Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Enlightened Perspective by Andy Rooney

Amazon.com books by Andy Rooney
Andy Rooney, an American radio and television writer, has the gift of saying so much with so few words.

I've learned .... That the best classroom in the world is at the feet of an elderly person.

I've learned .... That when you're in love, it shows.

I've learned .... That just one person saying to me, 'You've made my day!' makes my day.

I've learned .... That having a child or a dog fall asleep in your arms is one of the most peaceful feelings in the world.

I've learned .... That being kind is more important than being right.

I've learned . .... That you should never say no to a gift from a child.

I've learned .... That I can always pray for some one when I don't have the strength to help him in some other way.


I've learned .... That sometimes all a person needs is a hand to hold and a heart to understand.

I've learned .... That it's those small daily happenings that make life so spectacular.

I've learned ... That under everyone's hard shell is someone who wants to be appreciated and loved.

I've learned .... That to ignore the facts does not change the facts.

I've learned .... That love, not time, heals all wounds.

I've learned .... That the easiest way for me to grow as a person is to surround myself with people smarter than I am.

I've learned .... That everyone you meet deserves to be greeted with a smile.

I've learned ..... That no one is perfect until you fall in love with them.

I've learned ... That life is tough, but I'm tougher.

I've learned .... That opportunities are never lost; someone will take the ones you miss.

I've learned .... That one should keep his words both soft and tender, because tomorrow he may have to eat them.

I've learned .... That a smile is an inexpensive way to improve your looks.

I've learned .... That everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness, and growth occurs while you're climbing it.

I've learned .... That the less time I have to work with, the more things I get done.

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Thursday, April 23, 2009

God lives under the bed

I envy Kevin. My brother, Kevin, thinks God lives under his bed. At least that's what I heard him say one night. He was praying out loud in his dark bedroom, and I stopped to listen, 'Are you there, God?' he said. 'Where are you? Oh, I see. Under the bed...'

I giggled softly and tiptoed off to my own room. Kevin's unique perspectives are often a source of amusement. But that night something else lingered long after the humor. I realized for the first time the very different world Kevin lives in.

He was born 30 years ago, mentally disabled as a result of difficulties during labor. Apart from his size (he's 6-foot-2), there are few ways in which he is an adult. He reasons and communicates with the capabilities of a 7-year-old, and he always will. He will probably always believe that God lives under his bed, that Santa Claus is the one who fills the space under our tree every Christmas and that airplanes stay up in the sky because angels carry them.

I remember wondering if Kevin realizes he is different. Is he ever dissatisfied with his monotonous life? Up before dawn each day, off to work at a workshop for the disabled, home to walk our cocker spaniel, return to eat his favorite macaroni-and-cheese for dinner, and later to bed.

The only variation in the entire scheme is laundry, when he hovers excitedly over the washing machine like a mother with her newborn child. He does not seem dissatisfied. He lopes out to the bus every morning at 7:05, eager for a day of simple work. He wrings his hands excitedly while the water boils on the stove before dinner, and he stays up late twice a week to gather our dirty laundry for his next day's laundry chores.

Saturdays - oh, the bliss of Saturdays! That's the day my Dad takes Kevin to the airport to have a soft drink, watch the planes land, and speculate loudly on the destination of each passenger inside. 'That one's goin' to Chi-car-go! ' Kevin shouts as he claps his hands. His anticipation is so great he can hardly sleep on Friday nights. So goes his world of daily rituals and weekend field trips.

He doesn't know what it means to be discontent. His life is simple. He will never know the entanglements of wealth of power, and he does not care what brand of clothing he wears or what kind of food he eats. His needs have always been met, and he never worries that one day they may not be. His hands are diligent.

Kevin is never so happy as when he is working. When he unloads the dishwasher or vacuums the carpet, his heart is completely in it. He does not shrink from a job when it is begun, and he does not leave a job until it is finished. But when his tasks are done, Kevin knows how to relax. He is not obsessed with his work or the work of others.

His heart is pure. He still believes everyone tells the truth, promises must be kept, and when you are wrong, you apologize instead of argue. Free from pride and unconcerned with appearances, Kevin is not afraid to cry when he is hurt, angry or sorry. He is always transparent, always sincere.

And he trusts God. Not confined by intellectual reasoning, when he comes to Christ, he comes as a child.

Kevin seems to know God - to really be friends with Him in a way that is difficult for an 'educated' person to grasp. God seems like his closest companion.

In my moments of doubt and frustrations with my Christianity, I envy the security Kevin has in his simple faith. It is then that I am most willing to admit that he has some divine knowledge that rises above my mortal questions. It is then I realize that perhaps he is not the one with the handicap. I am. My obligations, my fear, my pride, my circumstances - they all become disabilities when I do not trust them to God's care.

Who knows if Kevin comprehends things I can never learn? After all, he has spent his whole life in that kind of innocence, praying after dark and soaking up the goodness and love of God.

And one day, when the mysteries of heaven are opened, and we are all amazed at how close God really is to our hearts, I'll realize that God heard the simple prayers of a boy who believed that God lived under his bed.

Kevin won't be surprised at all!

Sorry, we don't know the source of this lovely story.

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Saturday, April 4, 2009

Speed Trap in Charlotte

President Ronald Reagan and first lady Nancy Reagan greet Graham at the National Prayer Breakfast of 1981
President Ronald Reagan and first lady Nancy Reagan greet Graham at the National Prayer Breakfast of 1981
Billy Graham was returning to Charlotte after a speaking engagement. When his flight arrives, there is a limousine waiting to transport him to his home. As he prepares to get into the limo, he stops and says to the driver, 'You know, I am 87 years old and I have never driven a limousine. Would you mind if I drove it for a while?'

The driver says, 'No problem, Rev. Graham. Have at it!'

Billy Graham gets into the driver's seat. Soon, they head off down the highway. A short distance away is a rookie North Carolina State Trooper operating his first speed trap. The long black limo glides by him going 70 in a 55 mph zone. The trooper pulls out and easily pulls over the limo. He gets out of his highway patrol car to begin the procedure.

The young trooper walks up to the driver's door. As the window rolls down, he's surprised to see who's driving. He immediately excuses himself. He returns to his patrol car and calls his supervisor.

He tells the supervisor, 'I know we are supposed to enforce the law. But I also know that important people are given certain courtesies. I need to know what I should do, because I just stopped a very important person.'

The supervisor asks, 'Is it the mayor of Charlotte?'

The young trooper says, 'No sir, he's more important than the mayor.'

The supervisor asks, 'Oh, so is it the governor of North Carolina?'

The state trooper says, 'No sir, he's even more important than our governor.'

The supervisor finally asks, 'Well then, who is it?'

The trooper says, 'I think it's Jesus, because he's got Billy Graham for a chauffeur!'

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