A DISCONCERTING REAPPEARANCE

Once upon a time a young man who had been reported killed in action came home from a prisoner of war camp. His family and his buddies and even his girlfriend had mourned him as dead and then more or less got over their grief.

His sudden reappearance was disconcerting, to say the least. They had all loved him, but they had in effect written him out of their lives. His girlfriend was engaged to marry someone else. Moreover, he didn’t seem like the boy who had gone off to war. He was thin and haggard and haunted.

However, he was now mature, self-possessed, and, astonishingly, happy. He hadn’t smiled much as a kid and rarely joked. Now he was witty and ebullient all the time. A quiet kid had become an outgoing adult man. He didn’t fit in the patterns of relationships he had left behind. Quite the contrary, his happiness and maturity were unsettling. He congratulated his former girlfriend on her coming marriage and shook hands cordially with the fiancé. There’s something wrong with him, everyone said. His family went to the priest. There sure is, the priest said – he has risen from the dead and now acts like a saint.

Source: Andrew M. Greeley, April 20, 2003
www.agreeley.com

CONSIDER THIS

  • “Anyone who comes to me but refuses to let go of father, mother, spouse, children, brothers, sisters—yes, even one’s own self!—can’t be my disciple.” – Luke 14:26
  • “What requires courage is being willing to disappoint and upset all those friends and family members who want us to stay the way we are, because they want to stay the way they are. It’s being prepared to redefine success and failure, and to become a fool if need be. At heart it’s being willing to receive information from the darkness within, so there can be less of us that is buried, and more of us resurrected.”  -David Weale
Advertisements

BACK TO LIFE

A widow’s husband was about to be buried. Family, relatives and friends gathered at the funeral home for the wake.

When the pallbearers were carrying the casket out of the funeral parlour, they accidentally bumped it against the exit door, and lo and behold the man came back to life.

Some years later the husband died again.  This time, following the prayers at the mortuary, the widow looked at the pallbearers, as they were bringing the casket out, and said to them, “Go slow and pay attention. Please, make sure you don’t hit the door again!”

Source: Unknown

CONSIDER THIS

Monk and author Thomas Merton once said that in considering any important decision in life, and certainly in considering our priorities in life, it’s imperative to “consult our death.”

Remembering that we all have an expiration date can help us live our lives to the fullest.

THE WEALTHY BUSINESSMAN AND THE REALLY RICH FISHERMAN

A wealthy businessman was horrified to see a fisherman sitting beside his boat, playing with a small child.

“Why aren’t you out fishing?” asked the businessman.

“Because I caught enough fish for one day,” replied the fisherman.

“Why don’t you catch some more?”

“What would I do with them?”

“You could earn more money,” said the businessman. “Then with the extra money, you could buy a bigger boat, go into deeper waters, and catch more fish. Then you would make enough money to buy nylon nets. With the nets, you could catch even more fish and make more money. With that money you could own two boats, maybe three boats. Eventually you could have a whole fleet of boats and be rich like me.”

“Then what would I do?” asked the fisherman.

“Then,” said the businessman, “you could really enjoy life.”

The fisherman looked at the businessman quizzically and asked, “What do you think I am doing now?”

Source | Mitch Anthony, The New Retirementality
(John Wiley & Sons, 2008) pages 97-98

CONSIDER THIS

Money, wealth and contentment are not necessarily linked. If they were, there would be no such thing as a miserable rich person or a happy poor one.

What do you think is the main ingredient for a life worth living, brimming with inner peace and contentment?

 

PEACE, QUIET AND FLOWERS

A mother with five small children decided that their summer vacation should begin with planting a garden. So she took her little brood to the nursery where, for the next two hours, they squabbled over who gets to push the cart, insisted on seeing every plant in the five-acre greenhouse, cried very hard when there were no pick petunias, and broke a large clay pot. Home at last, she complained to her very patient husband “All I want is peace and quiet and some beautiful flowers.”  “My dear” said her husband, “I believe they call that a funeral.”

Source | Unknown

CONSIDER THIS “The fishermen know that the sea is dangerous and the storm terrible, but they have never found these dangers sufficient reason for remaining ashore” | Vincent Van Gogh

WHAT HAPPENED ON EASTER?

“Can anyone tell me what happened on Easter?” the pastor in an affluent inner city parish asked. There was total and utter silence.

The pastor, persisting, asked again politely, “Now I know that someone here knows what happened on Easter a long, long time ago.” Again, total silence.

Finally, visibly frustrated, the pastor asked more forcefully, “Will somebody, anybody,  please tell me what happened on Easter Sunday!”

Finally, little Freddie (never at a loss for words) tentatively raised his hand and said, “They killed Jesus!”

“That’s right,” said the pastor, “And then what?”

“They put him in the ground!” (Freddie spoke with more confidence).

“Right! Right! Very good!” the proud pastor affirmed, “and then what?”

“And he was there for three days!” continued Freddie, now fully trusting his voice.

“And then what?” the pastor continued.

“And on Easter morning, Jesus comes out of the ground!” continued Freddie, now fully confident he had it all right.

“Wonderful! Amazing! Perfect!” the pastor joyfully agreed.

And then Freddie continued, ”And if Jesus sees his shadow, there will be six more weeks of bad weather, six more weeks of winter!”

Source | As heard and remembered
during a recent conference I happened to be part of.

CONSIDER THIS

A lot of people are like little Freddie –  they know bits and pieces about the Easter story, but the details are not all that clear. In the midst of easter bunnies and colourfully painted eggs, it’s easy to forget the real meaning of greatest festival of faith: Easter!

Today, and in the coming days, consider this: what is Easter for you” What does it mean? And what difference does it make in your life?

GIVING YOUR LIFE

Itzhak Perlman is one of the finest violinists alive today. Several years ago, Perlman agreed to attend a charity reception after one of his concerts in Vienna. Tickets for the champagne reception were sold for the equivalent of five hundred American dollars per guest.

At the reception, while the guests mingled, Itzhak Perlman stood in a roped-off area flanked by security guards. One by one the guests were led into the roped-off area and introduced to Perl-man. As one man entered the roped-off area, he stretched out his hand, shook hands with the violinist, and said, “Mr. Perlman, you were phenomenal tonight. Absolutely amazing.” Perlman smiled and thanked the man graciously for the compliment. The man continued, “All my life I have had a great love of the violin, and I have heard every great living violinist, but I have never heard any-one play the violin as brilliantly as you did tonight.” Perlman smiled again but said nothing, and the man continued, “You know, Mr. Perlman, I would give my whole life to be able to play the violin like you did tonight.”

Perlman smiled once more and said, “I have.”

Source | Matthew Kelly,
The Rhythms of Life (Touchstone; Reprint edition, 2005)
pages 40-41

CONSIDER THIS

That is the difference. While some of us are sitting around letting the sand in the hourglass of life empty, thinking, I would give my whole life to be able to do that, or, I hope that happens to me one day, people like Itzhak Perlman are getting the job done. They are giving their whole lives to the magnificent and meaningful pursuit of their deepest dream, giving flesh to their deepest desire.

THE ONE THING MISSING

An aspiring artist sculpted a beautiful angel and wanted the master artist, Michelangelo, to inspect it and offer his opinion. So Michelangelo was called in. The master artist carefully looked at the sculpture from every imaginable angle.

Finally, he said, “Well, it lacks only one thing.” Then he turned around and walked out.

The puzzled would-be artist didn’t understand, and he certainly didn’t know what it lacked. Too embarrassed to go and ask Michelangelo himself, he sent a friend to Michelangelo’s studio to try and find out what his statue lacked.

The great artist replied, “It lacks only life.”

Source | Unknown. This is the version as remembered, heard during a seminar.

CONSIDER THIS

Do you feel like a sculpture without breath? Is it possible that many so-called believers (myself included when ungrounded)  are sculptures without life, works of art without a soul?  Many people have all kinds of things and the latest gadgets, but lack life.

  • We may have a car or a motorbike or both, but do we have direction for living?
  • We may dwell in a nice, big home, but do we have enduring inner peace and contentment?
  • We may have money, lots of it, but do we have a real sense of security?
  • We may have clothes filling our closets to overflowing, but do we have an authentic self-worth to coat our spirit and soul?
  • We may have many friends, but are we really connected? Or are we suffering from an unbearable hollow sense of loneliness?
  • We may be meeting all of our goals, amassing accomplishments along the way, but are we calm and serene? Or is anxiety leaving us feeling undone?

Spend some time with these questions and then consider a final one:

  • Is there something still missing? Are we lacking the one thing necessary: Life?