A Light in a Life of Gloom

Eric Moreno

Photo Credit: Eric Moreno via CC Flickr

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.”

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Which person will you be?

How bright is your light?

The choice is yours!

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Story Source: truthbook.com

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A Man and a Fork

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Photo Credit: Waferboard via CC Flickr

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!

A Man That Had It All (and still does!)

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!!

Scott Neeson

 

 

The Importance of Self-Confidence

Robin Zebrowski

Photo Credit: Robin Zebrowski via CC Flickr

Self-confidence and a strong belief in oneself and the things that you can achieve is a strong trait that an individual can have. When a person has a good self-image, they find that they can not only accomplish their goals but they can achieve things far and above anything that they ever imagined. In other words, sometimes a person who possess a high level of self-confidence, can discover something within themselves that they might not have thought never existed.

Today’s story is a great illustration of this power of self-confidence.

One of the greatest violinists of all time was named Niccolo Paganini. He was born in 1782 and he enjoyed a well-known and memorable career before his death in 1840.

One day as Paganini was about to perform before a packed opera house, he suddenly discovered that he had walked out on stage with the wrong violin. What he was holding was not his valued instrument but one that belonged to someone else.  His cherished violin was made by the master violin maker, Guarneri.

Paganini was horrified and panic-stricken but knowing that he had no other choice, he began to play with all of the skill that he possessed. Everyone agreed, after the performance, that he had given a performance of a lifetime. When he finished his concert, the audience gave him a standing ovation.

After the concert, in his dressing room, he was praised and commended for his marvelous performance, Paganini replied, ” Today, I learned the most important lesson in my entire career. Before today, I thought the music was in my violin but today I learned that the music is in me.”

 

 

 

A Heartwarming Thanksgiving Tale

Bernard Pollack

Photo Credit: Bernard Pollack via CC Flickr

I recently came across a heartwarming story written by Charles Rogers, that I thought would be a beautiful tale to share. It shows us once again, how sometimes, despite millions of people that celebrate Thanksgiving each year, there are still untold numbers of people that are lonely and hurting.

But it can also be a time of sharing and helping others…and sometimes, one act of kindness can have an impact on someone’s life that could last a long time!

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There was a time when old-time Canarsien Ned Caro, who is now 85, celebrated Thanksgiving Day just like the rest of us: with turkey and trimmings and family, and even giving a friendly toast to those pilgrims of long ago. Thanksgiving was a happy event – then.

However, things changed two years ago when his wife of sixty years passed away. “Things will never be the same,” he said, rightfully in the depths of depression. The loneliness was almost unbearable, but Ned knew his religion would see him through. “The Lord has a way of helping people like me,” he said. “I know it now because of what He did for me.”

 A long time ago, Ned was the owner of a popular bar at the corner of Rockaway Parkway and Glenwood Road, right in the heart of Canarsie, so he was used to listening to stories (“It goes with the job,” he would say). He was also used to telling stories (“That went with the job too, if you came into my place,” he added).

He then proceeded to tell his Thanksgiving story, preceding it with the notation that his late wife’s name was Rose. “Rosie,” he called her.

“My beautiful Rosie was kinda sick about six or seven years ago,” he said. “She was in her seventies and I was almost eighty and getting around wasn’t too easy, so we were getting Meals on Wheels at the time.

“Well, one day the Meals on Wheels person delivered the food and Rosie opened the Styrofoam containers the lunch was packed in and found a note in one of the boxes from the person who packed them, a six-year-old girl by the name of Erin Cohen from West-chester. The note said, ‘Whoever receives this box…please write to me. I am six years old and I would like to hear from you and I will write back.'”

Ned said Rose was “happily surprised” and sat down and read the note over and over, finally saying to him, “I think I’ll write to her.”

Rose took up her pen and note paper and sent off a thank you note to six-year-old Erin Cohen of Westchester, telling her who she and Ned were, where they were from and few insignificant details. She didn’t necessarily feel she’d get a reply, but nevertheless, she asked for one.

“And don’t you know? An answer came the very next week,” Ned said. “Rose was as pleased as she could be and that very night she sat down and answered the nice letter she got from Erin. She told her about me and our son and about how things were here in Canarsie. You know. All the basic stuff.”

She sent off the letter and nervously waited to see if the youngster would continue the correspondence.

Needless to say, she did, and sent along a photo of herself, leading to more exchanges and, eventually, a few phone calls.

Unfortunately, they never met face-to-face, though. According to Ned, the drive was “just too much” for him to try. And Erin’s parents – her father, Lawrence, is a veterinarian and her mother, Diane, an interior decorator- couldn’t make it either. Both parties promised they’d get together “soon”…and the time just went…

On March 27, 2004, at the age of 79, Rosie passed away. Ned was devastated, and, after a reasonable period, called Erin’s parents, telling them, “I really don’t know how to tell Erin that her corresponding friend is gone.” They said they would take care of it for him.

“And what do you think if I continue the correspondence from now on?” he asked.

“That would be wonderful!”

In the summer, as Ned and Erin wrote to each other, Erin’s father invited Ned to join them for dinner at a restaurant near Canarsie where he met Erin, now 12 years old.

“We talked for hours and really hit it off,” he said, excitedly. “We had a beautiful day together.”

As time went on, Ned met with the family every now and then for lunch or dinner on a weekend.

Last September, the family sent him a special invitation to Erin’s bat mitzvah, which he had to turn down.

“I don’t drive now,” Ned answered when they called him.

“I’ll pick you up, take you to our house in Westchester and take you home,” said Mr. Cohen. “How would that be?”

“Just about perfect,” was the answer.

“The story doesn’t end there,” Ned Caro said. “Hopefully, the story will continue for a long, long time because this year they invited me to come to share Thanksgiving dinner with their whole family. This year Thanksgiving will be something special to remember. Again they’ll pick me up and take me home. I mean, last year I was pretty lonely, but this year – especially at this time of year – I’ll break bread with Erin and my ‘other’ family. It’ll be almost like it used to be.

“I’ll dedicate the day to Rosie.”

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Source: canarsiecourier.com

 

 

The Beautiful Side of Sports

Photo Credit: Paul L. Dineen via CC Flickr

Photo Credit: Paul L. Dineen via CC Flickr

“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as Christ God forgave you.” – Ephesians 4:32

It was once said that sports and the competition that is found in each athletic contest is much like life…every emotion that you find in sport competition are the same ones that you find in everyday life. Joy, happiness, fulfillment, discipline, hard work, endurance, perseverance, anger, frustration and sportsmanship…just to name a few.

In today’s blog, I would like to share a video of a great story that shows us the beautiful side of sports. Sportsmanship and the belief of having a mind set of helping others, despite when things do not go our way, it a tremendous attribute to possess. It is my hope that you will be inspired by today’s video.

The Little Angel

Photo Credit: Suvodeb Banerjee via CC Flickr

Photo Credit: Suvodeb Banerjee via CC Flickr

There are times in our lives when we all get depressed, down on ourselves, and wonder why we were put into a situation that may seem so unfair or cruel. I recently came across the following short story written by Helen Down on Life if Hope that is a terrific reminder why we shouldn’t focus on the negative things that happen in our lives but to use them to help others that may be experiencing the circumstance as you did.

He looked in the mirror, repelled by the sight of what he saw, a constant reminder of his last fire-fight. ‘Though he’d rescued a man, a dog, and a boy, his fame as a “hero” brought him little joy. His wife had now left him for a more handsome man. She crushed his soul when she said, “Care of an invalid was not in my plan.”

As he stood there bemoaning his unhappy state, he was filled with self-pity, with anger and hate. His dreams for the future now turned upside down, he limped to the park with a deep frown on his face. He decided to give his mind some relief, so he sat down and started to read. As he read, he paid little attention to the movement that began around him.

Then out from a group of some children at play, a ragged young girl approached, her head turned away. Standing close to his side, and her eyes to the ground, she stretched out her arm and said, “Look what I found!” She held in her hand what looked like a weed, all wilted and brown, its flower gone to seed.

The man growled in answer, “Just leave me alone. Get on with your playing, or run along home.”

But the child was undaunted. “I picked these for you. They’re awfully pretty, and I think you are, too.”

The man was annoyed, for her eyes seemed to shift. He pushed her aside, refusing her gift. He thought that she mocked him, as others had done–the object of ridicule, the target for “fun”.

And then something happened. God opened his mind. A new look he took: the wee girl was blind! He reached out and touched her. He patted her head; then accepted her flowers, although they looked dead.

His anger and hatred had started their melt. God’s love, through this child, he knew he had felt. The man turned to thank her, but she wasn’t there. She seemed to have vanished into the noon air. Although day after day to the park the man came, he never did see his small angel again.

But the child had awakened in him a desire to start a new life, to forget that last fire. He went to the hospital, where once he had been. He stood there and stared at familiar scenes. He watched the burn patients in their therapy. In some he saw anger, in some, agony. Remembering so vividly the pain he’d endured, he knew that the “inside” was the hardest to cure. From that moment on, he knew what he’d do. He’d help these folks heal. And his soul would heal, too.

Start to help others and heal your soul…today!