Once upon a time a man swallowed an egg whole. He was afraid to move because he was afraid the egg would break. But he was equally afraid to sit still because he was afraid it would hatch.

Source | Adrian Rogers, Ten Secrets for a Successful Family, Crossway Books, p. 71.


In this day when we are supposed to have so many devices to save time, I’ve never seen so many hurried and restless people! If the computer, the laptop, the cellular phone, and all of these other technological wonders are supposed to save us time, why do we have so little time for the things that  really matter?

Are you perhaps in that place where you are afraid to move and afraid to sit still, allowing yourself to be paralyzed in the process?




The Sufi saint Shams of Tabriz tells the following story about himself:

I have been considered a misfit since my childhood. No one seemed to understand me. My own father once said to me, “You are not mad enough to be put in a madhouse, and not withdrawn enough to be put in a monastery. I don’t know what to do with you.”

I replied, “A duck’s egg was once put under a hen. When the egg hatched the duckling walked about with the mother hen until they came to a pond. The duckling went straight into the water. The hen stayed clucking anxiously on land. Now, dear father, I have walked into the ocean and find in it my home. You can hardly blame me if you choose to stay on the shore.”

Anthony De Mello, SJ | Song of the Bird


  • Are you living up to your original vocation, your deepest call, that is?
  • Are you living up to your potential or perhaps leading a mediocre, non-committed kind of life?
  • Are you satisfied with simply staying on the shore or bold enough to risk entering the waters?


A grammarian once embarked in a boat. Turning to the boatman with a self-satisfied air he asked him:

‘Have you ever studied grammar?’

‘No,’ replied the boatman.

‘Then half your life has gone to waste,’ the grammarian said.

The boatman thereupon felt very depressed, but he answered him nothing for the moment. Presently the wind tossed the boat into a whirlpool. The boatman shouted to the grammarian:

‘Do you know how to swim?’

‘No’ the grammarian replied, ‘my well-spoken, handsome fellow’.

‘In that case, grammarian,’ the boatman remarked, ‘the whole of your life has gone to waste, for the boat is sinking in these whirlpools.’

Source | Tales from Masnavi, Jalal al-Din Rumi
translated by A.J. Arberry


You may be the greatest scholar in the world in your time, but consider, my friend, how the world passes away – and time!


There was a man who had four sons. He wanted his sons to learn to not judge things too quickly. So he sent them each on a quest, in turn, to go and look at a pear tree that was a great distance away. The first son went in the winter, the second in the spring, the third in summer, and the youngest son in the fall.

When they had all gone and come back, he called them together to describe what they had seen. The first son said that the tree was ugly, bent, and twisted. The second son said no – it was covered with green buds and full of promise. The third son disagreed, he said it was laden with blossoms that smelled so sweet and looked so beautiful, it was the most graceful thing he had ever seen. The last son disagreed with all of them; he said it was ripe and drooping with fruit, full of life and fulfillment.

The man then explained to his sons that they were all right, because they had each seen but one season in the tree’s life. He told them that you cannot judge a tree, or a person, by only one season, and that the essence of who they are – and the pleasure, joy, and love that come from that life – can only be measured at the end, when all the seasons are up.


If you give up when it’s winter, you will miss the promise of your spring, the beauty of your summer, fulfillment of your fall. Don’t let the pain of one season destroy the joy of all the rest.

Source | Belief Net


Once upon a time a very curious child asked his mother: “Mommy, why are some of your hairs turning grey?”

The mother, desiring to make this a teaching moment, said to her child: “It is because of you, dear. Every bad action of yours will turn one of my hairs grey!”

The child replied innocently: “Now I know why grandmother has only grey hairs on her head!”


A teaching moment can never be based on a lie, no matter how small or seemingly trivial.


An elderly carpenter was ready to retire.  He told his employer of his plans to leave the house-building business and live a more leisurely life with his wife enjoying his extended family.  He would miss the paycheck, but he needed to retire.  They could get by.

The contractor was sorry to see his good worker go and asked if he could build just one more house as a personal favor.  The carpenter said yes, but in time it was easy to see that his heart was not in his work.  He resorted to shoddy workmanship and used inferior materials.  It was an unfortunate way to end a dedicated career.

When the carpenter finished his work the employer came to inspect the house.  He handed the front-door key to the carpenter.  “This is your house,” he said, “my gift to you.”   The carpenter was shocked!  What a shame!  If he had only known he was building his own house, he would have done it all so differently.

Source | Belief Net


So it is with each one of us.  We build our lives, one day at a time, often putting less than our best into the building. Then with shock we realize we have to live in the house we have built. You are the carpenter.  Every single day you hammer a nail, place a board, erect a wall, fit a carpet.

As a wise person once suggested, “Life is a do-it-yourself project.”  Your attitudes and the choices you make today, build the “house” you live in tomorrow.




It was the coldest winter ever. Many animals died because of the cold. 
The porcupines, realizing the situation, decided to group together to keep warm. 
This way they covered and protected themselves, but the quills of each one wounded their closest companions.

After awhile, they decided to distance themselves one from the other and they began to die, alone and frozen.   So, they had to make a choice: accept the quills of their companions or disappear from the Earth.

Wisely, they decided to get back together and work it out.  
They learned to live with the little wounds caused by their close relationship in order to stay warm and survive.


Is it possible that the best relationship is not the one that brings together perfect people, but the one where individuals learn to live with the imperfections of others?