Hospital Windows
Two men, both seriously ill, occupied the same hospital room. One man was allowed to sit up in his bed for an hour each afternoon to help drain the fluid from his lungs. His bed was next to the room's only window. The other man had to spend all his time flat on his back. The men talked for hours on end. They spoke of their wives and families, their homes, their jobs, their involvement in the military service, where they had been on vacation. And every afternoon when the man in the bed by the window could sit up, he would pass the time by describing to his roommate all the things he could see outside the window. The man in the other bed began to live for those one-hour periods where his world would be broadened and enlivened by all the activity and color of the world outside. The window overlooked a park with a lovely lake. Ducks and swans played on the water while children sailed their model boats. Young lovers walked arm in arm amidst flowers of every color of the rainbow. Grand old trees graced the landscape, and a fine view of the city skyline could be seen in the distance. As the man by the window described all this in exquisite detail, the man on the other side of the room would close his eyes and imagine the picturesque scene. One warm afternoon the man by the window described a parade passing by. Although the other man couldn't hear the band - he could see it in his mind's eye as the gentleman by the window portrayed it with descriptive words. Days and weeks passed. One morning, the day nurse arrived to bring water for their baths only to find the lifeless body of the man by the window, who had died peacefully in his sleep. She was saddened and called the hospital attendants to take the body away. As soon as it seemed appropriate, the other man asked if he could be moved next to the window. The nurse was happy to make the switch, and after making sure he was comfortable, she left him alone. Slowly, painfully, he propped himself up on one elbow to take his first look at the world outside. Finally, he would have the joy of seeing it for himself. He strained to slowly turn to look out the window beside the bed. It faced a blank wall. The man asked the nurse what could have compelled his deceased roommate who had described such wonderful things outside this window. The nurse responded that the man was blind and could not even see the wall. She said, "Perhaps he just wanted to encourage you."

Author - Author Unknown  (Source: Source Unknown)

The Cleaning Lady
During my second month of nursing school, our professor gave us a pop quiz. I was a conscientious student and had breezed through the questions, until I read the last one: "What is the first name of the woman who cleans the school?" Surely this was some kind of joke. I had seen the cleaning woman several times. She was tall, dark-haired and in her 50s, but how would I know her name? I handed in my paper, leaving the last question blank. Before class ended, one student asked if the last question would count toward our quiz grade. "Absolutely," said the professor. "In your careers you will meet many people. All are significant. They deserve your attention and care, even if all you do is smile and say 'Hello'." I've never forgotten that lesson. I also learned her name was 'Dorothy'.

Author - Joanne C. Jones   (Source: Source Unknown)

Three Stringed Violin
On November 18th, 1995, Itzhak Perlman, the violinist, came on stage to give a concert at Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center in New York City. If you have ever been to a Perlman concert, you know that getting on stage is no small achievement for him. He was stricken with polio as a child, and so he has braces on both legs and walks with the aid of two crutches. To see him walk across the stage one step at a time, painfully and slowly, is an awesome sight. He walks painfully, yet majestically, until he reaches his chair. Then he sits down, slowly, puts his crutches on the floor, undoes the clasps on his legs, tucks one foot back and extends the other foot forward. Then he bends down and picks up the violin, puts it under his chin, nods to the conductor and proceeds to play. By now, the audience is used to this ritual. They sit quietly while he makes his way across the stage to his chair. They remain reverently silent while he undoes the clasps on his legs. They wait until he is ready to play. But this time, something went wrong. Just as he finished the first few bars, one of the strings on his violin broke. You could hear it snap - it went off like gunfire across the room. There was no mistaking what that sound meant. There was no mistaking what he had to do. We figured that he would have to get up, put on the clasps again, pick up the crutches and limp his way off stage - to either find another violin or else find another string for this one. But he didn't. Instead, he waited a moment, closed his eyes and then signaled the conductor to begin again. The orchestra began, and he played from where he had left off. And he played with such passion and such power and such purity as they had never heard before. Of course, anyone knows that it is impossible to play a symphonic work with just three strings. I know that, and you know that, but that night Itzhak Perlman refused to know that. You could see him modulating, changing, re-composing the piece in his head. At one point, it sounded like he was de-tuning the strings to get new sounds from them that they had never made before. When he finished, there was an awesome silence in the room. And then people rose and cheered. There was an extraordinary outburst of applause from every corner of the auditorium. We were all on our feet, screaming and cheering, doing everything we could to show how much we appreciated what he had done. He smiled, wiped the sweat from this brow, raised his bow to quiet us, and then he said - not boastfully, but in a quiet, pensive, reverent tone - "You know, sometimes it is the artist's task to find out how much music you can still make with what you have left." What a powerful line that is. It has stayed in my mind ever since I heard it. And who knows? Perhaps that is the definition of life - not just for artists but for all of us. Here is a man who has prepared all his life to make music on a violin of four strings, who, all of a sudden, in the middle of a concert, finds himself with only three strings; so he makes music with three strings, and the music he made that night with just three strings was more beautiful, more sacred, more memorable, than any that he had ever made before, when he had four strings. So, perhaps our task in this shaky, fast-changing, bewildering world in which we live is to make music, at first with all that we have, and then, when that is no longer possible, to make music with what we have left.

Author - Author Unknown  (Source: Source Unknown)

Serious Business
Let me take you back a couple years. Come with me as we relearn a lesson; one that has stuck with me, in my present memory, and inspires me yet. I don't remember exact conversation, but bear with me as I supply something that would sound normal. We walk into Elida Road Hardware. An old fashioned hardware store. No automatic door, not a computer in the building. Nothing unusual about the day, or the fact that we go to that store. It is one that I go to fairly often. As we enter the door, two sounds greet us. The sleigh bells of yesteryear, the ones that make that sweet, peaceful tinkle as we open the door. The other sound is the electronic beeper that alerts Andy of our presence. "Good afternoon, Ryan," comes the cheerful acknowledgment. Andy Bianco is a very friendly sort of proprietor. He is of medium build and height, we'll say about 50, and the smile on his face welcomes us. We walk across the old wood floor -- destitute of stain or varnish, and worn smooth -- with its squeaky spots, and uneven joints. Andy asks us what he can help us with. I tell him we are looking for a spring. He very patiently replies "I carry lots of springs, you're going to need to be more specific." "Beats me what they're called; just a spring for an old-fashioned screen door." "That's it. A screen door spring. Right down there." We turn to where he is pointing, and sure enough, there they are. Andy knows his store, and his products. That's why I come here instead of Meijer. The service can't be beat. The price, Yes. But service and satisfaction; No. I pick up one and follow him to the counter. A keg of peanuts sits beside the counter, and beside it, another for the hulls. Let me know when Lowes does that. Covering the counter is a piece of Plexiglas, and under it, all manner of business cards. "Hey got a card? Put one under here. Free advertising space." "Thanks Andy, but I already have one. See, over here." "Well, I'll be; you do." He figures up the price, doing the math in his head. "$1.88, with Uncle Sam's share comes to $1.99" "Put it on Pop's account." He nods and smiles, remembering that this is the third item this week that received that verdict. "Good ole' Pop's account." He chuckles. "I don't know what you boys would do without Pop's account!" He hands me the ticket and as I sign it I ask rhetorically, "You really trust my signature?" His reply startles, yet gladdens me. "When I can't trust Jerry Hoover's boys; I can't trust nobody!" We leave, and the brain immediately starts to forget things, in order of importance. But what Andy Bianco said that day, rang in my ears. And it rings in my ears today. That's a tall order to live up to. It's a high standard of integrity. My father made a reputation for that name, and I get to enjoy the benefits thereof. But by the same token, I must maintain that reputation. And that's serious business.

Author - Author Unknown  (Source: Source Unknown)

Flowers on the Bus
We were a very motley crowd of people who took the bus every day that summer 33 years ago. During the early morning ride from the suburb, we sat drowsily with our collars up to our ears, a cheerless and taciturn bunch. One of the passengers was a small grey man who took the bus to the centre for senior citizens every morning. He walked with a stoop and a sad look on his face when he, with some difficulty, boarded the bus and sat down alone behind the driver. No one ever paid very much attention to him. Then one July morning he said good morning to the driver and smiled short-sightedly down through the bus before he sat down. The driver nodded guardedly. The rest of us were silent. The next day, the old man boarded the bus energetically, smiled and said in a loud voice: "And a very good morning to you all!" Some of us looked up, amazed, and murmured "Good morning," in reply. The following weeks we were more alert. Our friend was now dressed in a nice old suit and a wide out-of-date tie. The thin hair had been carefully combed. He said good morning to us every day and we gradually began to nod and talk to each other. One morning he had a bunch of wild flowers in his hand. They were already dangling a little because of the heat. The driver turned around smilingly and asked: "Have you got yourself a girlfriend, Charlie?" We never got to know if his name really was "Charlie", but he nodded shyly and said yes. The other passengers whistled and clapped at him. Charlie bowed and waved the flowers before he sat down on his seat. Every morning after that Charlie always brought a flower. Some of the regular passengers began bringing him flowers for his bouquet, gently nudged him and said shyly: "Here." Everyone smiled. The men started to jest about it, talk to each other, and share the newspaper. The summer went by, and autumn was closing in, when one morning Charlie wasn't waiting at his usual stop. When he wasn't there the next day and the day after that, we started wondering if he was sick or -- hopefully -- on holiday somewhere. When we came nearer to the centre for senior citizens, one of the passengers asked the driver to wait. We all held our breaths when she went to the door. Yes, the staff said, they knew who we were talking about. The elderly gentleman was fine, but he hadn't been coming to the centre that week. One of his very close friends had died at the weekend. They expected him back on Monday. How silent we were the rest of the way to work. The next Monday Charlie was waiting at the stop, stooping a bit more, a little bit more grey, and without a tie. He seemed to have shrinked again. Inside the bus was a silence akin to that in a church. Even though no one had talked about it, all those of us, who he had made such an impression on that summer, sat with our eyes filled with tears and a bunch of wild flowers in our hands.

Author - Author  (Source: Source Unknown)

Small Victories
Standing in the noisy cafeteria of the old school, I was watching the students line up for lunch. Having wearied of trying to "cut" in line on each other, they were intently moving toward the food. As I continued to watch their progress, I began to remember scenes from my own grade school days. This old school building was somewhat similar to mine. I could still remember coming into the warm building with the funny smells of furnace heat and cleaning liquids. I visualized the rooms, heated with old-fashioned steam pipe radiators and the hand-turn heat regulators. I could picture the Spartan desks in long straight rows, with scratched and scared surfaces, and the small cloak closets with wood doors folding in along the back of the room. "Teacher," a small hand tugged my wrist, "I can't eat my lunch," complained a small Asian American boy, standing behind me. My thoughts abruptly returned to the present in the cafeteria of the old school where I was substitute teaching. "What's wrong?" I replied as I watched the last of the lunch line disappear into the kitchen. "Why not?" I asked as I turned to face the cafeteria at large. "Jamal and Anthony keep poking at my food. I don't want to eat it!" Making my way to his lunch table, I took up Lee's cause. I admonished the children, "Keep your hands to yourselves and eat properly!" My repeated warnings went unheeded, and I began to move the children to different spots at the table. To no avail--as soon as Lee sat down, the pestering began again. As the hearty children began finishing their food, I urged Lee to go back to the kitchen to get a second lunch, promising I would speak to the cooks for him. When I went out to playground duty, he was still sitting in front of his second tray, picking at the food. I tried not to worry about the thin child because I remembered that I had not always eaten my cafeteria lunches and I survived. I substituted frequently at this school, and in a few weeks, I was back in Lee's small class. Both the teacher and the assistant were absent. The children in this room had some learning difficulties, and each child had different instructions and activities. I soon realized that Lee had a problem with staying on task and with anger. As I moved through the room, I stopped by each child to check on progress and to help with work. Lee was working with educational coloring sheets, and I let him work on his pictures in sequence rather than finishing one at a time. Doing a part of each until all were completed seemed to suit his temperament. He began to smile as if he and I shared a huge joke. This time, I did not have lunch duty, so I lined the children up and led them to the cafeteria where another teacher took charge of their progress through the line. I went back to the room to check each child's work again and eat a quick sandwich. In fifteen minutes, Lee was back in the room, unable to eat lunch again, having left the cafeteria without permission. I gave him some money, the cost of an alternate lunch, and walked him down to the cafeteria. At the end of lunch, Lee was back in the room with the young man assigned to the room as psychological counselor. Evidently, a cafeteria supervisor sent him to be counseled about his difficulties with eating. Slowly, with shyness and pride, he handed me my money back and told me what he and the counselor had rehearsed. "Thank you, Mrs. Grishan (his pronunciation), but my mom and dad will not let me accept money. They provide my food." I smiled, accepted the money, and watched Lee go with the counselor for further discussion. When he returned, the counselor stayed with him to keep him sweet and on task. Later in the year, I was back at the same school to substitute with a large fourth grade class for a week. The day I had lunch duty, I noticed as I glanced quickly around the cafeteria that Lee's table was at peace. They were eating quietly and were not teasing each other. Lee was eating too, and as he looked at me intensely, I glanced away because I did not want to interfere with his concentration on his food. I know, though, that I was smiling, and my heart was singing. I thought of the phrase, "all the little children of the world, brown and yellow, black and white," and these precious children were all getting along just fine. I knew that major work by persistent teachers, a dedicated counselor, fine administrators, and parents willing to partner with the school had wrought a change in the life of these troubled children.

Author - Mary-Ellen Grisham  (Source: Source Unknown)

Cheering Me On
I close my eyes as tight as they can go. The lights go off, and my imagination switches on. Pictures flash through my mind like an old film from the fifties. I remember driving home by myself for the first time. Now, I look into the future and imagine that I am walking across the stage to receive my college diploma. The years pass, and I hear my fianc say "I do." I look further and listen to the gentle gurgles coming from my baby's nursery. A smile discreetly appears as memories past and thoughts of the future travel through my soul. I journey to memories of my high school graduation, and a tear suddenly trickles down my cheek. I look into the bleachers packed with families and friends. I see my parents wrapped in pride, and I look to their side for Katie and Kevin's approval. But Katie, my older sister, is not there. My eyes abruptly open as I am snapped back into reality. I remember being called out of Spanish class in tenth grade and taken to the hospital to see Katie, who had cancer, for the final time. It was an excruciating task, but I found the good in Katie's tragic death. Katie's room is exactly the way she left it on a Friday night in September, 1993, when she was carried to the ambulance on a stretcher. Her James Dean poster hangs on one wall; her elementary school track ribbons and collection of porcelain masks hangs on the others. Her bed is neatly made and lined with stuffed animals -- typical of a girl who would visit her sloppier friends and, without prompting, start vacuuming their rooms. Katie died just a few weeks into her freshman year at the University of Miami. At eighteen she was 5'5'' tall and had straight shoulder length blond hair, big blue eyes, and pale clear skin. Her senior year in high school, Katie was the varsity cheerleader captain and valedictorian. More importantly, though, she was my best friend. After all, when she was six years old, she had declared herself old enough to take care of her little sister and brand new baby brother, because she thought our mother was not sharing us enough with her. This caring attitude continued throughout her life. Katie would always braid my hair, go shopping with me, and let me go out with her and her friends when I was lonely and bored. Katie would always tutor Kevin, who has a learning disability, when he needed help with his homework. She would continually drill him on his studies until he got it right. Afterwards, she would take him to go get ice cream as a reward. Clearly, Katie was not just our older sister. She was also our teacher, friend, and second mother. Katie always surrounded herself with friends. She was constantly opening her ears, heart, and arms to someone in need. The phone was constantly ringing and her room was always crowded with people in it. Now, my house is silent. I realize that getting caught in a pool of depression only leads to drowning. I live by looking for the positive in the worst situations. I now have a relationship with my parents and brother that means everything to me. I know what is important in life, and it is not always partying and getting A's. But most of all, I know that I can handle anything. Life is not easy, but I overcame one of its toughest obstacles. I believe, the hardest part of death is the experiences it steals. Katie will not be clapping for me when I finally get my college diploma or giving me advice on my wedding day. My children will only hear stories of the girlhood of their aunt, both stories of reality and an imagined future. I close my eyes as tight as they can go. A diploma is placed in my hand. "I do" echoes from a distance. Katie says she loves me and hugs me tight on a September afternoon in 1993. Just before I cross my high school auditorium stage, I look out at the spectators in the bleachers, and I see mother and father and Kevin. Katie is sitting right beside them, cheering me on.

Author -  (Source: Source Unknown)

Acorns and Pumpkins
An old poem describes a woman walking through a meadow, meditating on nature. While strolling about, she came upon a field of golden pumpkins. In the corner of the field stood a majestic, huge oak tree. She sat under the oak tree musing on the strange twists in nature which put tiny acorns on huge branches and huge pumpkins on tiny vines. She thought to herself, "God blundered with Creation! He should have put the small acorns on the tiny vines and the large pumpkins on the huge branches." Nodding off, the woman stretched out under the oak tree for a nap. A few minutes after falling asleep she was awakened by a tiny acorn bouncing off her nose. Chuckling to herself, she rubbed her nose and thought, "Maybe God was right after all!"

Author - Author Unknown  (Source: More Sower\'s Seeds)

Always There
Hello God, I called tonight To talk a little while I need a friend who'll listen To my anxiety and trial. You see, I can't quite make it Through a day just on my own... I need your love to guide me, So I'll never feel alone. I want to ask you please to keep, My family safe and sound. Come and fill their lives with confidence For whatever fate they're bound. Give me faith, dear God, to face Each hour throughout the day, And not to worry over things I can't change in any way. I thank you God, for being home And listening to my call, For giving me such good advice When I stumble and fall. Your number, God, is the only one That answers every time. I never get a busy signal, Never had to pay a dime. So thank you, God, for listening To my troubles and my sorrow. Good night, God, I love You, too, And I'll call again tomorrow!

Author - Author Unknown  (Source: Source Unknown)

To the disciples' delight the Master said he wanted a new shirt for his birthday. The finest cloth was bought. The village tailor came in to have the Master measured, and promised, by the will of God, to make the shirt within a week. A week went by and a disciple was dispatched to the tailor while the Master excitedly waited for his shirt. Said the tailor, "There has been a slight delay. But, by the will of God, it will be ready by tomorrow." Next day the tailor said, "I'm sorry it isn't done. Try again tomorrow and, if God so wills, it will certainly be ready." The following day the Master said, "Ask him how long it will take if he keeps God out of it."

Author - Anthony de Mello  (Source: One Minute Wisdom)

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