Archive for September, 2007

Author Unknown

This is good; I’ll never look at my hands the same!

Grandma, some ninety plus years, sat feebly on the patio bench. She didn’t move, just sat with her head down staring at her hands. When I sat down beside her she didn’t acknowledge my presence and the longer I sat I wondered if she was OK.

Finally, not really wanting to disturb her but wanting to check on her at the same time, I asked her if she was OK. She raised her head and looked at me and smiled. “Yes, I’m fine, thank you for asking,” she said in a clear voice strong.

“I didn’t mean to disturb you, grandma, but you were just sitting here staring at your hands and I wanted to make sure you were OK,” I explained to her.

“Have you ever looked at your hands,” she asked. “I mean really looked at your hands?”

I slowly opened my hands and stared down at them. I turned them over palms up and then palms down. No, I guess I had never really looked at my hands as I tried to figure out the point she was making.

Grandma smiled and related this story: “Stop and think for a moment about the hands you have, how they have served you well throughout your years. These hands, though wrinkled, shriveled and weak have been the tools I have used all my life toreach out and grab and embrace life.

“They braced and caught my fall when as a toddler I crashed upon the floor. They put food in my mouth and clothes on my back. As a child my mother taught me to fold them in prayer. They tied my shoes and pulled on my boots. They held my husband and wiped my tears when he went off to war.

“They have been dirty, scraped and raw, swollen and bent. They were uneasy and clumsy when I tried to hold my newborn son. Decorated with my wedding band they showed the world that I was married and loved someone special. They wrote my letters to him and trembled and shook when I buried my parents and spouse.

“They have held my children and grandchildren, consoled neighbors, and shook in fists of anger when I didn’t understand.

“They have covered my face, combed my hair, and washed and cleansed the rest of my body. They have been sticky and wet, bent and broken, dried and raw. And to this day when not much of anything else of me works real well these hands hold me up, lay me down, and again continue to fold in prayer.

“These hands are the mark of where I’ve been and the ruggedness of life. But more importantly it will be these hands that God will reach out and take when he leads me home. And with my hands He will lift me to His side and there I will use these hands to touch the face of Christ.”

I will never look at my hands the same again. But I remember God reached out and took my grandma’s hands and led her home.

When my hands are hurt or sore or when I stroke the face of my children and husband I think of grandma. I know she has been stroked and caressed and held by the hands of God.

I, too, want to touch the face of God and feel His hands upon my face.

When you receive this, say a prayer for the person who sent it to you and watch God’s answer to prayer work in your life. Let’s continue praying for one another.

Passing this on to anyone you consider a friend will bless you both. Passing this on to one not yet considered a friend is something Christ would do.

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Christopher Notes

“Language has created the word loneliness to express the pain of being alone, and the word solitude to express the glory of being alone.” This comment by theologian Paul Tillich points out how much our feelings color our experience.

To be lonely is to feel isolated – cut off from others and locked into ourselves. It is to feel loss and sadness and self-pity.

But to experience solitude is to be alone with something, such as a book or music – or with God, in meditation or prayer. It is to feel peace and well-being.

To turn loneliness into solitude, we need to concentrate on something outside ourselves. That’s why prayer can free us from isolation. It connects us with the beautiful and the universal, with God.

O my God, I cry by day, but You do not answer; and by night, but find no rest. Yet You are enthroned on the praises of Israel. In You our ancestors . . . trusted, and You delivered them. (Psalm 22:2-4)

When the “lonelies” come, God my companion, console me.

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“Skipper, a special message just came in for you from the admiral,” the sailor said to his captain as he saluted. “I have it right here.

“Read it to me,” the captain ordered.

The sailor read, “You are without a doubt, the most conceited, self-absorbed, EGO-MANIAC ever to command a ship in the United States Navy.”

The skipper responded, “Have that communication decoded at once!”

For some people, it’s all about them. For others, it’s all about you. Like author Leil Lowndes says, “There are two kinds of people in this life. Those who walk into a room and say, ‘Well, here I am.’ And those who walk in and say, ‘Ahh, there you are.'”

Which are you? Are you more focused on getting your own needs met, or on easing the burdens of others? Are you mostly trying to make yourself happy, or are you interested in the happiness of those around you?

Albert Einstein reminded us that “life isn’t worth living, unless it is lived for someone else.” And toward the end of his life, he removed the portraits of two scientists — Isaac Newton and James Maxwell — from his wall. He replaced them with portraits of Mahatma Gandhi and Albert Schweitzer. Einstein explained that it was time to replace the image of success with the image of service.

Maybe the greatest success of all is when we realize that it’s not all about us. And maybe the greatest happiness to be found is when we share the happiness of others.

— Steve Goodier

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