I read pearls of wisdom that others have written because they serve me well and enhance and/or confirm any wisdom I may have acquired over the years. I also love to read how others express themselves through their different writing styles. So let me share some more words from other wonderful people.
“Edge your days with prayer; they are less likely to unravel.” (Unknown)
“There’s not a thing in the world I can do to make you love me, but I also realize there’s not a thing in the world I can do to stop you from loving me.” (Sheila Walsh)
“When we know that we are worthy of love, we no longer need to engage in a profusion of activities designed to prove our worthiness to ourselves or to others. Our inner sense of worth enables us to give love without demands or expectations, thereby creating the pathway through which love spontaneously returns to us. Grace unfolds in our lives and we are naturally drawn toward events and circumstances to which we can contribute our energy and attention.” (Paul Ferrini)
“A burden, even a small one, when carried alone and in isolation can destroy us, but a burden when carried as part of God’s burden can lead us to new life.” (Henri Nouwen)
“The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it.” (Chinese Proverb)
“Are you on the eve of change? Embrace it. Accept it. Don’t resist it. Change is not only a part of life, change is also a necessary part of God’s strategy. To use us to change the world, he alters our assignments.” (Max Lucado)
“I have many friends who do not believe in luck; they believe in blessings. Likewise, I do not believe in coincidences; I believe in miracles.” (Jane Seymour)
“Grace is what God gives us when we don’t deserve it, and mercy is when God doesn’t give us what we deserve.” (Anonymous)
“Remember always that you not only have the right to be an individual, you also have the obligation to be one.” (Eleanor Roosevelt)
And I can’t think of a better way or a better person’s quote to close up today’s posting on wisdom.
Christmas and the New Year is always a time when I find myself digging through “old stuff”. This is partly because, as I acquire various gifts for people throughout the year, I put them in “special places” which I then forget about. Therefore I have to search high and low for them, which leads me to look in places that I don’t check into normally. And so top shelves and boxes and bottom drawers yield a treasure trove of gifts, new gems, words that I have squirrelled away that now come to light to be shared with others. Enjoy!
“When working with others, leave the results to God.” (Anonymous)
“What makes us special is the signature of God on our lives.” (Max Lucado)
“To expect life to be tailored to our specifications is to invite frustration.” (Anonymous)
“Everyone has a talent. What is rare is the courage to follow the talent to the dark place where it leads.” (Erica Jong)
“Fatherly and motherly hearts often beat wise and warm in the breasts of bachelor uncles and maiden aunts; and it is my private opinion that these worthy
creatures are a beautiful provision of nature for the cherishing of other people’s children.” (Louisa Mae Alcott)
“Contentment is the philosopher’s stone, which turns all it touches into gold; the poor man is rich with it, the rich man poor without it.” (Proverb)
“Life is like a blanket too short. You pull it up and your toes rebel, you yank it down and shivers meander about your shoulders; but cheerful folks manage
to draw their knees up and pass a very comfortable night.” (Marion Howard)
“The longer I live the more I am convinced that the one thing worth living for and dying for is the privilege of making someone more happy and more
useful. No man who ever does anything to lift his fellows ever makes a sacrifice.” (Booker T. Washington)
“Grant to me that I may be made beautiful in my soul within, and that all external possessions be in harmony with my inner man. May I consider the wise man
rich, and may I have such wealth as only the self-restrained man can bear or endure.” (Prayer of Socrates)
“I’ve learned to hold everything loosely because it hurts when God pries my fingers from it.” (Corrie ten Boom)
“The burden of suffering seems to be a tombstone hung around our necks. Yet in reality it is simply the weight necessary to hold the diver down while
he is searching for pearls.” (Julius Richter)
And this last one is truly one to ponder on:
“Never underestimate yourself or what God can do in your life because remember, professionals built the Titanic, but amateurs built the ark!”
One of my morning readings yesterday carried that title: Your Father. And although it was referring to God as Father, it made me instinctively think of my own father. His name was Alfred, but everyone called him Alf. He died 9 June 1997.
I know that unfortunately there are many people who do not have a good relationship with their father. The sad statistics on child abuse the world over reflect this situation. And I have read that these statistics do not give a true picture of the enormity of this problem because much child abuse goes undetected or unreported.
I was very blessed. I had a very good father but I did not have a very good relationship with him. We didn’t argue or fight and he certainly never abused me. He wasn’t strict or stern. He was just a very quiet person who didn’t have a big personality, and he wasn’t big on showing his emotions – good or bad. (He died without ever having said “I love you” to me.) I used to describe him as nondescript, the kind of person who faded into the furniture.
He was also a product of his times and of his family background. I do remember that his mother, my grandmother, always had a twinkle in her eye. My grandfather, however, was the absolute opposite. I do not remember him with a smile on his face. When we visited them at their house, he was always seated at a table in the very small, very narrow, very dark kitchenette/dining room, staring morosely out the window and drinking a Guinness. They lived in a very small rather bleak apartment and did not have much money. There was not much joy present.
As I made changes to my lifestyle and began to mature (at the grand old age of thirty five!) I began to review the perceptions I had of my father. I realized that I had played a part in the non-relationship that we had. I am guessing that my father did not live up to whatever grandiose expectations that I may have laid on him, and therefore I probably, for the most part, dismissed him.
I need and want to rectify on paper right here and now any mistaken perceptions I may have perpetuated. My father was a totally good man. He worked hard, at two jobs, to provide for all of us. Actually, when I think about it, he worked at four jobs. He had his fulltime job in a civic agency and he also worked a part time job as a supervisor of ticket sales at a dog track. Then at home he also ran a small shoe repair business for friends and family, and when he wasn’t busy at any of those jobs, he created, planted and maintained an incredible garden, providing us with at least 50% of all our fresh vegetables, salad, and fruit. (This was how he said his “I love you’s.”)
As you may imagine, my father was not a “Johnny-go-lightly”. He just didn’t have the time or energy. The only time he left the house was to go to one job or another. He did not go out “with the boys” and he didn’t even go out, as in “on dates”, with my mother. (Even if they had had the money, which they didn’t, they didn’t have the time or the energy.) He was always at home when he wasn’t working. He was always available if we needed him.
I had very few possibilities to make up for lost time in my relationship with Dad. Once I came to my senses I lived for many years overseas so did not get much opportunity to rebuild a close relationship with him during my visits home. And, sad to say, by the age of sixty five/seventy he had lost most desire to be a happy person and was rather difficult to be around.
Because of this I am so grateful to have a deeply intimate and personal relationship with that “other Father”. It did not come easily to me because I carried old ideas from childhood education of a stern and vengeful God. I thought He was a God who would point His finger at me and who kept a running tally of my sins.
I have been blessed a thousand fold since then to have been given teachers along my path who have helped me to find a Father who loves me passionately. In the Old Testament God is called Father only six times, but in the New Testament, through the words of Jesus, He is called Father over sixty times. Jesus himself brought the Father very close to us.
I was also encouraged by my teachers and spiritual mentors to create a personal picture of this person I called Father. If any of you have read the classic story of Heidi you will have a clear idea of how I see my Father. He is the big, Yogi-bear-like Grandfather who takes care of Heidi. I know I can climb up into His lap and pour my heart out to Him, leaning my head on his shoulder and feeling His protective arms around me.
One of the writers whom I have quoted in previous postings has written a beautiful poem about the Father. Written by Ruth Harms Calkin it is titled I Have A Father . I will quote just the last verse here:
But the great triumphant truth is –
I have a Father.
My Father protects and upholds me.
He strengthens and supports me.
Nothing can happen to me
Outside my Father’s will.
My Father is greater by far
Than he who is in the world.
Once and for all it was settled
On a rugged cross
On a lonely hill:
I have a Father.
If you are struggling with father issues I encourage you to seek help to resolve them. You deserve that as a worthy human being. And in the meantime I urge you, from the depths of my heart, to seek a relationship with the one true Father that nobody can take away from you and who loves you dearly.