A Group of People

Posts Tagged ‘perspective’

What Do Your Pages Say?

In life, story on July 12, 2011 at 3:09 am

By Collin Peterson

The patient and I found ourselves immersed in a conversation about life, the days that have passed, and the days still ahead.  I learned that the patient was a professor at a well-known regional university.  About 10 minutes into the conversation it dawned on me that this patient is, in reality, in a hospital bed.  One wouldn’t guess that this lively and upbeat man was suffering.

The conversation came to a pause and I shifted my weight to the other foot and said, “Ya know, for being in the hospital, you sure are lively.”

The patient grinned.

“While it is only an observation, it seems to me that the recovery time for patients is far less for those patients who maintain a positive attitude throughout their recovery versus those that don’t feel as upbeat,” I remarked.

The patient replied by saying, “While it is only an adage, ‘You can’t judge a book by its cover.’”

“Well said.” I grinned.

“I will tell you one more thing,” the patient announced while shifting to sit upright, “A friend of mine once said that life is like a book.  Every page should be something that you can go back and touch.”

What is written in your proverbial book?  The best laugh you shared with your family, your child’s graduation, the return of a loved one.  What is not written?  Are there any missing or blank pages?  If so, why?  This man had a good point and I believe his proverb goes something like this:

“Books will never be obsolete, neither will your life.  Never include pages that do not have anything on them, they just weigh the book down.  Always be thankful for what you’re writing, as you never know how many times your story will be read.”

“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

1 Timothy 4:16 The Message

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She gave him a lollipop by @kelmar4

In giving, life, perspective on July 12, 2011 at 2:58 am

By Karen Mares

She walked down our street on an early summer day in her long coat and her scarf covering her head. Hunched over, she walked up to me while I was putting Boy in his car seat, ready to rush out for an errand that I can’t even remember now.

She approached me, and said, “Here, for him. I a Grandma.” She handed me the lollipop to give to my Boy. She had a thick accent that sounded Russian. Weathered face with a big smile, life had clearly not been easy for her. Yet, she smiled, and carried lollipops in her purse in case she saw a child. Her smile became mine and Boy’s. She made him happy, and me grateful. Grateful for her thoughtfulness, her smile, and the path she had journeyed to bring her to us.

She walked away after we thanked her, hunched over, a slight limp, and I haven’t stopped thinking about her since. I wondered what brought her to my street, brought her to America. I imagined all kinds of reasons why this old woman, who had clearly lived much life in her years, was here, walking down a random suburban street with lollipops in her purse. I wondered how she had survived whatever she had survived and still managed to have a desire to bring joy to strangers by sharing not only her lollipops, but in a way, a part of herself.

When I contrast that with my own self-induced frazzled life, something stirs inside me that I can’t quite put my finger on. We chase and run after the things we think we want. We get myopic. Crossing paths with this beautiful old woman reminded me that sometimes what we think we want isn’t what we need. Perhaps what we need is to make sure that we have a spare lollipop in our purses in case we see an opportunity to bring a little joy to someone else.

From Haiti : Update 001

In cause, life, mission on March 22, 2011 at 5:29 pm

By Ezra Stanton

Ezra: Descending

I am so proud of this team already and we have only been here for a couple hours. After a somewhat intense 24 hour  period of travel (minus a stop on the beach and a quick trip to In-N-Out), our team arrived in Haiti. Within an hour of descending from the sky, our team was actively serving the Haitians without prompting or instruction.

Just before lunch, I found myself in the middle of a conversation with the missionaries who are overseeing this entire operation. Out of nowhere, I heard the distinct sound of laughter. Not the chuckling or a courtesy kind, but a laughter from deep within. Laughter from the mouths of different people, different generations, different nationalities. It was the kind of laughter that made you turn around and wonder what in the world am I missing out on? And as you already know that is exactly what we did.

However, the cause of this rich laughter was far from expected. One of our team members, a woman by the name of Megan was at a black board underneath the open Haitian sky teaching 50 or so people. I don’t know if it was the blank canvas or a chance to simply live out her passion (Megan teaches French at a local high school) or her larger than life personality that brought about this impromptu decision, but she went for it. The moment was nothing shy of incredible. It was the kind of moment that as a team leader you think: “This is exactly how you want to descend off a flight – interacting, serving and loving.”

I have had the privilege of leading quite a few missions trips over the past decade, yet I have never seen a team descend and hit the ground like this. This just caused the level of expectation of what The Almighty is going to do, to ascend to a new level.

Shera: Perspective

We arrived in Haiti after a long day of travel. I thought I knew what to expect. Even though I was warned, it was still a shock to see the tents and shacks as the plane landed. We stepped off the plane and into the humid air. I listened to the “island” music as we entered the shuttle to get our bags. After no luck searching for our bags, we discovered the other team picked them up a couple hours earlier. It was a blessing in disguise, because after 30 minutes of searching, the crowd was gone by the time we left which made it less chaotic leaving the airport.

Craig took us to our van, and as he lead us down the walkway a boy about 13 years old begged us for money until he could no longer follow the fence. We were told not to give them money, because they most likely work for people who abuse them. It still broke my heart to see this boy pleading for money while patting his belly and saying he was hungry in French or Creole. I could only pick out the word “manger” meaning to eat.

Traffic. There are no rules to the road, so only aggressive drivers get through. After an interesting ride past rubble and women carrying baskets on their heads, we arrived to a cement block wall with razor wire on top. The church compound consisted of a church and school under a large tent, a cement foundation waiting for the church building to clear customs, and the dorms. I was surprised at how nice our dorms and bathrooms are. Plywood walls and western toilets! Read the rest of this entry »

Rowboat back to simple

In coping, life, simple, writing on March 7, 2011 at 6:49 pm

By Liz Dugger

“I’m afraid that exactly as the Snake seduced Eve with his smooth patter, you are being lured away from the simple purity of your love for Christ.” 2 Corinthians 11:3 (The Message)

In some spare moments I sat down to write. It was the perfect time and place. My head streamed with zinger type thoughts that made me excited about the future – anticipate fruitful days and productive feelings. A mini revelation was on the verge of spilling words onto a page.

So I sat down to testify that I was on my way. Back to simple. Ready to leave convoluted purpose, vision, goals in many areas of life … behind … for a lighter way.

I started writing and got antsy. It felt complicated. As I tried to untangle reasons life had become so complex, my thoughts began to fragment so I chased them through my head trying to keep them together. The concept “simplicity” caused a big blur.

Life had been a blur for a long time. Not because all was “bad.” But many challenges and changes intersected at a time when the world was speeding up. Every facet of life got tangled up.

Because so much was out of my control and hard to sort out, I developed a coping “skill.” I lived like a crazed water sportsmen, revving up my jet ski, racing up, down, around the river. Zooming past people and places that were never quite in focus. The shoreline was a threat of interruption, useful only for fueling and re-launching. Slowing down wasn’t an option for fear of sinking.

When I started writing about simplifying, I couldn’t stand what I saw, so I set it aside.

Over a few days, beneath the blur, I felt the ache to trade my jet ski for a row boat. In my daydreams, I imagined what it would be like. I’d dock it close to shore, in calm, reflective waters, where I could keep an observant eye and close ties to all I love.

A row boat like Jesus might have launched that pulls ashore for the hungry, anchors well in wild storms, and carries friends with conversations that draw them closer to His dreams. Peace. Hope. Joy. In the company of Love.

When I look at Jesus, I’m ready to relinquish complexity. No need for lengthy, intelligent explanations. He says, “Come follow me. Let’s go.”

Rather than sorting out the yesterdays, I’m on my way into tomorrow where:

God is my definition of Love
Jesus is my model for the church
My husband gets the best of my attention
Home with family is my “favorite place to work”
Inherent gifts do more than keep me busy
Eternal fruit is the product of my day
Failure sparks mercy and compassion
Humility fills my words and songs with faith and grace …

This is enough revelation for now. My life will testify if it is true. I’m all for a row boat back to simple. You wanna ride along? Let’s go!

A Pace That Brings Perspective

In life, nature, walking on March 4, 2011 at 5:14 pm

By Gunnar Simonsen

It was a quick 5 minute drive to a park that I had no idea existed.

The skies were gray and the rain was intermittent throughout the day. When it did rain… it poured. It was certainly not the day where one would immediately decide to go for a walk.

But, something was calling me.

Not sure where the trails were going to lead me, I decided to do something different… I decided to leave my iPod behind. On these trails, I felt the need to listen. This is an odd thought as if I were to bring my music, wasn’t that what I would be doing?

Not this time, the need to listen held a much deeper meaning.

For the moment, it appeared that the rain had stopped leaving only the sounds of wind dancing through the trees and that of the stream that ran throughout this natural sanctuary that was so close to home.

There was so much to see here that I don’t recall the moment I stopped putting words in my head to preoccupy my ability to actually stop and listen. Life has a way of doing this. Our mind gets way too busy …way too often.

The sounds of a gently running stream now occupy my thoughts as I retreat to a place in my mind of when I was a kid. My surroundings quietly screamed out for me to explore them. Suddenly, the distinct colors all around me played with my heartstrings as did the different shapes and sizes of the trees, plants, and leaves.

For a moment, the stresses of this world melted away and the beauty of this “new” world, found so close to where I dwelt… came alive.

Why is it that we so easily forget that there is always a place of peaceful retreat so near to our home? It’s usually right there in front of us, yet so unattainable due to the cluttered busyness we place within our minds.

Here, I found a pace.

How is it that a pace like this can be found so close to home and I didn’t even see it?

This is a pace that brings something new to my pallet of colors and canvas that await my next stroke…

It is a pace that brings perspective.

I think I like this pace. I think I need this pace to be more consistently intertwined with the busyness of life as I know it.

Perspective should breed contemplation and this should breed wise living.

Thinking back, I am grateful that I left my iPod behind. I don’t think my best mix of songs could have brought this on. And maybe, that’s just it… maybe the soundtrack we really need is closer than we think?

Through the Window of a Plane

In airplane, belief, life, mountains, Mt. Hood, perspective, reflection on February 21, 2011 at 5:03 pm

By Gunnar Simonsen

“The Sovereign Lord is my strength! He will make me as surefooted as a deer and bring me safely over the mountains.” (Habakkuk 3:19)

A blanket of fresh snow covers the earth. White snow and blue skies as far as the eye can see. The mornings crisp cold air surrounds Mt. Hood with all its splendor and glory.

As I press my hand tightly up against the window, Mt Hood and its 10,000+ feet fits nicely into my palm. The air outside is cold, but I am warm inside this plane. The blanket of snow is not snow, but clouds that give way to this peak.

I recall as a child going up to Mt. Hood with my family. I think some relatives were visiting. Of course, anytime someone visits Oregon, you’ve got to take them to the mountain.

The drive up seemed long as I was propped up in the middle of the back seat. As a typical child, I am sure I was getting antsy.

Suddenly, there it was…as we wound our way around the mountain, the giant trees surrounding us gave way to a most awesome sight.

I remember looking UP at this mountain thinking how huge it was. Fear and respect gripped me with awesome wonder as the rays of sunlight seemed to surround its peak like a halo.

A few years had passed since that trip, and I had taken up skiing. I will never forget the day I took the chairlift to the “top” at Timberline Lodge. It was freezing cold, and the wind…I remember stepping off the chairlift and turning to adjust my goggles. For a moment I just stood there, I felt like I was on top of the world. I could see for miles.

…The plane has now began its descent, and my hand seems frozen against the window. Mt. Hood is no longer there. Just some lake, land, and some clouds.

“The Sovereign Lord is my strength! He will make me as surefooted as a deer and bring me safely over the mountains.”

Looking at mountains through the window of a plane can teach you a lot about how you view things. Its not about what you see, but in faith of what you cannot see. Read the rest of this entry »