14.10.12

The Story of the Butterfly

"Sometimes struggles are exactly what we need in our lives.Going through life with no obstacles would cripple us.We will not be as strong as we could have been and we would never fly."

A man found a cocoon of a butterfly.
One day a small opening appeared.
He sat and watched the butterfly for several hours

as it struggled to squeeze its body through the tiny hole.
Then it stopped, as if it couldn't go further.

So the man decided to help the butterfly.
He took a pair of scissors and
snipped off the remaining bits of cocoon.
The butterfly emerged easily but
it had a swollen body and shriveled wings.

The man continued to watch it,
expecting that any minute the wings would enlarge
and expand enough to support the body,
Neither happened!
In fact the butterfly spent the rest of its life
crawling around.
It was never able to fly.

What the man in his kindness
and haste did not understand:
The restricting cocoon and the struggle
required by the butterfly to get through the opening
was a way of forcing the fluid from the body
into the wings so that it would be ready
for flight once that was achieved.


Human Value

"Life is full of ups and downs. It is easy to lose hope and confidence. This little story helps us to realize that no matter what happens, we remain valuable as individuals."

A well known speaker started off his seminar by holding up a $20 bill.

In the room of 200, he asked, “Who would like this $20 bill?”

Hands started going up.

He said, “I am going to give this $20 to one of you but first, let me do this.” He proceeded to crumple the dollar bill up.

He then asked, “Who still wants it?”

Still the hands were up in the air.

“Well,” he replied, “What if I do this?” And he dropped it on the ground and started to grind it into the floor with his shoe.

He picked it up, now all crumpled and dirty. “Now who still wants it?”

Still the hands went into the air.

“My friends, no matter what I did to the money, you still wanted it because it did not decrease in value. It was still worth $20.

Many times in our lives, we are dropped, crumpled, and ground into the dirt by the decisions we make and the circumstances that come our way.

We feel as though we are worthless. But no matter what has happened or what will happen, you will never lose your value. You are special – Don’t ever forget it!”


-Author Unknown

2.10.12

The horse that wanted more beauty

“Never try to achieve or receive more than I have given you. Each thing in my creation has its own good qualities."
A cosmic god had a horse. The horse was beautiful and also it had many good qualities. But it wanted to be more perfect in every way. It especially wanted to become beauty unparalleled.

One day the horse said to the cosmic god, “0 Lord, you have given me beauty. You have given me other good qualities. I am so grateful to you. But how I wish you could make me more beautiful. I would be extremely, extremely grateful if you could make me more beautiful.”

The cosmic god said, “I am more than ready to make you more beautiful. Tell me in what way you want to be changed.”

The horse said, “It seems to me that I am not well proportioned. My neck is too short. If you can make my neck a little longer, my upper body will be infinitely more beautiful. And if you can make my legs much longer and thinner, then I will look infinitely more beautiful in my lower body.”

The cosmic god said, “Amen!” Then immediately he made a camel appear in place of the horse. The horse was so disheartened that it started to cry, “0 Lord, I wanted to become more beautiful. In what way is this kind of outer form more beautiful?”

The cosmic god said, “This is exactly what you asked for. You have become a camel.”

The horse cried, “Oh no, I do not want to become a camell I wish to remain a horse. As a horse, everybody appreciated my good qualities. Nobody will appreciate me as a camel.”

The cosmic god said, “Never try to achieve or receive more than I have given you. If you want to lead a desire-life, then at every moment you will want more and more. But you have no idea what the outcome will be. If you cry for a longer neck and legs, this is what will happen. Each thing in my creation has its own good qualities. The camel is not as beautiful as you are, but it carries heavy loads and has a tremendous sense of responsibility.

Decide!


“Don’t hope, friend… decide!”

While waiting to pick up a friend at the airport in Portland, Oregon, I had one of those life-changing experiences that you hear other people talk about — the kind that sneaks up on you unexpectedly. This one occurred a mere two feet away from me.

Straining to locate my friend among the passengers deplaning through the jet way, I noticed a man coming toward me carrying two light bags. He stopped right next to me to greet his family.

First he motioned to his youngest son (maybe six years old) as he laid down his bags. They gave each other a long, loving hug. As they separated enough to look in each other’s face, I heard the father say, “It’s so good to see you, son. I missed you so much!” His son smiled somewhat shyly, averted his eyes and replied softly, “Me, too, Dad!”

Then the man stood up, gazed in the eyes of his oldest son (maybe nine or ten) and while cupping his son’s face in his hands said, “You’re already quite the young man. I love you very much, Zach!” They too hugged a most loving, tender hug.

While this was happening, a baby girl (perhaps one or one-and-a-half) was squirming excitedly in her mother’s arms, never once taking her little eyes off the wonderful sight of her returning father. The man said, “Hi, baby girl!” as he gently took the child from her mother. He quickly kissed her face all over and then held her close to his chest while rocking her from side to side. The little girl instantly relaxed and simply laid her head on his shoulder, motionless in pure contentment.

After several moments, he handed his daughter to his oldest son and declared, “I’ve saved the best for last!” and proceeded to give his wife the longest, most passionate kiss I ever remember seeing. He gazed into her eyes for several seconds and then silently mouthed. “I love you so much!” They stared at each other’s eyes, beaming big smiles at one another, while holding both hands.

For an instant they reminded me of newlyweds, but I knew by the age of their kids that they couldn’t possibly be. I puzzled about it for a moment then realized how totally engrossed I was in the wonderful display of unconditional love not more than an arm’s length away from me. I suddenly felt uncomfortable, as if I was invading something sacred, but was amazed to hear my own voice nervously ask, “Wow! How long have you two been married?

“Been together fourteen years total, married twelve of those.” he replied, without breaking his gaze from his lovely wife’s face. “Well then, how long have you been away?” I asked. The man finally turned and looked at me, still beaming his joyous smile. “Two whole days!”

Two days? I was stunned. By the intensity of the greeting, I had assumed he’d been gone for at least several weeks – if not months. I know my expression betrayed me.

I said almost offhandedly, hoping to end my intrusion with some semblance of grace (and to get back to searching for my friend), “I hope my marriage is still that passionate after twelve years!”

The man suddenly stopped smiling.

He looked me straight in the eye, and with forcefulness that burned right into my soul, he told me something that left me a different person. He told me, “Don’t hope, friend… decide!” Then he flashed me his wonderful smile again, shook my hand and said, “God bless!”


- By Michael D. Hargrove and Bottom Line Underwriters, Inc.

1.10.12

Hospital Windows

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 roommate 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. Days and weeks passed.

One morning, the day nurse arrived to bring water for their baths only to find the lifeless body of the man by the window, who had died peacefully in his sleep. She was saddened and called the hospital attendants to take the body 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 for 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."


The Boy with a Cancer

Sally jumped up as soon as she saw the surgeon come out of the operating room. She said: “How is my little boy? Is he going to be all right? When can I see him?”

The surgeon said, “I’m sorry. We did all we could, but your boy didn’t make it.”

Sally said, “Why do little children get cancer? Doesn’t God care any more? Where were you, God, when my son needed you?”

The surgeon asked, “Would you like some time alone with your son? One of the nurses will be out in a few minutes, before he’s transported to the university.”

Sally asked the nurse to stay with her while she said good-bye to son. She ran her fingers lovingly through his thick red curly hair.

“Would you like a lock of his hair?” the nurse asked.

Sally nodded yes. The nurse cut a lock of the boy’s hair, put it in a plastic bag and handed it to Sally. The mother said, “It was Jimmy’s idea to donate his body to the university for study. He said it might help somebody else. “I said no at first, but Jimmy said, ‘Mom, I won’t be using it after I die. Maybe it will help some other little boy spend one more day with his Mom.” She went on, “My Jimmy had a heart of gold. Always thinking of someone else. Always wanting to help others if he could.”

Sally walked out of Children’s mercy Hospital for the last time, after spending most of the last six months there. She put the bag with Jimmy’s belongings on the seat beside her in the car. The drive home was difficult. It was even harder to enter the empty house. She carried Jimmy’s belongings, and the plastic bag with the lock of his hair to her son’s room. She started placing the model cars and other personal things back in his room exactly where he had always kept them. She laid down across his bed and, hugging his pillow, cried herself to sleep.

It was around midnight when Sally awoke. Laying beside her on the bed was a folded letter. The letter said:

“Dear Mom, 
I know you’re going to miss me; but don’t think that I will ever forget you, or stop loving you, just ’cause I’m not around to say I LOVE YOU. I will always love you, Mom, even more with each day. Someday we will see each other again. Until then, if you want to adopt a little boy so you won’t be so lonely, that’s okay with me. He can have my room and old stuff to play with. But, if you decide to get a girl instead, she probably wouldn’t like the same things us boys do. You’ll have to buy her dolls and stuff girls like, you know. Don’t be sad thinking about me. This really is a neat place. Grandma and Grandpa met me as soon as I got here and showed me around some, but it will take a long time to see everything. The angels are so cool. I love to watch them fly. And, you know what? Jesus doesn’t look like any of his pictures. Yet, when I saw Him, I knew it was Him. Jesus himself took me to see GOD! And guess what, Mom? I got to sit on God’s knee and talk to Him, like I was somebody important. That’s when I told Him that I wanted to write you a letter, to tell you good-bye and everything. But I already knew that wasn’t allowed. Well, you know what Mom? God handed me some paper and His own personal pen to write you this letter. I think Gabriel is the name of the angel who is going to drop this letter off to you. God said for me to give you the answer to one of the questions you asked Him ‘Where was He when I needed him?’ “God said He was in the same place with me, as when His son Jesus was on the cross. He was right there, as He always is with all His children. 
Oh, by the way, Mom, no one else can see what I’ve written except you. To everyone else this is just a blank piece of paper. Isn’t that cool? I have to give God His pen back now. He needs it to write some more names in the Book of Life. Tonight I get to sit at the table with Jesus for supper. I’m, sure the food will be great. 
Oh, I almost forgot to tell you. I don’t hurt anymore. The cancer is all gone. I’m glad because I couldn’t stand that pain anymore and God couldn’t stand to see me hurt so much, either. That’s when He sent The Angel of Mercy to come get me. The Angel said I was a Special Delivery! How about that? 

28.9.12

Helpless love

“The important message is that when we are prosperous, we overlook love. When we feel important, we forget love. Even in happiness and sorrow we forget love. Only with time do we realize the importance of love. Why wait that long? Why not make love a part of your life today?”

Once upon a time all feelings and emotions went to a coastal island for a vacation. According to their nature, each was having a good time. Suddenly, a warning of an impending storm was announced and everyone was advised to evacuate the island.

The announcement caused sudden panic. All rushed to their boats. Even damaged boats were quickly repaired and commissioned for duty.

Yet, Love did not wish to flee quickly. There was so much to do. But as the clouds darkened, Love realised it was time to leave. Alas, there were no boats to spare. Love looked around with hope.

Just then Prosperity passed by in a luxurious boat. Love shouted, “Prosperity, could you please take me in your boat?”

“No,” replied Prosperity, “my boat is full of precious possessions, gold and silver. There is no place for you.”

A little later Vanity came by in a beautiful boat. Again Love shouted, “Could you help me, Vanity? I am stranded and need a lift. Please take me with you.”

Vanity responded haughtily, “No, I cannot take you with me. My boat will get soiled with your muddy feet.”

Sorrow passed by after some time. Again, Love asked for help. But it was to no avail. “No, I cannot take you with me. I am so sad. I want to be by myself.”

When Happiness passed by a few minutes later, Love again called for help. But Happiness was so happy that it did not look around, hardly concerned about anyone.

Love was growing restless and dejected. Just then somebody called out, “Come Love, I will take you with me.” Love did not know who was being so magnanimous, but jumped on to the boat, greatly relieved that she would reach a safe place.

On getting off the boat, Love met Knowledge. Puzzled, Love inquired, “Knowledge, do you know who so generously gave me a lift just when no one else wished to help?”

Knowledge smiled, “Oh, that was Time.”

“And why would Time stop to pick me and take me to safety?” Love wondered.

Knowledge smiled with deep wisdom and replied, “Because only Time knows your true greatness and what you are capable of. Only Love can bring peace and great happiness in this world.”


27.9.12

A Date with Mom

"A deceased mother finds a way to tell her son what their last dinner together meant to her."

After 21 years of marriage, my wife wanted me to take another woman out to dinner and a movie. She said, "I love you, but I know this other woman loves you and would love to spend some time with you."

The other woman that my wife wanted me to visit was my mother, who had been a widow for 19 years, but the demands of my work and my 3 children had made it possible to visit her only occasionally.

That night I called to invite her to go out for dinner and a movie.

"What's wrong, are you well?" she asked. My mother is the type of woman who suspects that a late night call or surprise invitation is a sign of bad news.

"I thought that it would be pleasant to spend some time with you," I responded. "Just the two of us."

She thought about it for a moment, and then said, "I would like that very much."

That Friday after work, as I drove over to pick her up I was a bit nervous. When I arrived at her house, I noticed that she, too, seemed to be nervous about our date. She waited in the door with her coat on. She had curled her hair and was wearing the dress that she had worn to celebrate her last wedding anniversary. She smiled from a face that was as radiant as an Angel's. "I told my friends that I was going to go out with my son, and they were impressed," she said, as she got into the car. "They can't wait to hear about our meeting."

We went to a restaurant that, although not elegant, was very nice and cozy. My mother took my arm as if she were the First Lady. After we sat down, I had to read the menu. Her eyes could only read large print. Half way through the entries, I lifted my eyes and saw Mom sitting there staring at me. A nostalgic smile was on her lips. "It was I who used to have to read the menu when you were small," she said. "Then it's time that you relax and let me return the favor," I responded.

During the dinner, we had an agreeable conversation — nothing extraordinary but catching up on recent events of each other's life. We talked so much that we missed the movie. As we arrived at her house later, she said, "I'll go out with you again, but only if you let me invite you." I agreed.

"How was your dinner date?" Asked my wife when I got home.

"Very nice. Much more so than I could have imagined," I answered.

A few days later, my mother died of a massive heart attack. It happened so suddenly that I didn't have a chance to do anything for her. Some time later, I received an envelope with a copy of a restaurant receipt from the same place where mother and I had dined. An attached note said: "I paid this bill in advance. I wasn't sure that I could be there; but nevertheless I paid for two plates — one for you and the other for your wife. You will never know what that night meant for me."

"I love you, son." 


At that moment, I understood the importance of saying in time: "I love you," and to give our loved ones the time that they deserve. Nothing in life is more important than your family. Give them the time they deserve, because these things cannot be put off till "some other time." 



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