SAND AND STONE
This story tells of two friends who were walking through the desert. At some point in the journey they had an argument, and one friend slapped the other one in the face. The one who got slapped was hurt, but without saying anything, wrote in the sand: “TODAY MY BEST FRIEND SLAPPED ME IN THE FACE.”
They kept on walking until they found an oasis, where they decided to take a bath. The one, who had been slapped, got stuck in the mire and started drowning, but the friend saved him. After the friend recovered from nearly drowning, he wrote on a stone: “TODAY MY BEST FRIEND SAVED MY LIFE.”
The friend who had slapped and saved his best friend asked him, “After I hurt you, you wrote in the sand, but now you write on a stone… why?”
The other friend replied: “When someone hurts us, we should write it in sand… where the winds of forgiveness can
erase it from view. But, when someone does something good for us, we should engrave it in stone… where no wind can ever remove it.”
SO, WRITE YOUR HURTS IN THE SAND, AND FORGET THEM.
BUT CARVE YOUR BENEFITS IN STONE, TO BE REMEMBERED.
THE MEANING OF LIFE
A story is told by Robert Fulghum, a Unitarian minister, about a seminar he once attended in Greece. On the last day of the conference, the discussion leader walked over to the bright light of an open window and looked out. Then he asked if there were any questions. Fulghum laughingly asked him what was the meaning of life. Everyone in attendance laughed and stirred to leave. However, the leader held up his hand to ask for silence and then responded “I will answer your question.” He took his wallet out of his pocket and removed a small round mirror about the size of a quarter. Then he explained “When I was a small child during World War II, we were very poor and we lived in a remote village. One day on the road, I found the broken pieces of a mirror. A German motorcycle had been wrecked in that place. I tried to find all the pieces and put them together, but it was not possible, so I kept the largest piece. This one. And by scratching it on a stone, I made it round. I began to play with it as a toy and became fascinated by the fact that I could reflect light into dark places where the sun could never shine. It became a game for me to get light into the most inaccessible places that I could find. I kept the little mirror, and as I grew up, I would take it out at idle moments and continue the challenge of the game.
As I became a man, I grew to understand that this was not just a child’s game, but a metaphor of what I could do with my life. I came to understand that I am not the light or the source of the light. But light – be it truth or understanding or knowledge – is there, and it will only shine in many dark places if I reflect it. I am a fragment of a mirror whose whole design and shape I do not know. Nevertheless, with what I have, I can reflect light into the dark places of this world – into the dark places of human hearts – and change some things in some people. Perhaps others seeing it happen will do likewise. This is what I am about. This is the meaning of my life.” (1)
Do we reflect the light of Christ into the darkness of other people’s lives? Will the world be a better place for our having been in it?
From It Was On Fire When I Lay Down On It, by Robert Fulghum.
A MILLION DOLLAR LESSON
A cab driver taught me a million dollar lesson in customer satisfaction and expectation. Motivational speakers charge thousands of dollars to impart his kind of training to corporate executives and staff. It cost me a $12 taxi ride.
I had flown into Dallas for the sole purpose of calling on a client. Time was of the essence and my plan included a quick turnaround trip from and back to the airport. A spotless cab pulled up.
The driver rushed to open the passenger door for me and made sure I was comfortably seated before he closed the door. As he got in the driver’s seat, he mentioned that the neatly folded Wall Street Journal next to me for my use. He then showed me several tapes and asked me what type of music I would enjoy.
Well! I looked around for a “Candid Camera!” Wouldn’t you? I could not believe the service I was receiving! I took the opportunity to say, “Obviously you take great pride in your work. You must have a story to tell.”
“You bet,” he replied, “I used to be in Corporate America. But I got tired of thinking my best would never be good enough. I decided to find my niche in life where I could feel proud of being the best I could be.
I knew I would never be a rocket scientist, but I love driving cars, being of service and feeling like I have done a full day’s work and done it well. I evaluate my personal assets and… wham! I became a cab driver.
One thing I know for sure, to be good in my business I could simply just meet the expectations of my passengers. But, to be GREAT in my business, I have to EXCEED the customers expectations! I like both the sound and the return of being ‘great’ better than just getting by on “average”.
BUILDING YOUR HOUSE
An elderly carpenter was ready to retire. He told his employer-contractor of his plans to leave the house-building business to live a more leisurely life with his wife and enjoy his extended family. He would miss the paycheck each week, but he wanted to retire. They could get by.
The contractor was sorry to see his good worker go and asked if he could build just one more house as a personal favor. The carpenter said yes, but over time it was easy to see that his heart was not in his work. He resorted to shoddy workmanship and used inferior materials. It was an unfortunate way to end a dedicated career.
When the carpenter finished his work, his employer came to inspect the house. Then he handed the front-door key to the carpenter and said, “This is your house… my gift to you.”
The carpenter was shocked!
What a shame! If he had only known he was building his own house, he would have done it all so differently.
So it is with us. We build our lives, a day at a time, often putting less than our best into the building. Then, with a shock, we realize we have to live in the house we have built. If we could do it over, we’d do it much differently.
But, you cannot go back. You are the carpenter, and every day you hammer a nail, place a board, or erect a wall. Someone once said, “Life is a do-it-yourself project.” Your attitude, and the choices you make today, helps build the “house” you will live in tomorrow. Build wisely!