Saturday, July 9, 2011

Disturb us, O Lord

Disturb us, O Lord,
When we are
Too well pleased
With ourselves;

Disturb us, O Lord,
When our dreams come true
Only because
We have dreamed too little;

Disturb us, O Lord,
When we arrive safely
Only because
We sailed too close to the shore;

Disturb us, O Lord,
When with the abundance of things
We are losing our thirst
For more of God;

Disturb us, O Lord,
When in loving time,
We have ceased
To dream of eternity;

Disturb us, O Lord,
When in our desire to build on this earth
We have lost
Our vision of a new heaven.

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Thunderstorm


An airliner flew into a violent thunderstorm and was soon swaying and bumping around the sky. One very nervous lady happened to be sitting next to a clergyman and turned to him.

"Can't you do something?" she demanded angrily.

"I'm sorry m'aam," the reverend said gently, "I'm in sales, not management."

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Walls we build

In an effort to separate ourselves from life for whatever reason, we attempt to build walls. These walls are made up of excuses, lies, and denial. Like the ostrich we think by burying our heads in the ground no one can see us.

Life starts closing in on us and instead of pushing back we begin to limit ourselves. The barrier may begin with a refusal to participate in something. A family party, a gathering of friends. We shut the door and lie to ourselves thinking no one cares.

"I won't be missed. They don't need me there."

Then it begins to show at work. We produce less, expect nothing and get nothing in return. We see it as life punishing us and why shouldn't it. We are simply not worthy of it. Or so the lie goes. Layer by layer, piece by piece we dig deeper, build higher until we have completely removed ourselves. Then while inside this invisible wall we have created we begin to blame others for shutting us out. The perceived darkness comes not from the lack of light, but the self induced blindness created by denial.

You begin to believe "There's no way out!"

Or, "There's no way in."

But you're wrong!

There isn't a fortress, there isn't a barrier, there isn't a negative thought, action or ideal that God can't break through. Like a leaky basement, a house built of brick, or grave you have mentally dug for yourself, there is always a way.

It begins with a note from a friend. A knock on your door, a spoken word overheard that grabs your attention and pierces your heart. An email from someone arriving right just as you think you have sealed off the world completely suddenly shakes the very foundation. In the once stuffy confines you suddenly and dramatically feel a breath of fresh air. There's someone pounding on the walls relentlessly because they know you're in there and they won't stop until you come out.

Why? Because love penetrates all.

Love softens the hardest hearts. It soothes the most painful loss. It extinguishes the fires of loneliness and surrounds you like a blanket on a cold night. Buried deep in doubt and depression it takes awhile for your eyes to adjust to the brightness and beauty of the day until the very moment when you look around and realize how very much you are needed and the world does indeed have a place for you in it.

If you shut yourself off. God will break through.

He sent me today just to say "I care for you."

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Friday, July 8, 2011

Advising friends

One day Otto Erich Hartleben, a German poet, visited a doctor about his health problems. The doctor advised Hartleben to quit smoking cigarettes and to stop drinking alcohol.

The doctor added, “This visit will cost you three marks.”

“I’m not paying you,” said Hartleben, “because I’m not taking your advice.”

We all have found it the hard way: Most people won’t follow advice - regardless of how good it is, - as was the case with poet Otto Erich Hartleben.

Our advice to a best friend may very well be helpful, but if it means that our best friend must put in some work and effort, he/she will likely discard it. Giving advice may not only be a waste of our time and energy - it can be dangerous to your friendship as well.

Secondly, it is particularly dangerous to offer advice when you haven't been asked for it. This is one of the rules of friendship. Some people will refuse to take advice regardless of how good it is and how noble our intentions are.

Thirdly, our relationship with friends can only get strained to the limit if we persist. They may start avoiding us and even stop talking to us. They may not realize that we are trying to help them, regardless of how much ever we care for their well being and safety. On the contrary, they may think that we are highly judgmental and are trying to make them wrong. Our advice is most likely to be ignored.

Here is what people most often do, in order to maintain friendship - just agree and nod at whatever their friends say or do. That way there is no disagreement, and their friends love them immensely, for being on their side; either right or wrong. Let's take the case of poet Otto Erich Hartleben once again.  On the way back from the doctor's office if someone invited him to smoke and drink, he would have loved that person and considered him/her as his good friend.

Moral: To maintain friendship, bite your tongue.

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Friends are one thing; true and honest friends are quite another.  When you have a crisis in life and need comforting, they are the ones whom you think of immediately.  If you want to be a true friend to someone, it's a different story and different rules apply.
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Thursday, July 7, 2011

Best about friendship

10 Best Things Ever Said about Friendship

Nothing but heaven itself is better than a friend who is really a friend.
- Plautus

Only your real friends will tell you when your face is dirty.
- Sicilian Proverb

It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

If I don't have friends, then I ain't nothing.
- Billie Holiday

Friendship is like money, easier made than kept.
- Samuel Butler

To be rich in friends - is to be poor in nothing.
- Anonymous

A mere friend will agree with you, but a real friend will argue.
- Russian Proverb

Make new friends but cherish the old ones.
- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

A loyal best friend is someone who sticks up for you even when you're not there.
- Anonymous

On the road between homes of friends, grass does not grow. 
- Norwegian proverb

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