slipped out of your life long ago but those footprints in your heart are there to stay.
About the Author
Janet Izzo is a registered nurse in the state of Minnesota and a member of the Minnesota Nurses Association. She is an inspirational speaker and author of “Hotel Hennepin,” which chronicles her experiences working in a large county hospital in the heart of Minneapolis. The stories Janet relates in “Hotel Hennepin” are poignant, sad and hysterically funny, but all are amazingly true! She is passionate about the nursing profession and she now speaks to nurses and nursing students across the nation on the topic “Nurses Can Make the Difference.”