Saturday, May 23, 2009

Running to stand Still

The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and
I-I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
"Robert Frost"

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Come and Rest awhile


A man's daughter had asked the local minister
to come and pray with her father.
When the minister arrived,
he found the man lying in bed with his head
propped up on two pillows..
An empty chair sat beside his bed.
The minister assumed that the old fellow
had been informed of his visit.
'I guess you were expecting me, he said.
'No, who are you?' said the father.
The minister told him his name and then remarked,
'I saw the empty chair and I figured you knew
I was going to show up.'
'Oh yeah, the chair,' said the bedridden man.
'Would you mind closing the door?'
Puzzled, the minister shut the door.
'I have never told anyone this,
not even my daughter,' said the man.
'But all of my life I have never
known how to pray.
At church I used to hear the pastor talk about prayer,
but it went right over my head.'
I abandoned any attempt at prayer,'
the old man continued, '
until one day four years ago, my best friend said to me,
'Johnny, prayer is just a simple matter
of having a conversation with Jesus.
Here is what I suggest.
'Sit down in a chair;
place an empty chair in front of you,
and in faith see Jesus on the chair.
It's not spooky because he promised,
'I will be with you always'.
'Then just speak to him in the same way
you're doing with me right now.'
'So, I tried it and I've liked it so much
that I do it a couple of hours every day.
I'm careful though. If my daughter saw me talking
to an empty chair, she'd either have a nervous breakdown
or send me off to the funny farm.'
The minister was deeply moved by the story and
encouraged the old man to continue on the journey.
Then he prayed with him, anointed him with oil,
and returned to the church.
Two nights later the daughter called
to tell the minister that her daddy
had died that afternoon.
Did he die in peace?' he asked.
Yes, when I left the house about two o'clock,
he called me over to his bedside,
told me he loved me and kissed me on the cheek.
When I got back from the store an hour later,
I found him .
But there was something strange about his death.
Apparently, just before Daddy died,
he leaned over and rested his head on the chair
beside the bed. What do you make of that?'
The minister wiped a tear from his eye and said,
'I wish we could all go like that.'
Prayer is one of the best free gifts we receive.
I asked God for water, He gave me an ocean.*
I asked God for a flower, He gave me a garden.*
I asked God for a friend, He gave me all of YOU...
If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it..

Happy moments, praise God.
Difficult moments, seek God.
Quiet moments, worship God
Painful moments, trust God.
Every moment, thank God.

Making a Diffence

Letters from Teddy
There is a story many years ago of an elementary teacher. Her name was Mrs. Thompson. And as she stood in front of her 5th grade class on her very first day of school, she told the children a lie. Like most teachers, she looked at her students and said that she loved them all the same. But that was impossible, because there in the front row, slumped in his seat, was a little boy named Teddy Stoddard.
Mrs. Thompson had watched Teddy the year before and noticed that he didn't play well with the other children, that his clothes were messy and that he constantly needed a bath. And Teddy could be unpleasant. It got to the point where Mrs. Thompson would actually take delight in marking his papers with a broad red pen, making bold X's and then putting a big "F" at the top of his papers.
At the school where Mrs. Thompson taught, she was required to review each child's past records and she put Teddy's off until last. However, when she reviewed his file, she was in for a surprise. Teddy's first grade teacher wrote, "Teddy is a bright child with a ready laugh. He does his work neatly and has good manners... he is a joy to be around." His second grade teacher wrote, "Teddy is an excellent student, well liked by his classmates, but he is troubled because his mother has a terminal illness and life at home must be a struggle." His third grade teacher wrote, "His mother's death has been hard on him. He tries to do his best but his father doesn't show much interest and his home life will soon affect him if some steps aren't taken." Teddy's fourth grade teacher wrote, "Teddy is withdrawn and doesn't show much interest in school. He doesn't have many friends and sometimes sleeps in class."
By now, Mrs. Thompson realized the problem and she was ashamed of herself. She felt even worse when her students brought her Christmas presents, wrapped in beautiful ribbons and bright paper, except for Teddy's. His present which was clumsily wrapped in the heavy, brown paper that he got from a grocery bag. Mrs. Thompson took pains to open it in the middle of the other presents. Some of the children started to laugh when she found a rhinestone bracelet with some of the stones missing, and a bottle that was one quarter full of perfume. But she stifled the children's laughter when she exclaimed how pretty the bracelet was, putting it on, and dabbing some of the perfume on her wrist. Teddy Stoddard stayed after school that day just long enough to say, Mrs. Thompson, today you smelled just like my Mom used to." After the children left she cried for at least an hour.
On that very day, she quit teaching reading, and writing, and arithmetic. Instead, she began to teach children. Mrs. Thompson paid particular attention to Teddy. As she worked with him, his mind seemed to come alive. The more she encouraged him, the faster he responded. By the end of the year, Teddy had become one of the smartest children in the class and, despite her lie that she would love all the children the same, Teddy became one her "teacher's pets."
A year later, she found a note under her door, from Teddy, telling her that she was still the best teacher he ever had in his whole life. Six years went by before she got another note from Teddy. He then wrote that he had finished high school, third in his class, and she was still the best teacher he ever had in his whole life. Four years after that, she got another letter, saying that while things had been tough at times, he'd stayed in school, had stuck with it, and would soon graduate from college with the highest of honors. He assured Mrs. Thompson that she was still the best and favorite teacher he ever had in his whole life. Then four more years passed and yet another letter came. This time he explained that after he got his bachelor's degree, he decided to go a little further. The letter explained that she was still the best and favorite teacher he ever had. But now his name was a little longer-the letter was signed, Theodore F. Stoddard, M.D.
The story doesn't end there. You see, there was yet another letter that spring. Teddy said he'd met this girl and was going to be married. He explained that his father had died a couple of years ago and he was wondering if Mrs. Thompson might agree to sit in the place at the wedding that was usually reserved for the mother of the groom. Of course, Mrs. Thompson did. And guess what? She wore that bracelet, the one with several rhinestones missing. And she made sure she was wearing the perfume that Teddy remembered his mother wearing on their last Christmas together. They hugged each other, and Dr. Stoddard whispered in Mrs. Thompson's ear, "Thank you Mrs. Thompson for believing in me. Thank you so much for making me feel important and showing me that I could make a difference." Mrs. Thompson, with tears in her eyes, whispered back. She said, "Teddy, you have it all wrong. You were the one who taught me that I could make a difference. I didn't know how to teach until I met you."