A Story To Live By
My brother-in-law opened the bottom drawer of my sister's bureau and lifted out a tissue wrapped package. "This," he said, "is not a slip. This is lingerie." He discarded the tissue and handed me the slip. It was exquisite: silk, handmade and trimmed with a cobweb of lace. The price tag with an astronomical figure on it was still attached. "Jan bought this the first time we went to New York, at least 8 or 9 years ago. She never wore it. She was saving it for a special occasion. Well, I guess this is the occasion."
He took the slip from me and put it on the bed with the other clothes we were taking to the mortician. His hands lingered on the soft material for a moment, then he slammed the drawer shut and turned to me. "Don't ever save anything for a special occasion. Every day you're alive is a special occasion."
I remembered those words through the funeral and the days that followed when I helped him and my niece attend to all the sad chores that follow an unexpected death. I thought about them on the plane returning to California from the Midwestern town where our family lives. I thought about all the things that she hadn't seen or heard or done. I thought about the things that she had done without realizing that they were special. I'm still thinking about his words, and they've changed my life.
I'm reading more and dusting less. I'm sitting on the deck and admiring the view without fussing about the weeds in the garden. I'm spending more time with my family and friends and less time in committee meetings. Whenever possible, life should be a pattern of experience to savor, not endure. I'm trying to recognize these moments now and cherish them.
I'm not "saving" anything; we use our good china and crystal for every special event such as losing a pound, getting the sink unstopped, the first camellia blossom. I wear my good blazer to the market if I feel like it. My theory is if I look prosperous, I can shell out $28.49 for one small bag of groceries without wincing.
I'm not saving my good perfume for special parties; clerks in hardware stores and tellers in banks have noses that function as well as my party-going friends'. "Someday" and "one of these days" are losing their grip on my vocabulary. If it's worth seeing or hearing or doing, I want to see and hear and do it now.
I'm not sure what my sister would have done had she known that she wouldn't be here for the tomorrow. We all take for granted. It's those little things left undone that would make me angry if I knew that my hours were limited. Angry because I put off seeing good friends whom I was going to get in touch with someday. Angry because I hadn't written certain letters that I intended to write- one of these days. Angry and sorry that I didn't tell my husband and daughter often enough how much I truly love them.
I'm trying very hard not to put off, hold back, or save anything that would add laughter and luster to our lives. And every morning when I open my eyes, I tell myself that it is special. Every day, every minute, every breath truly is...a gift from God.
by Ann Wells in the Los Angeles Times
The Gift of the Gods
It was a warm summer day when the gods placed it in her hands. She trembled with emotion as she saw how fragile it appeared. This was a very special gift the gods were entrusting to her. A gift that would one day belong to the world. Until then, they instructed her, she was to be its guardian and protector. The woman said she understood and reverently took it home, determined to live up to the faith the gods had placed in her.
At first she barely let it out of her sight, protecting it from anything she perceived to be harmful to its well-being; watching with fear in her heart when it was exposed to the environment outside of the sheltered cocoon she had formed around it. But the woman began to realize that she could not shelter it forever. It needed to learn to survive the harsh elements in order to grow strong. So with gentle care she gave it more space to grow...enough to allow it to grow wild and untamed. One day she became aware of how much the gift had changed. It no longer had a look of vulnerability about it. Now it seemed to glow with strength and steadiness, almost as if it were developing a power within. Month after month she watched as it became stronger and more powerful, and the woman remembered her promise. She knew deep within her heart that her time with the gift was nearing an end.
The inevitable day arrived when the gods came to take the gift and present it to the world. The woman felt a deep sadness, for she would miss its constant presence in her life. With heartfelt gratitude she thanked the gods for allowing her the privilege of watching over the precious gift for so many years. Straightening her shoulders, she stood proud, knowing that it was, indeed, a very special gift. One that would add to the beauty and essence of the world around it. And the mother let her child go.
By Renee R. Vroman from Condensed Chicken Soup for the Soul Copyright 1996 by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen & Patty Hansen
May 3,1974 Ohio Senate Democratic primary.
Howard Metzenbaum to John Glenn: "How can you run for Senate when you've never held a 'job'?"
Glenn: "I served 23 years in the United States Marine Corps. I was through two wars. I flew 149 missions. My plane was hit by anti-aircraft fire on 12 different occasions.
"I was in the space program. It wasn't my checkbook, it was my life that was on the line. This was not a 9 to 5 job where I took time off to take the daily cash receipts to the bank. I ask you to go with me...as I went the other day to a Veterans Hospital and look those men with their mangled bodies in the eye and tell them they didn't hold a job. You go with me to any Gold Star mother, and you look her in the eye and tell her that her son did not hold a job.
"You go with me to the space program, and you go as I have gone to the widows and the orphans of Ed White and Gus Grissom and Roger Chaffee, and you look those kids in the eye and tell them that their dad didn't hold a job.
"You go with me on Memorial Day coming up, and you stand on Arlington National Cemetery--where I have more friends than I like to remember--and you watch those waving flags, and you stand there, and you think about this nation, and you tell me that those people didn't have a job.
"I tell you, Howard Metzenbaum, you should be on your knees every day of your life thanking God that there were some men- SOME MEN- who held a job. And they required a dedication to purpose and a love of country and a dedication to duty that was more important than life itself. And their self-sacrifice is what has made this country possible...
I HAVE HELD A JOB, HOWARD!"
THE FRIENDSHIP BAG
(IN A PAPER BAG PLACE ONE OF EACH OF THE FOLLOWING AND GIVE IT TO SOMEONE WHO NEEDS IT!!)
One LIFESAVER (candy): To remind you of the many times others need your help and you need theirs.
One COTTON BALL: For the rough road ahead; seek the cushioned support of God, your family and friends. Psalms 18:18
One RUBBER BAND: A reminder to stay flexible.
One SWEET AND SOUR CANDY: To help you accept and appreciate the differences in others.
One HERSHEY'S HUGS AND KISSES (candy): To remind you that we all need hugs and kisses.
One "HAPPY FACE": Smiling not only increases your face value, it is contagious. Proverbs 15:13
One CANDLE: To remind you the share your light with others. Matthew 5:14-16
One BAND AID: For healing hurt feelings, yours and someone else's.
One RECIPE: To make when you want to do something for someone special, as a symbol of caring.
One ERASER: To remind you that every day you can start over with a clean slate.
TO REMEMBER ME
The day will come when my body will lie upon a white sheet neatly tucked under four corners of a mattress located in a hospital busily occupied with the living and the dying. At a certain moment a doctor will determine that my brain has ceased to function, and that for all intents and purposes, my life has stopped.
When that happens, do not attempt to instill artificial life into my body by the use of a machine. And don't call this my deathbed. Let it be called the Bed of Life, and let my body be taken from it to help others lead fuller lives.
Give my sight to the man who has never seen a sunrise, a baby's face, or love in the eyes of a woman. Give my heart to the person whose own heart has caused nothing by endless days of pain. Give my blood to the teenager who was pulled from the wreckage of her car, so that she might live to see her grandchildren play. Give my kidneys to the one who depends on a machine to exist from week to week. Take my bones, every muscle, every fiber and nerve in my body and find a way to make a crippled child walk.
Explore every corner of my brain. Take my cells, if necessary, and let them grow so that someday, a speechless boy will shout at the crack of a bat and a deaf girl will hear the sound of rain against her window.
Burn what is left of me and scatter the ashes to the winds to help the flowers grow.
If you bury something, let it be all my faults, my weaknesses and all my prejudice against my fellow man.
If, by chance, you wish to remember me, do it with a kind deed or word to someone who needs you. If you do all I have asked, I will live forever.
By Robert N. Test
Through The Eyes of a Child
The following is an essay written by a military child and published in Off Duty Magazine (Feb-March 96).
"A life in the military means a life of opportunity. That's how it's explained to me when it's time to move on. They say there is a welcome for every good-bye and a friend to be made for every one I've had to leave behind. I've had nine bedrooms in 13 years, lived in five different cities and traveled throughout most of the 50 states.
It has meant learning the difference between home and the house you live in. Home is my brothers and my mom and dad. It's all the familiar things in that maze of boxes that make my room my own, no matter where we live.
My life as a military kid has taught me that the world is large when you see it on a map or you're missing a friend, but so much smaller when you actually travel the red and blue lines. I've learned to appreciate peace and having my dad home for Christmas. But more than anything, I've learned that the important things in my life I can carry with me from place to place, either in a box or in my heart."
I Asked God
I asked God for strength, that I might achieve.
I was made weak, that I might learn to obey.
I asked for health, that I might do greater things.
I was given infirmity, that I might do better things.
I asked for riches, that I might be happy.
I was given poverty, that I might be wise.
I asked for power, that I might have the praise of men.
I was given weakness, that I might feel the need of God.
I asked for all things, that I might enjoy life.
I was given life, that I might enjoy all things.
I got nothing that I asked for - but everything I had hoped for.
Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered.
I am, among all men, most richly blessed.
~~I ÁM CÁLLËD GØŠŠIP~
My name is Gossip.
I have no respect for justice.
I maim without killing.
I break hearts and ruin lives
I am cunning and malicious
and gather strength with age.
The more I am quoted
the more I am believed.
I flourish at every level of society.
My victims are helpless.
They cannot protect themselves
against me because
I have no name and no face.
To track me down is impossible
The harder you try, the more elusive I
I am nobody's friend.
Once I tarnish a reputation, it is never the same.
I topple governments and ruin marriages.
I ruin careers and cause sleepless
I spawn suspicion and generate grief.
I make innocent people cry in their pillows.
Even my name hisses.
I AM CALLED GOSSIP.
I make headlines and headaches.
Before you repeat a story ask
IS IT TRUE?
IS IT FAIR?
IS IT NECESSARY?
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