St. Francis and the Wolf of Gubbio
(About 'The Other')
The people of the little Italian city of Gubbio are understandably very proud of their beautiful home. Then one night a shadow comes out of the nearby woods and prowls the streets. In the morning the people of Gubbio find a mangled and gnawed dead body. This happens again and again. Finally an old woman says that she has seen a wolf on the streets at night. The terrified people decide to ask a holy man who has a reputation for being able to talk to animals for his help. They send a delegation to get St. Francis.
They have very specific ideas on what St. Francis should tell the wolf. First, he should preach to him and remind him to obey the commandment against killing and to follow Christ's commandment about loving God and neighbors. And then, just in case, since a wolf is, after all, a wolf, he should tell the wolf to move to someone else's city.
Francis goes into the forest to meet the strange shadow, addressing it as "Brother Wolf." Then he returns to the town square. "My good people of Gubbio, the answer is very simple. You must feed your wolf." The people are furious, especially with the suggestion that this uninvited beast in their midst is somehow to be regarded as "their wolf." But they do feed it, and the killing stops.
Retold by John Shea in Starlight
Michael is the kind of guy you love to hate. He is always in a good mood and always has something positive to say: When someone would ask him how he was doing, he would reply, "if I were any better, I would be twins!" He was a natural motivator. If an employee was having a bad day, Michael was there telling the employee how to look on the positive side of the situation.
Seeing this style really made me curious, so one day I went up to Michael and asked him, "I don't get it! You can't be a positive person all of the time. How do you do it?"
Michael replied, "Each morning I wake up and say to myself, you have two choices today. You can choose to be in a good mood or you can choose to be in a bad mood. I choose to be in a good mood. Each time something bad happens, I can choose to be a victim or I can choose to learn from it. I choose to learn from it. Every time someone comes to me complaining, I can choose to accept their complaining or I can point out the positive side of life. I choose the positive side of life.
"Yeah, right, it's not that easy," I protested.
"Yes, it is," Michael said. "Life is all about choices. When you cut away all the junk, every situation is a choice. You choose how you react to situations. You choose how people affect your mood. You choose to be in a good mood or bad mood. The bottom line: It's your choice how you live life."
I reflected on what Michael said. Soon thereafter, I left the company to start my own business. We lost touch, but I often thought about him when I made a choice about life instead of reacting to it. Several years later, I heard that Michael was involved in a serious accident, falling some 60 feet from a communications tower. After 18 hours of surgery and weeks of intensive care, Michael was released from the hospital with rods placed in his back. I saw Michael about six months after the accident.
When I asked him how he was, he replied. "If I were any better, I'd be twins. Wanna see my scars?" I declined to see his wounds, but I did ask him what had gone through his mind as the accident took place.
"The first thing that went through my mind was the well-being of my soon to be born daughter, " Michael replied. "Then, as I lay on the ground, I remembered that I had two choices: I could choose to live or I could choose to die. I chose to live."
"Weren't you scared? Did you lose consciousness?" I asked.
Michael continued, "The paramedics were great. They kept telling me I was going to be fine. But when they wheeled me into the ER and I saw the expressions on the faces of the doctors and nurses, I got really scared. In their eyes, I read "He's a dead man." I knew I needed to take action.
"What did you do?" I asked.
"Well there was a big burly nurse shouting questions at me," said Michael. "She asked if I was allergic to anything. "Yes," I replied. "The doctors and nurses stopped working as they waited for my reply. I took a deep breath and yelled, "Gravity." Over their laughter, I told them, "I am choosing to live. Operate on me as if I am alive, not dead."
Michael lived, thanks to the skill of his doctors, but also because of his amazing attitude.
Actual Newspaper Headlines
1. Include Your Children When Baking Cookies
2. Something Went Wrong in Jet Crash, Experts Say
3. Police Begin Campaign to Run Down Jaywalkers
4. Drunks Get Nine Months in Violin Case
5. Iraqi Head Seeks Arms
6. Prostitutes Appeal to Pope
7. Panda Mating Fails; Veterinarian Takes Over
8. British Left Waffles on Falkland Islands
9. Teacher Strikes Idle Kids
10. Clinton Wins Budget; More Lies Ahead
11. Plane Too Close to Ground, Crash Probe Told
12. Miners Refuse to Work After Death
13. Juvenile Court to Try Shooting Defendant
14. Stolen Painting Found by Tree
15. Two Sisters Reunited after 18 Years in Checkout Counter
16. War Dims Hope for Peace
17. If Strike Isn't Settled Quickly, It May Last a While
18. Couple Slain; Police Suspect Homicide
19. Man Struck by Lightning Faces Battery Charge
20. New Study of Obesity Looks for Larger Test Group
21. Astronaut Takes Blame for Gas in Space
22. Kids Make Nutritious Snacks
23. Local High School Dropouts Cut in Half
24. Typhoon Rips through Cemetery; Hundreds Dead
25. Viagra Thief Gets Stiff Sentence
On a transatlantic flight, a plane passes through a severe storm. The turbulence is awful, and things go from bad to worse when one wing is struck by lightning. One woman in particular loses it. Screaming, she stands up in the front of the plane. "I'm too young to die!" she wails. Then she yells, "Well, if I'm going to die, I want my last minutes on Earth to be memorable! Is there ANYONE on this plane who can make me feel like a WOMAN?"
For a moment there is silence. Everyone has forgotten their own peril, and they all stare, riveted, at the desperate woman in the front of the plane. Then a man stands up in the rear of the plane. "I can make you feel like a woman," he says. He is gorgeous. Tall, built, with long, flowing black hair and jet black eyes, he starts to walk slowly up the aisle, unbuttoning his shirt one button one at a time. No one moves. The woman is breathing heavily in anticipation as the stranger approaches. He removes his shirt, muscles ripple across his chest as he reaches her, and he extends the arm holding his shirt to the trembling woman and says: "Iron this."
If I Had My Life to Live Over
I would have waxed less and listened more.
Instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy and complaining about the shadow over my feet, I'd have cherished every minute of it and realized that the wonderment growing inside me was to be my only chance in life to assist God in a miracle.
I would never have insisted the car windows be rolled up on a summer day because my hair had just been teased and sprayed.
I would have invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was stained and the sofa faded.
I would have eaten the popcorn in the "good" living room and worried much less about the dirt when you lit the fireplace.
I would have taken the time to listen to my grandfather ramble about his youth.
I would have burnt the pink candle sculptured like a rose before it melted while being stored.
I would have sat cross-legged on the lawn with my children and not worried about grass stains.
I would have cried and laughed less while watching television...and more while watching real life.
I would have shared more of the responsibility carried by my husband which I took for granted.
I would have eaten less cottage cheese and more ice cream.
I would have gone to bed when I was sick instead of pretending the Earth would go into a holding pattern if I weren't there for a day.
I would never have bought ANYTHING just because it was practical/ wouldn't show soil/ guaranteed to last a lifetime.
When my child kissed me impetuously, I would never have said, "Later. Now go get washed up for dinner."
There would have been more I love yous ... more I'm sorrys ... more I'm listenings ... but mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every minute of it ...l ook at it and really see it ... live it ... and never give that minute back until there was nothing left of it.
by Erma Bombeck
The Beauty Remains; the Pain Passes
Although Henri Matisse was nearly 28 years younger than Auguste Renoir, the two great artists were dear friends and frequent companions. When Renoir was confined to his home during the last decade of his life, Matisse visited him daily. Renoir, almost paralyzed by arthritis, continued to paint in spite of his infirmities.
One day as Matisse watched the elder painter working in his studio, fighting torturous pain with each brush stroke, he blurted out: "Auguste, why do you continue to paint when you are in such agony?"
Renoir answered simply: "The beauty remains; the pain passes." And so, almost to his dying day, Renoir put paint to canvas. One of his most famous paintings, The Bathers, was completed just two years before his passing, 14 years after he was stricken by this disabling disease.
From The Best of Bits and Pieces by Arthur Lenehan
Genisis: The Modern Version
God populated the earth with broccoli and cauliflower and spinach, green and yellow vegetables of all kinds, so Man and Woman would live long and healthy lives.
And the Devil created McDonald's. And McDonald's brought forth the 79-cent double cheeseburger. And the Devil said to Man: "You want fries with that?"
And Man said: "Super size them." And Man gained 5 pounds.
And God created the healthful yogurt, that woman might keep her figure that man found so fair.
And the Devil brought forth chocolate. And Woman gained 5 pounds. And Ben and Jerry's. And Woman gained 10 pounds.
And God sent heart-healthy vegetables and olive oil with which to cook them.
And the Devil brought forth chicken-fried steak so big it needed its own platter. And Man gained 10 pounds and his bad cholesterol went through the roof.
And God brought forth running shoes and Man resolved to lose those extra pounds.
And the Devil brought forth cable TV with remote control so Man would not have to toil to change channels between ESPN and ESPN2. And Man gained another 20 pounds.
And God brought forth the potato, a vegetable naturally low in fat and brimming with nutrition. And the Devil peeled off the healthful skin and sliced the starchy center into chips and deep-fat fried them. And the Devil created sour cream dip.
And Man clutched his remote control and ate the potato chips swaddled in cholesterol. And Man went into cardiac arrest. And God sighed and created quadruple bypass surgery. And the Devil canceled Man's health insurance.
God showed Woman how to peel the skin off chicken and cook the nourishing whole grain brown rice.
And the Devil created light beer so Man could poison his body with alcohol while feeling righteous because he had to drink twice as much of the now-insipid brew to get the same buzz. And Man gained another ten pounds.
And God created the life-giving tofu. And Woman ventured forth into the land of Godiva Chocolate and upon returning asked Man: "Do I look fat?"
And the man told the truth. And Woman went out from the presence of man and dwelt in the land of the divorce lawyer, east of the marriage counselor.
And Woman put aside the seeds of the earth and took unto herself comfort food.
And God brought forth Weight-watchers. It didn't help.
And God created exercise machines with easy payments. And man brought forth his Visa at 21 percent. And the exercise machine went to dwell in the closet of Nod, east of the polyester leisure suit.
And in the fullness of time, Woman received the exercise machine from Man in the property settlement. It didn't help her, either.
My first job was working in an orange juice factory, but I got canned because I couldn't concentrate.
Then I worked in the woods as a lumberjack, but I just couldn't hack it, so they gave me the axe.
After that I tried to be a tailor, but I just wasn't suited for it. Mainly because it was a so-so job.
Next I tried working in a muffler factory but that was exhausting.
I wanted to be a barber, but I just couldn't cut it.
Then I tried to be a chef--figured it would add a little spice to my life but I just didn't have the thyme.
Finally, I attempted to be a deli worker, but any way I sliced it, I couldn't cut the mustard.
My best job was being a musician, but eventually I found I wasn't noteworthy.
I studied a long time to become a doctor, but I didn't have any patients.
Next was a job in a shoe factory; I tried but I just didn't fit in.
I became a professional fisherman, but discovered that I couldn't live on my net income.
Thought about becoming a witch, so I tried that for a spell.
I managed to get a good job working for a pool maintenance company, but the work was just too draining.
I got a job at a zoo feeding giraffes but I was fired because I wasn't up to it.
So then I got a job in a gymnasium (work-out-center), but they said I wasn't fit for the job.
Next, I found being an electrician interesting, but the work was shocking.
After many years of trying to find steady work I finally got a job as a historian until I realized there was no future in it.
My last job was working at Starbucks, but I had to quit because it was always the same old grind.
The Paradoxical Commandments
People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.
If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Do good anyway.
If you are successful, you win false friends and true enemies.
The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.
Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.
The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.
Think big anyway.
People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.
Fight for a few underdogs anyway.
What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.
Help people anyway.
Give the world the best you have and you'll get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you have anyway.
By Kent Keith
(One of Mother Teresa's favorite poems)
Addition (author unknown):
You see, in the final analysis,
it is between you and God;
It was never between you and them anyway.
Strength and Ability
One day three men were walking along and came upon a raging, violent river. They needed to get to the other side, but had no idea of how to do it. The first man prayed to God saying, "Please God, give me the strength to cross this river." Poof! God gave him big arms and strong legs and he was able to swim across the river in about two hours.
Seeing this, the second man prayed to God saying, "Please God, give me the strength and ability to cross this river." Poof ! God gave him a rowboat and he was able to row across the river in about three hours.
The third man had seen how this worked out for the other two, so he also prayed to God saying, "Please God, give me the strength, ability, and intelligence to cross this river." And Poof! God turned him into a woman. He looked at the map, then walked across the bridge.
If These Mothers Had Been Jewish:
PAUL REVERE'S MOTHER: "I don't care where you think you have to go, young man, midnight is past your curfew."
MONA LISA'S MOTHER: "After all that money your father and I spent on braces, that's the biggest smile you can give us?"
COLUMBUS' MOTHER: "I don't care what you've discovered, you still could have written!"
MICHELANGELO'S MOTHER: "Can't you paint on walls like other children? Do you have any idea how hard it is to get that stuff off the ceiling?"
NAPOLEON'S MOTHER: "All right, if you aren't hiding your report card inside your jacket, take your hand out of there and show me."
ABRAHAM LINCOLN'S MOTHER: "Again with the stovepipe hat? Can't you just wear a baseball cap like the other kids?"
MARY'S MOTHER: "I'm not upset that your lamb followed you to school, but I would like to know how he got a better grade than you."
ALBERT EINSTEIN'S MOTHER: "But it's your senior picture. Can't you do something about your hair? Styling gel, mousse, something . . .?"
GEORGE WASHINGTON'S MOTHER: "The next time I catch you throwing money across the Potomac, you can kiss your allowance good-bye!"
JONAH'S MOTHER: "That's a nice story. Now tell me where you've really been for the last three days."
THOMAS EDISON'S MOTHER: "Of course I'm proud that you invented the electric light bulb. Now turn it off and get to bed.
Are You There God?
The man whispered, "God, speak to me."
And a meadowlark sang.
But, the man did not hear.
So the man yelled, "God, speak to me!"
And, the thunder rolled across the sky.
But, the man did not listen.
The man looked around and said, "God, let me see you."
And a star shined brightly.
But, the man did not notice.
And, the man shouted, "God show me a miracle!"
And a life was born.
But, the man did not know.
So, the man cried out in despair, "Touch me God, and let
me know you are here!"
Whereupon, God reached down and touched the man.
But, the man brushed the butterfly away and walked on.
Puppies for Sale
A store owner was tacking a sign above his door that read “Puppies For Sale.” Signs like that have a way of attracting small children, and sure enough, a little boy appeared under the store owner’s sign. “How much are you going to sell the puppies for?” he asked. The store owner replied, “Anywhere from $30 to $50.” The little boy reached in his pocket and pulled out some change. “I have $2.37,” he said. “Can I please look at them?”
The store owner smiled and whistled and out of the kennel came Lady, who ran down the aisle of his store followed by five teeny, tiny balls of fur. One puppy was lagging considerably behind. Immediately the little boy singled out the lagging, limping puppy and said, “What’s wrong with that little dog?” The store owner explained that the veterinarian had examined the little puppy and had discovered it didn’t have a hip socket. It would always limp. It would always be lame. The little boy became excited. “That is the little puppy that I want to buy.” The store owner said, “No, you don’t want to buy that little dog. If you really want him, I’ll just give him to you.”
The little boy got upset. He looked straight into the store owner’s eyes, pointed his finger and said, “I don’t want you to just give him to me. That little dog is worth every bit as much as all the other dogs and I’ll pay full price. In fact, I’ll give you $2.37 now, and 50 cents a month until I have him paid for.” The store owner countered, “You really don’t want to buy this little dog. He is never going to be able to run and jump and play with you like the other puppies.” To this, the little boy reached down and rolled up his pant leg to reveal a badly twisted, crippled left leg supported by a big metal brace. He looked up at the store owner and softly replied, “Well, I don’t run so well myself, and the little puppy will need someone who understands!”
By Dan Clark