Sunday, 26 July 2009
The Greek Emperor, Alexander the Great was a warrior and ruler who had conquered nearly one third of the then-known world, but he fell ill with a terminal illness. A few days before his death, Alexander called his ministers and explained how he would like his body to be carried in the burial procession. He wanted openings made on either side of his coffin, through which his hands should be kept hanging out, with the palms spread open. The Ministers were puzzled and asked their lord why he wanted this to be done.
Alexander explained that in this way, every-one would come to know that the ‘Great Alexander’, who had spent his whole life striving to possess and conquer the world, had left the world totally empty handed. Therefore they would understand how futile it is to spend one’s life chasing after the world and its objects.
Thursday, 23 July 2009
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Sunday, 19 July 2009
Happiness is an Attitude
The 92-year-old, petite, well-poised and proud lady, who is fully dressed each morning by eight o'clock, with her hair fashionably coifed and makeup perfectly applied, even though she is legally blind, moved to a nursing home today.
Her husband of 70 years recently passed away, making the move necessary.
After many hours of waiting patiently in the lobby of the nursing home, she smiled sweetly when told her room was ready. As she manoeuvred her walker to the elevator, I provided a visual description of her tiny room, including the eyelet sheets that had been hung on her window.
"I love it," she stated with the enthusiasm of an eight-year-old having just been presented with a new puppy.
"Mrs. Jones, you haven't seen the room .... just wait."
"That doesn't have anything to do with it," she replied.
"Happiness is something you decide on ahead of time. Whether I like my room or not doesn't depend on how the furniture is arranged ... it's how I arrange my mind.
I already decided to love it ... It's a decision I make every morning when I wake up. I have a choice; I can spend the day in bed recounting the difficulty I have with the parts of my body that no longer work, or get out of bed and be thankful for the ones that do. Each day is a gift, and as long as my eyes open I'll focus on the new day and all the happy memories I've stored away ... just for this time in my life."
Sunday, 12 July 2009
Angel of Grass
An old legend says that in the beginning, when God created the world, He gave every living thing an angel to bless and guard it - an angel for man, one for the birds, one for the beasts of the forest, one for the trees, and one for the flowers.
Even the common grass had an angel. But the angel of the grass was not pleased. Humiliated, he said, "I will have nothing to do with it. That old, homely grass can grow by itself!"
The season passed. The grass shrivelled. The flowers died because the grass held no dew. The deer in the forests and the cattle in the fields died because there was no grass. Seeing the effect and further consequences God intervened.
He turned His eyes upon the angel of the grass and asked, "Was it a small thing, or a great thing that I asked thee to do?"
In shame the angel of the grass fell at the Lord's feet and begged His forgiveness, for he saw now the unsuspected greatness of his seemingly lowly task.
Monday, 6 July 2009
Work Has Its Own Rewards
A wealthy nobleman was once touring his estate and came upon a peasant pitching hay. The nobleman was fascinated by the sight and he stood watching the flowing motions of the peasant's arms and shoulders and the graceful sweep of the pitchfork through the air for quite a while. He so greatly enjoyed the spectacle that he struck a deal with the peasant. He would give him a gold coin every day if the peasant agreed to come to the mansion and display his hay-pitching technique in the nobleman's drawing room.
The next day, the peasant arrived at the mansion, hardly concealing his glee at his new line of "work." After swinging his empty pitchfork for an hour, he collected his gold coin--many times his usual reward for a week of backbreaking labour. But by the following day, his enthusiasm had somewhat waned. Before the week was out, he announced that he was quitting his commission.
"I don't understand," puzzled the nobleman. "Why would you rather swing heavy loads outdoors in the winter cold and the summer heat, when you can perform an effortless task in the comfort of my home and earn many times your usual wages?"
"But master," said the man, "I'm not doing anything..."