Reparation by Kindness

Filling station and garage at Pie Town, New Mexico

Image via Wikipedia

After a flat tire on my car, I stopped at the nearest gas station and had the attendant patch my spare. When I said, “How much?” he waved me off. “It’s on the house,” he said.

“That’s very kind of you,” I said, “but why are you doing this for a stranger?”

“Well, yesterday I woke up with a toothache and I took it out on everyone in sight. This morning I feel fine. So today I’m making up for yesterday: favors for the customers, kind words for the help. That’s how I pay off for the bad days.”

As I drove off, I thought, “Now there’s a man who makes sense: he settles his personal accounts day by day.”

That is what learned people call “mental hygiene.” The tiny patch which the filling station attendant put on my tire saved me only a dollar. But it saved him a week’s worry about yesterday’s meanness.

Sydney Harris


Grace Before Meals

An old farmer visited a neighboring mansion on business and was asked to stay for lunch. Noting that his well-to-do companions began to eat as soon as they sat down, the old man bowed his head and quietly said grace to himself. When he looked up, his host was smiling indulgently. “Do many of the people around here still follow such an old-fashioned custom?” remarked the rich man in a teasing way. “Isn’t there anyone nearby sufficiently enlightened not to parade their prayers at table?”

The farmer thought a moment and then said, “Well, I reckon there are some over at my place who never pray over their food.”

“College graduates, no doubt?”

“No, sir,” said the farmer, “my pigs.”

Episcopal Church Bulletin

Find Your Real Self

What if you can be anything, or anybody? Who would you choose to be? Would you be a strong business leader? A movie star? A sports hero or heroine? A famous politician?

A reporter asked the famous George Bernard Shaw that “what if” question before he died. Here is how he put it: “Mr. Shaw, you have visited with some of the most famous people of the world. You have known royalty, world renowned authors, artists and teachers. If you could live your life all over again, and be anybody you have known, or any person from history, who would you like to be?”

Shaw replied, “I would choose to be the man George Bernard Shaw could have been but never was.”

What an insight! Very few people ever achieve all the greatness that is really inside them.

Don’t wish to be somebody else. Wish to be yourself – but better.

Faultfinding Repaid


Image by Barbour via Flickr

There is a story about a young artist who had a genius for finding fault with others. He could immediately detect any weakness in them.

One night, he had a dream. He saw himself on a barren road, struggling beneath a heavy burden. He cried out in pain as he tried to support it. He complained out loud, “What is this weight that I must carry? And why must I carry it?”

From nowhere he seemed to hear, “It is the weight of the faults which you have found in others. Why do you complain? You were the one who discovered them, so shouldn’t they belong to you now?”

— Maurice Masterlinck

Treasure in Heaven

Gold Guilder

Image via Wikipedia

A wealthy man lay on his deathbed. His entire life had been centered around money. As his life ebbed away, he presumed that in the afterlife, money would also be everything. So he gave orders that a purse filled with gold coins be placed inside his casket along with his body. His last wish was carried out.

In the next world it took the bookkeepers a long time to find his name in any of the good books. In fact, it took so long that he got very hungry and thirsty just waiting. He looked around and sure enough, he saw an attractive eatery not far away. “Aha,” he said to himself, “it’s just like I thought. It’s a good thing that brought some money along with me.”

His mouth was already watering as he approached the restaurant. But before he sat down to eat, he was told that the money he had brought along had no value now. In fact, only money that was of any value now was the money he had given away on earth. The rich man dropped his head in deep thought, but could not remember having given any money away.. So now he had none.

As an Englishman of another stripe let his tombstone explain:

“What I spent I had.

What I kept I lost.

What I gave I have.”

— partly after Leo Tolstoy

Working for God

Joe had always been a helpful neighbor and so the lady next door asked him if he could drive her little son to the hospital. Actually, Joe had other plans but he did not know how to say no. So he sat the little boy onto the cat seat, fastened his seat belt, and started off on the 50-mile trip to the hospital.

As they were driving along, the little boy slowly turned to Joe and asked, “Are you God?”

Startled, Joe said, “No.”

The boy continued, “I heard my mommy asking for some way to get me to a doctor. If you are not God, do you work for him?”

Joe replied, “I guess so – sometimes. And now that you ask, I will be doing it a lot  more.”

— Quote

God’s Wisdom

Small mangoes growing on a tree in Ghosh Grove...

Image via Wikipedia

A wise old religious man sat under a mango tree in his garden in the noonday heat, and he looked at his pumpkin pines growing nearby. He said to himself, “How foolish God is. Here he puts a big heavy pumpkin onto a weak vine, which can’t do anything but just lie on the ground. And then he hangs those small mangoes onto a tree which can hold the weight of a man. If I were God, I think I could do better than that.”

Just then a bit of a breeze came up and knocked a loose mango off the tree. It fell right on the man’s head. Now he had a bump on his head, which made him a sadder and wiser man. “Suppose,” he thought now, “that there had been a pumpkin up there, instead of a mango… Never again will I try to plan the world for God, but I shall thank God that he has done so well.”

Life is like an echo

At the edge of the woods, at sunset.

Image by Jasmic via Flickr

A little boy came running excitedly to his mother saying, “Mom, there is a boy out there in the woods who is mocking me. Everything I say, he says after me. If I say, ‘Hello,’ he says, ‘Hello.’

When I say, ‘Who are you?’ he say, ‘Who are you?’ I say, “What is your name?’ and he also says, “What is your name?’

So I got mad and jumped over the fence and went into the woods to find him. But he wasn’t anywhere. So I yelled, ‘I’ll punch you in the nose.’ And he said the very same thing, exactly as I had said it.”

The boy’s mother told him, “That is only an echo answering you, Billy. If you had said, ‘I love you,’ it would have said the same to you.”

There is a similar story about a dog who went into a room full of mirrors. He eventually died of exhaustion trying to fight his mirrored “enemies”. If he had only wagged his tail once, he would have had all of them wagging their tails in friendship.

Life is like an echo or a mirror: we get out of it what we put in.

— Quote

Training by Example

The famous actor Charles Coburn tells this story on himself. “As a boy, I fell in love with the theatre and since there were no movies in those days, I went around to all the live shows I could find. … Continue reading

Ten Steps to Success in Work

Work area

First: Don’t get the idea that you are Atlas, carrying the world on your shoulder. The world would go on even without you. Don’t take yourself so seriously.

Second: Tell yourself that you like your work. Then it will become a pleasure, not a drudgery. Perhaps you do not need to change your job. Change yourself, and your work will seem different.

Third: Plan your work – work your plan. Lack of system produces that “I’m swamped” feeling.

Fourth: Don’t try to do everything at once. That is why time is spread out. Operate on that wise advice from the Bible, “This one thing I do.”

Fifth: Get a correct mental attitude. Think a job is hard, and you will make it hard. Think it is easy, and it will tend to become so.

Sixth: Become an expert in your work. It is always easier to do a thing right.

Seventh: Practice being relaxed. Easy always does it. Don’t press or strain.

Eighth: Do not put off until tomorrow what you can do today. It only makes tomorrow’s job harder. It piles up on you. Keep your work on schedule.

Ninth: At the start of every day, pray about your work. You will get some of your best ideas that way.

Tenth: Take along your “unseen Partner”. It is surprising, the load He will take off you. God is as much at home in offices and shops as in churches. He knows more about your business than you do.

— Gems of Thought