Inspirational Jewels

Thanks, Heather!

 

Updated 02/21/03

 

The Seven Wonders of the World

A group of students were asked to list what they thought were the present Seven Wonders of the World. Though there was some disagreement, the following got the most votes:

1. Egypt's Great Pyramids
2. Taj Mahal
3. Grand Canyon
4. Panama Canal
5. Empire State Building
6. St. Peter's Basilica
7. China's Great Wall


While gathering the votes, the teacher noted that one quiet student who had not returned her paper. So she asked the girl if she was having trouble with her list.

The girl replied, "Yes, a little. I couldn't quite make up my mind because there were so many."

 

The teacher said, "Well, tell us what you have, and maybe we can help you out."

 

The girl hesitated, then read, "I think the Seven Wonders of the World are:

1. to touch
2. to taste
3. to see
4. to hear
She hesitated a little, and then added
5. to feel
6. to laugh
7. and to love

The room was so full of silence, you could have heard a pin drop.

 

 

 

A Christian Message

Take My Son
Author unknown


A wealthy man and his son loved to collect rare works of art. They had everything in their collection, from Picasso to Raphael. They would often sit together and admire the great works of art.

 

When the Vietnam conflict broke out, the son went to war. He was very courageous and died in battle while rescuing another soldier. The father was notified and grieved deeply for his only son.

About a month later, just before Christmas, there was a knock at the door. A young man stood at the door with a large package in his hands. He said, "Sir, you don't know me, but I am the soldier for whom your son gave his life. He saved many lives that day, and he was carrying me to safety when a bullet struck him in the heart and he died instantly. He often talked about you, and your love for art."

The young man held out this package. "I know this isn't much. I'm not really a great artist, but I think your son would have wanted you to have this."

The father opened the package. It was a portrait of his son, painted by the young man. He stared in awe at the way the soldier had captured the personality of his son in the painting. The father was so drawn to the eyes that his own eyes welled up with tears.

He thanked the young man and offered to pay him for the picture. "Oh, no sir, I could never repay what your son did for me. It's a gift."

The father hung the portrait over his mantle. Every time visitors came to his home he took them to see the portrait of his son before he showed them any of the other great works he had collected.

The man died a few months later. There was to be a great auction of his paintings. Many influential people gathered, excited over seeing the great paintings and having an opportunity to purchase one for their collection.

On the platform sat the painting of the son. The auctioneer pounded his gavel. "We will start the bidding with this picture of the son. Who will bid for this picture?"

There was silence.

Then a voice in the back of the room shouted, "We want to see the famous paintings. Skip this one."

But the auctioneer persisted. "Will someone bid for this painting? Who will start the bidding? $100, $200?"

Another voice shouted angrily. "We didn't come to see this painting. We came to see the Van Goghs, the Rembrandts. Get on with the real bids!"

But still the auctioneer continued. "The son! The son! Who'll take the son?

Finally, a voice came from the very back of the room. It was the longtime gardener of the man and his son. "I'll give $10 for the painting." Being a poor man, it was all he could afford.

"We have $10, who will bid $20?"

"Give it to him for $10. Let's see the masters."

"$10 is the bid, won't someone bid $20?"

The crowd was becoming angry. They didn't want the picture of the son. They wanted the more worthy investments for their collections.

The auctioneer pounded the gavel. "Going once, twice, SOLD for $10!"

A man sitting on the second row shouted, "Now let's get on with the collection!"

The auctioneer laid down his gavel. "I'm sorry, the auction is over."

"What about the paintings?"

"I am sorry. When I was called to conduct this auction, I was told of a secret stipulation in the will. I was not allowed to reveal that stipulation until this time. Only the painting of the son would be auctioned. Whoever bought that painting would inherit the entire estate, including the paintings. The man who took the son gets everything!"

God gave His son 2,000 years ago to die on a cruel cross. Much like the auctioneer, His message today is: "The son, the son, who'll take the son?"

Because, you see, whoever takes the Son gets everything.

 

 

Previously -

 

Great Words to Live By

She is 92 years old, petite, well poised, and proud. She is fully dressed each morning by eight o'clock, with her hair fashionably coifed, and her makeup perfectly applied, in spite of the fact she is legally blind. Today she has moved to a nursing home. Her husband of 70 years recently passed away, making this move necessary. After many hours of waiting patiently in the lobby of the nursing home where I am employed, she smiled sweetly when told her room was ready.

As she maneuvered her walker to the elevator, I provided a visual description of her tiny room, including the eyelet curtains that had been hung on her window.

"I love it," she stated with the enthusiasm of an eight-year-old having just been presented with a new puppy.

"Mrs. Jones, you haven't seen the room... just wait," I said.

Then she spoke these words that I will never forget:

 

"That does not have anything to do with it," she gently replied. "Happiness is something you decide on ahead of time. Whether I like my room or not, does not depend on how the furniture is arranged. It is how I arrange my mind. I have already decided to love it.

 

It is a decision I make every morning when I wake up. I have a choice. I can spend the day in bed recounting the difficulty I have with the parts of my body that no longer work, or I can get out of bed and be thankful for the ones that do work.

Each day is a gift, and as long as my eyes open, I will focus on the new day and all of the happy memories I have stored away... just for this time in my life. Old age is like a bank account. You withdraw from what you have already put in. I believe that our background and circumstances may have influenced who we are, but we are responsible for who we become.

I believe- that no matter how good a friend is, they're going to hurt you every once in a while and you must forgive them for that.

I believe that just because someone doesn't love you the way you want them to doesn't mean they don't love you with all they have.

I believe that true friendship continues to grow, even over the longest distance. Same goes for true love.

I believe that it's taking me a long time to become the person I want to be.

I believe that you should always leave loved ones with loving words. It may be the
last time you see them.

I believe that you can keep going, long after you can't.

I believe that we are responsible for what we do, no matter how we feel.

I believe that either you control your attitude or it controls you.


I believe that heroes are the people who do what has to be done when it needs to be done, regardless of the consequences.

I believe that money is a lousy way of keeping score.

I believe that my best friend and I can do anything or nothing and have the best time.

I believe that sometimes the people you expect to kick you when you're down, will be the ones to help you get back up.

I believe that sometimes when I'm angry I have the right to be angry, but that doesn't give me the right to be cruel.

I believe that maturity has more to do with what types of experiences you've had and what you've learned from them and less to do with how many birthdays you've celebrated.

I believe that it isn't always enough to be forgiven by others. Sometimes you have to learn to forgive yourself.

I believe that no matter how bad your heart is broken the world doesn't stop for your grief.

I believe that just because two people argue, it doesn't mean they don't love each other. And just because they don't argue, it doesn't mean they do.

I believe that you shouldn't be so eager to find out a secret. It could change your life forever.

I believe that two people can look at the exact same thing and see something totally different.

I believe that your life can be changed in a matter of hours by people who don't even know you.

I believe that even when you think you have no more to give, when a friend cries out to you, you will find the strength to help.

I believe that credentials on the wall do not make you a decent human being.

I believe that the people you care about most in life are taken from you too soon.

 

 

 

This is a true story about ITZHAK PERLMAN 

On Nov. 18, 1995, Itzhak Perlman, the violinist, came on stage to give a concert 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 has braces on both legs and walks with the aid of two crutches. To see him walk across the stage one step at the time, painfully and slowly is a sight. He walks painfully, yet majestically, until he reaches his chair. Then he sits down, slowly, put his
crutches on the floor, undoes the clasps on his legs, tucks one foot back and extend the other foot forward. Then he bends down and picks up his 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 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 he had to do.

People who were there that night thought to themselves:
"We figured that he would have to get up, put on the clasps again, pick up the crutches and limp his way off the stage -- to either find another violin or else find another string for this one. Or wait for someone to bring him another."


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, you know that. But that night Itzhak Perlman refused to know that. You could see him modulating, changing and recomposing 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. Everyone was on their feet, screaming and cheering, doing everything they could to show how much they appreciated what he had done.

He smiled, wiped the sweat from his brow, raised his bow to quiet the audience, not boastfully, but in a quiet 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. And who knows? Perhaps that is the way of life - not just for an artist but for all of us. Here is a man who has prepared all his life to make music on a violin with four strings, who all of a sudden, in the middle of a concert, finds himself with only three strings and the music he made that night with just three strings was more beautiful, more sacred, more memorable, than any that 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. In this year where so much has been taken from us all, let us stop for a moment and think how we can make beautiful music with what we still have left.

 

 

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