JEREMY’S EGG

Jeremy was born with a twisted body and a slow mind. At the age of 12, he was still in second grade, seemingly unable to learn. His teacher, Doris Miller, often became exasperated with him. He would squirm in his seat, drool, and make grunting noises.

At other times, he spoke clearly and distinctly, as if a ray of light had penetrated the darkness of his brain. Most of the time, however, Jeremy irritated his teacher.

One day she called his parents and asked them to come for a consultation. As the Forresters entered the empty classroom, Doris said to them, “Jeremy really belongs to a ‘special’ school.

“It isn’t fair to him to be with younger children who don’t have learning problems.”

Mrs. Forrester cried softly into a tissue, while her husband spoke.

“Miss Miller,” he said, “There is no school of that kind nearby. It would be a terrible shock for Jeremy if we had to take him out of this school. We know he really likes it here.”

Doris sat for a long time after they had left, staring at the lawn outside the window. She wanted to sympathize with the Forresters. After all, their only child had a terminal illness.

As she pondered the situation, guilt washed over her.

“Here I am complaining, when my problems are nothing compared to that poor family,” she thought.

“Lord, please help me to be more patient with Jeremy.”

From that day on, she tried hard to ignore Jeremy’s noises and his blank stares.

Spring came, and the children talked excitedly about the coming of Easter.

Doris told them the story of Jesus, and then to emphasize the idea of new life springing forth, she gave each of the children a large plastic egg.

“Now,” she said to them, “I want you to take this home and bring it back tomorrow with something inside that shows new life. Do you understand?”

“Yes, Miss Miller,” the children responded enthusiastically, all except for Jeremy. Had he understood what she had said? The next morning, it was time to open the eggs. In the first egg, Doris found a flower. “Oh yes, a flower is certainly a sign of new life,” she said.

The next egg contained a plastic butterfly, which looked very real. Doris held it up. “We all know that a caterpillar changes and grows into a beautiful butterfly. Yes, that’s new life, too.”

Then, Doris opened the third egg. She gasped. The egg was empty. She quietly set the egg aside and reached for another.

Suddenly, Jeremy spoke up. “Miss Miller, aren’t you going to talk about my egg?”

Flustered, Doris replied, “But Jeremy, your egg is empty.” He looked into her eyes and said softly, “Yes, but Jesus’ tomb was empty, too.” Time stopped.

When she could speak again, Doris asked him, “Do you know why the tomb was empty?”

“Oh, yes,” Jeremy said, “Jesus was buried there but the Father raised Him up.” The recess bell rang.

Three months later, Jeremy died. Those who paid their respects at the mortuary were surprised to see 19 eggs on top of his casket –all of them empty.

Source:  Ida Mae Kempel
in Mark Victor Hansen, Patty Aubery & Nancy Autio Jack Canfield
A Taste of Chicken Soup for the Christian Soul
(Health Communications, Inc 2005)

There’s also Jeremy’s Egg, a 2000 film based on Ida Mae Kempel’s story

CONSIDER THIS

Before we get to Easter, we need to linger:
in the vulnerability of the basin and the towel
at the remembrance and promise of the table
in the struggle and betrayal of the garden
in the shadows and shouts of injustice
at the bloody brutal beautiful cross
in the silence of linen and spices and death
For without these, the empty tomb is empty

We Need to Linger by Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia

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THE SAUCER AND THE CATS

A famous art collector is walking through a small town when he notices a cat lapping milk from a saucer in the doorway of a store. He does a double take, recognizing that the saucer is extremely old and very valuable. Thinking quickly he walks casually into the store and offers to buy the cat for two dollars.

Fred the store owner replies, “I’m sorry, but the cat isn’t for sale.”

“Please,” the collector says, “I need a hungry cat around the house to catch mice. I’ll pay you twenty dollars for that cat.”

“Sold!” the store owner says, and hands over the cat.

The collector continues, “Hey, for the twenty bucks I wonder if you could throw in that old saucer. The cat’s used to it and it’ll save me from having to get a dish.”

“Sorry friend,” the store owner says, “but that’s my lucky saucer. So far this week I’ve sold 68 cats!”

Source: Slightly adapted from aish.com

CONSIDER THIS

A cat and a saucer are two different things. So are success and happiness: two different realities.

If we gently practice happiness, we will be happy. There’s no guarantee that we will be successful as well. Similarly, if we towards success, we will be successful but again, not necessarily happy.

If we desire to be both happy and successful we have to invest in both.

Remember: If you want both the cat and the saucer you need to pay for both!

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THIS TOO SHALL PASS

Once upon a time there was Freddie, a wise leader who in spite of his great wisdom often struggled with emotional highs and lows. Freddie was prone to periods of great elation where he would make very poor decisions, and periods of great despair where he would get extremely upset.

One of his associates, Mara was her name, designed and forged a simple ring for Freddie to wear at all times. In her mind this was an ingenious device that would help stop him from getting lost in his high and low moments.

Freddie asked, “How does it work?”

“Wear the ring with you always. In times when you need it most, it will show you the answer and you will know what to do,” replied the Mari.

Almost immediately, another associate showed up saying that the company they both worked for had just lost a lot of money. Everything seemed dark and hopeless, just when at the end of the day, after many phone calls, the tired Freddie looked at his new gift, the ring.  Engraved on the ring was an illuminated message – four simple words which he had not seen before: “This too shall pass.”

All of the sudden, Freddie found new hope, courage and a burst of renewed energy. He went home and surrendered to a good night sleep.

The day after, an unexpected phone call  led to a couple of meetings and the eventual signing of a new contract that not only brought back the money lost but much more.  Elated, Freddie called all his partners and associates, employees and clients and threw a massive celebration for many days. Just when he was losing himself in the midst of the great celebration, Freddie touched the ring and felt the engraving – the four simple words which he had noticed just a few days earlier: “This too shall pass.”

He decided from then on to engage in a daily ritual of intentionally touching gently the ring, feeling the inscription, early in the morning, upon awakening, and at the end of each just before going to sleep.  He carried the four words “this too shall pass” like a mantra, repeating them under his breath, in good times and in bad times, in sickness and in health, in winning and in losing, in light and in darkness: “this too shall pass.”

Source: Unknown
Here I retell the story  based upon variations.

CONSIDER THIS

“If the only thing people learned was not to be afraid of their experience, that alone would change the world.” Syd Banks

COMPLICATED FEELINGS

The confident music student said to the master, “that’s an easy song. It’s not complicated at all. I can play it. It’s all feeling.”

The master, with a smile and a twinkle in her eyes, said, “that may be true, but sometimes feelings are complicated.”

Philip Chircop
Based on a conversation I overheard recently

CONSIDER THIS

We all need to find healthy ways to express our feelings. A good teacher of mine used to say “what is not expressed is always depressed.”

  • How easy it is for you to express what you feel?
  • What gets in the way of expressing your true feelings, no matter how complicated?

“If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.” -Gospel of Thomas #70

MAN, BOY AND DONKEY

A man and his son were once going with their donkey to market. As they were walking along by his side a countryman passed them and said, “You fools, what is a donkey for but to ride upon?” So the man put the boy on the donkey, and they went on their way.

But soon they passed a group of men, one of whom said, “See that lazy youngster, he lets his father walk while he rides.”

So the man ordered his boy to get off and got on himself. But they hadn’t gone far when they passed two women, one of whom said to the other, “Shame on that lazy lout to let his poor little son trudge along.”

Well, the man didn’t know what to do, but at last, he took his boy up before him on the donkey. By this time they had come to the town, and the passers-by began to jeer and point at them. The man stopped and asked what they were scoffing at.

The men said, “Aren’t you ashamed of yourself for overloading that poor donkey of yours – you and your hulking son?”

The man and boy got off and tried to think what to do. They thought and they thought, until at last they cut down a pole, tied the donkey’s feet to it, and raised the pole and the donkey to their shoulders. They went along amid the laughter of all who met them until they came to a bridge, when the donkey, getting one of his feet loose, kicked out and caused the boy to drop his end of the pole. In the struggle, the donkey fell over the bridge, and his fore-feet being tied together, he was drowned.

Source: Joseph Jacobs, The Fables of Aesop
(London: Macmillan and Company, 1902), no. 63, pp. 149-51

CONSIDER THIS

Try to please everyone, and you will please no one.

“What I must do is all that concerns me, not what people think. This rule, equally arduous in actual and in intellectual life, may serve for the whole distinction between greatness and meanness.”

“What I must do is all that concerns me, not what the people think. This rule, equally arduous in actual and in intellectual life, may serve for the whole distinction between greatness and meanness. It is the harder because you will always find those who think they know what is your duty better than you know it. It is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.” – From “Self-Reliance” in Ralph Waldo Emerson’s first series of essays

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EVERYTHING IS BEAUTIFUL

The disciple, visiting the master, exclaimed, “Wow, wow, wow! This is a beautiful patch of land you live on!”

And the master, looking at the disciple, with a hint of a smile, responded saying, “When you have a beautiful mind everything, and everyone, and everywhere is beautiful.”

Source: Based on a short conversation I had with  Venerable Ashin Sunnya,
Chief and Principal of Jivita Dana,
the hospital in Thanbyuzayat, Mon state, Myanmar.

CONSIDER THIS

  • What does it mean to have a beautiful mnind?
  • Would you consider your mind to be a beautiful one?  If yes, what do you think makes it so? What makes your mind beautiful?

YOU BE JESUS

A mother was preparing pancakes for her two sons one Saturday morning. Kevin and Ryan just loved pancakes. In fact, they loved their mom’s pancakes so much that on this particular Saturday morning they began to argue (as brothers will do) over who would get the first pancake. Five-year-old Kevin and three-year-old Ryan were not only fussing; they were also pushing and shoving, trying, each one, to be first in line and get the first pancake.

Their mother saw the opportunity for a moral lesson, so she said, “Boys, boys! Calm down! I want to ask you a question. If Jesus were here with us this morning, what do you think he would say?” No answer. “Well,” she continued, “I’ll tell you what he would say. He would say, ‘Please let my brother have the first pancake; I can wait.’ ”

In reply, five-year-old Kevin said, “Great idea, Mom!” and then he turned to his younger brother and said, “Ryan, you be Jesus!”

James W. Moore, The Best of James W. Moore:
Thoughts on Faith and Grace from a Master Storyteller
(Abingdon Press 2012) pages 21-22

____________________________
Here’s a shorter version of the same story

A mother was making pancakes one Saturday morning for her two little boys. The brothers began squabbling over who was going to get the first pancake. Mom, as mothers often do, saw an opportunity to teach her little boys a lesson. “You know, if Jesus was here he’d say ‘My brother can have the first pancake.’” So the five-year-old turns to the three-year-old and says, “OK. You be Jesus.”

Source: Jeff Dietrich, Broken and Shared,
(Marymount Institute Press / Tsehai Publishers;  2011) page 295

CONSIDER THIS

“The Son of Man came to serve, not be served—and then to give away his life in exchange for the many who are held hostage.” –Matthew 20:28

It’s not just 5-year olds that come up with such logic.  Although we may believe that Jesus has set up an example of servanthood – putting others first – oftentimes we too are a little bit like Kevin, waiting for the other person to be Jesus.

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