PLAYING HIDE AND SEEK

There’s a great Hasidic story about the teacher Rabbi Zolman. One day his six- or seven-year-old son came bursting into the house, just sobbing, crying his heart out. He said, “Daddy, we were playing hide and seek,” …he may have addressed him in Hebrew… “Abba, Daddy, I was hiding way out in the woods, and I waited out there, behind the trees for hours. I didn’t know that the kids had decided not to play anymore. They didn’t come and tell me, and I waited out there.”

That wise and wonderful rabbi took his little boy in his arms, and he rocked him and said, “Ah, my son, that’s the way it is with God. God plays hide and seek with us. God hides behind the trees, but we have quit playing the game.”

PONDER AND CONSIDER

  • You may think that the question “how prayerful are you?” would be the right question to ask when it comes to growth and transformation.  But have you ever thought that perhaps an equally important question is, “how playful are you?”
  • We often talk about our desire to find God as if God is lost.  How about allowing ourselves to be found by God, to be called by name and embraced by the source that gives life?


THE SHREWD DONKEY

One day a farmer’s donkey fell down into a well. The animal cried piteously for hours as the farmer tried to figure out a way to get him out. Finally he decided it was probably impossible and the animal was old and the well was dry anyway, so it just wasn’t worth it to try and retrieve the donkey.  So the farmer asked his neighbours to come over and help him cover up the well. They all grabbed shovels and began to shovel dirt into the well.

At first, when the donkey realized what was happening he cried horribly. Then, to everyone’s amazement, he quieted down and let out some happy brays. A few shovel loads later, the farmer looked down the well to see what was happening and was astonished at what he saw. With every shovel of dirt that hit his back, the donkey was shaking it off and taking a step up.

As the farmer’s neighbours continued to shovel dirt on top of the animal, he continued to shake it off and take a step up. Pretty soon, to everyone’s amazement, the donkey stepped up over the edge of the well and trotted off.

PONDER AND CONSIDER

  • From time to time life is going to shovel dirt on you. The trick to getting out of the well is to gently shake it off and take one small step up.  Through the application of creative wisdom every adversity can be turned into a stepping stone.
  • If we face our problems and respond to them positively, and refuse to give in to panic, bitterness, or self-pity the adversities and crises that come along to bury us always have within them the potential to benefit and bless us.

Remember: what happens to you isn’t nearly as important as how you respond to it.

In another version of the same story there is a twist at the end:

The donkey later came back, and bit the farmer who had tried to bury him. The gash from the bite got infected, and the farmer eventually died in agony from septic shock.

THE MORAL OF THE STORY
When you do something  wrong, and try to cover your ass, it always comes to bite you back!

BLESSINGS OF A DEAF FROG

A group of frogs were hopping contentedly through the woods, going about their froggy business, when two of them fell into a deep pit. All of the other frogs gathered around the pit to see what could be done to help their companions. When they saw how deep the pit was, they agreed that it was hopeless and told the two frogs in the pit that they should prepare themselves for their fate, because they were as good as dead.

Unwilling to accept this terrible fate, the two frogs began to jump with all of their might. Some of the frogs shouted into the pit that it was hopeless, and that the two frogs wouldn’t be in that situation if they had been more careful, more obedient to the froggy rules, and more responsible. The other frogs continued sorrowfully shouting that they should save their energy and give up, since they were already as good as dead.

The two frogs continued jumping with all their might, and after several hours of this, were quite weary. Finally, one of the frogs took heed to the calls of his fellow frogs. Exhausted, he quietly resolved himself to his fate, lay down at the bottom of the pit, and died.

The other frog continued to jump as hard as he could, although his body was wracked with pain and he was quite exhausted. Once again, his companions began yelling for him to accept his fate, stop the pain and just die. The weary frog jumped harder and harder and, wonder of wonders, finally leaped so high that he sprang from the pit.

Amazed, the other frogs celebrated his freedom and then gathering around him asked, “Why did you continue jumping when we told you it was impossible?”

The astonished frog explained to them that he was deaf, and as he saw their gestures and shouting, he thought they were cheering him on. What he had perceived as encouragement inspired him to try harder and to succeed against all odds.

PONDER AND CONSIDER

Many things we say or  do are related to what we hear.

  • The book of Proverbs (18:21) says, There is death and life in the power of the tongue”. Your encouraging words can lift someone up and help them make it through the day. Your destructive words can cause deep wounds; they may be the weapons that destroy someone’s desire to continue trying – or even their life.
  • Your destructive, careless word can diminish someone in the eyes of others, destroy their influence and have a lasting impact on the way others respond to them. Be careful what you say.
  • Speak kind and life-giving words of blessing and encouragement to those who cross your path. There is enormous power in words.

CHILDHOOD PERCEPTION

Young Maria, only four years old, returned home from Nursery School complaining, “Mummy, I’ve got a stomach ache.”

“That’s because your stomach is empty,” Sarah, her mother replied kindly. “You’ll feel better when you have something in it.”

She made Maria a small snack and sure enough, maria felt better immediately.

Later that afternoon the pastor, a family friend, dropped by to see Sarah. While he was chatting with Maria’s mum, he mentioned he’d had a bad headache all day long.

Maria perked up straightaway and announced to the pastor, “That’s because it’s empty, father. You’d feel better if you had something in it!”

PONDER

Is it possible that we all see and hear things through our own unique lens?

CALVES AND COMMON SENSE

Ralph Waldo Emerson, the famous nineteenth-century poet and essayist, was out one day trying to get a calf into the barn.

But he made the common mistake of thinking only of what he wanted: Emerson pushed and his son pulled … But the calf stiffened his legs and stubbornly refused to leave the pasture.

The Irish housemaid saw their predicament. She couldn’t write essays and books; but on this occasion at least, she had more horse sense, or calf sense, than Emerson. She put her maternal finger in the calf’s mouth, and let the calf suck her finger as she gently led him into the barn.

Source : Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influence People 

PONDER

Never allow your stubborn attitude to cloud your judgement, especially when considering what is the right thing to do next!

PACO, ALL IS FORGIVEN

No one could really say why he ran away. Or perhaps he didn’t, but was kicked out of his home by his father for something foolish that he said or did. Either way, Paco found himself wandering the streets of Madrid, Spain with hopes of entering into a profession that would most likely get him killed – bullfighting. Those who train under a mentor have a good chance of surviving this profession, but Paco’s memory of his mistakes and guilt over what happened blindly drove him to this one way street to suicide.

But that was the last thing his father wanted, which is why he tried something desperate which he desperately hoped would work. There was little to no chance that he would be able to find Paco by wandering the streets of Madrid , so instead he put an advertisement in the local newspaper El Liberal. The advertisement read,

“Paco, meet me at the Hotel Montana at noon on Tuesday. All is forgiven! Love, Papa.”

Paco is such a common name in Spain that when the father went to the Hotel Montana the next day at noon there were 800 young men named Paco waiting for their fathers…and waiting for the forgiveness they never thought was possible!

From the short story The Capital of the World by Ernest Hemingway
in The Complete Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway

PONDER

  • Imagine your name is Paco too. Would you muster enough courage and show up at the Hotel Montana?
  • What strikes you about this story? How have you offered forgiveness to others? How has forgiveness been offered to you?
  • What does this story say about humanity’s desire for forgiveness?
  • How is forgiveness understood in this story? Is it an act of grace—or something else?
  • Do you think Paco’s father had forgotten about Paco’s misdeeds? Does it even matter?

SAME WATER. WHAT’S THE BIG DEAL?

A young missionary priest was assigned to work in Central America. Upon arrival, and after settling in, the leader of the community picked up the young priest and took him to meet the people. At that time, as was the custom, everyone was having a bath in the river men, women and children, all stark naked. No malice!

When the priest saw this, he was shocked and very upset!  He called  the leader and he commanded him to let the people know that  it was not proper for men, women and children to bathe naked together in the same river. “From now on”, the priest said, “bathing will happen separately.”

One of the man, sensing the upset,  got out of the river, ran towards the priest and said, “Father, what’s wrong with you! What’s the difference, if we take a bath separately or together, it is the same water!”
PONDER
  • When we project our fears and our unease onto others aren’t we judging them?
  • Can it be that wrongdoing and rightdoing exist only in our heads?
  • Can it be that our unreflective intrusions and the enforcement of our way of thinking wound and disturb the innocence of the others whom we are trying to teach and help?