It's Not About The Money
When I hear the same message three times in rapid succession, I figure it's a message worthy of blogging about. I once heard an old wives' tale, something about hearing the same message three times in a row- means God is talking to you. I am not sure where or when I heard it, I think my mom told me this a long time ago. Now, every time I notice that I am getting the same message over and over, I pause and ponder. So here is the message:
My daughter and I recently attended the annual mother/ daughter scholarship luncheon. It is a lovely non soccer related Saturday outing which generally involves delicious dining, fabulous fashion, and congenial company. We preview our Easter outfits and make a day of it. Prior to the sit down, we get to mill around a lovely room dropping purchased tickets into little decorated boxes in the hopes of winning the prizes. In the course of ticket dropping, we get a moment to mingle.
So there we were, and I bumped into a friend from school / church. We got to talking, and she began to tell me about her recent shopping experience at Food For Less. She had received their ad in the mail, and had decided to go purchase those steal of a deal ribs. She was going about her shopping, and kept crossing paths with an elderly couple who were carefully looking over all of the groceries. They would pick up items like meat and really look it over, and then put it back on the shelf.
They crossed paths several times and ultimately ended up next to each other in line. My friend noticed that all they had in their basket was one bag of barley and one bag of dried beans! They paid and slowly began walking to their car.
My friend felt true compassion for this couple, but wasn't sure just how to proceed about taking action. She thought about handing them some cash, but that just seemed awkward. But the thought of that little old couple driving home with just the two dried goods felt even more awkward. She made a quick decision to purchase another package of the ribs, and then ran to the parking lot just in time to catch them before they got into their car. She told them that she saw them "shopping", and that they seemed like such a nice couple, and that she wanted them to have this package of ribs. At first they declined, but she persisted, and they graciously accepted the ribs.
In the course of their brief exchange, she learned that the man was in his nineties and his wife was in her late eighties and suffering from dementia. They were so glad to receive this unexpected gift. The man shook her hand and said, "Well, you sure did pick the right couple!" They drove home with a smile, and my friend went home and cried. How come no one was looking out for this couple? Did they only get to eat barley and beans from Food For Less? Is this what we get to look forward to if we make it to our nineties? It just seemed inherently wrong. She mentioned that she's been going back to Food For Less on the same day of the week near the same time that she ran into them, in hopes of locating them again so she could fill their basket- but hasn't seen them since.
This was a touching story. I told my friend that I was proud of her for "walking the walk and not just talking the talk." It is effortless and risk free to think good thoughts, but oftentimes awkward and inconvenient to actually act on those good thoughts. What if they had become offended by her overture? What if it made them feel bad that their poverty was so apparent? What if her assumption that they might be uncomfortable overruled her compulsion to give them the ribs? Well then, surely they would not have gotten to eat meat that evening. She decided to go with her gut, and it was the right thing to do. We were still chatting when it was salad time, and I told her to tell her sister this most interesting story.
So, the next morning, I got up early to get Buddha Boy ready for Mass. Hubby was going to bring him as I wasn't "ready", but I decided at the last minute to slap on some lip gloss and sunglasses and a pretty crystal barrette, and go to Mass with my son. Imagine my surprise when Father John tells a nearly identical story during his homily! His story related to a woman who was shopping with her kids at a grocery store. In her basket was good food and lots of non essentials like chips and soda. When she got in line, the woman in front of her had only essential items, and kept asking the cashier to total up the costs, so that she could be sure she had enough cash. Upon learning that she hadn't enough cash, she began removing items from her cart. The woman with the soda and chips felt compassion for her not so fortunate grocery shopper, and decided to give her $20 so that she could purchase all of her essential items. At first the woman declined, but the soda chip woman related that it was really no skin off of her back, and that all of her items were truly needed, and to please take the money. The woman accepted and left with her items. Father John went on to lecture about the importance of taking action to accomplish good deeds instead of simply thinking about doing it.
The funny thing was, usually, this friend sits two pews in front of us. Yes, we usually sit in the same pew- don't ask me why. I was fervently looking for her while Father John was telling the eerily similar story of the grocery store incident, but she wasn't there. After the Mass, I saw her sister, and showed her my goose bumps. She was as amazed as I at the unique coincidence of the two stories in two days. She told me, with misty eyes, that her sister was attending Mass at a different church that day, but that she would call her.
So two days later, I am at my daughter's soccer practice, telling of the coincidence of the two stories, when one of the other soccer moms tells me of her recent experience at the store. She went in and bought a week's worth of groceries. On the way out to her car, she spotted a woman with two children settling in for the evening, obviously intending to sleep in their car. She asked if they had had dinner, and the woman mentioned that she had tried to get into the shelter, but had not arrived early enough, and there was no room, and no, they had not had dinner. The mom part of soccer mom took over, and she put her groceries into her car, went back into the store and bought a cooked rotisserie chicken dinner. When she came through the same line that she had just been in, the cashier, who knows her by name since she has been shopping at that store for many years smiled and said, "What- did you just decide that you weren't going to cook tonight?" Soccer mom explained why the sudden chicken dinner purchase after she had already completed her shopping. She then realized that she had neglected to purchase plates and utensils, and asked if she could get some gratis from the deli. The cashier told her to hang on for a moment, came back with the manager, and not only did they give them the utensils, they comped the entire dinner! I think it was Vons. Soccer mom went on to say that most stores have an unadvertised practice of comping food for the homeless. Now how would anyone know if they never knew to ask? Well now you all know! It never hurts to ask when your intentions are good. That is the message!
So that was three times getting the same message. I think it was well worth sharing. Was it me just being more aware of a universal message that is always around, or was it divine communication? I don't know, but I am not taking any chances. So, since it is Mother's Day Month, let your mamma intentions flower to fruition. Don't just think it, do it!
Happy Mother's Day from Jewel!
Carrots, Eggs & Coffee
A carrot, an egg, and a cup of coffee...You will never look at a cup of coffee the same way again.
A young woman went to her mother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up, She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed as one problem was solved, a new one arose.
Her mother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to boil. In the first she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and in the last she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil; without saying a word.
In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl. Turning to her daughter, she asked, ' Tell me what you see.'
'Carrots, eggs, and coffee,' she replied.
Her mother brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. The mother then asked the daughter to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard boiled egg.
Finally, the mother asked the daughter to sip the coffee. The daughter smiled as she tasted its rich aroma. The daughter then asked, 'What does it mean, mother?'
Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity: boiling water. Each reacted differently. The carrot went in strong, hard, and unrelenting. However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak. The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior, but after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened. The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water.
'Which are you?' she asked her daughter. 'When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?
Think of this: Which am I? Am I the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity do I wilt and become soft and lose my strength?
Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat? Did I have a fluid spirit, but after a death, a breakup, a financial hardship or some other trial, have I become hardened and stiff? Does my shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and hardened heart?
Or am I like the coffee bean? The bean actually changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain. When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor. If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you. When the hour is the darkest and trials are their greatest do you elevate yourself to another level? How do you handle adversity? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?
May you have enough happiness to make you sweet, enough trials to make you strong, enough sorrow to keep you human and enough hope to make you happy.
The happiest of people don't necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the most of everything that comes along their way. The brightest future will always be based on a forgotten past; you can't go forward in life until you let go of your past failures and heartaches.
When you were born, you were crying and everyone around you was smiling.
Live your life so at the end, you're the one who is smiling and everyone around you is crying.
And- doesn't anyone know a J. Davis who lost an iPod? Email Jewel if you do. See the July 07 archive.
We ought, so far as it lies within our power, to aspire to immortality, and do all that we can to live in conformity with the highest that is within us; for even if it is small in quantity, in power and preciousness, it far excels all the rest.
(Note for whomever reads the sidebars- I picked up a random book - I have many cluttering up my computer composer desk, flipped to a random page, and landed on this quote AFTER writing this column! Dee Do Dee do Dee do Dee do.- think Twilight zone jingle heh heh heh.)
We are all teachers, and what we teach is what we learn, and so we teach it over and over again until we learn....
-From A Course In Miracles by Joel Goldsmith
For all our insight, obstinate habits do not disappear until replaced by other habits... No amount of confession and no amount of explaining can make the crooked plant grow straight; it must be trained upon the trellis by the gardener's art..
Habit rules the unreflecting herd.
In our era, the road to holiness necessarily passes through the world of action.
Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do.
-Johann Wolfgang Van Goethe
The greater the power that deigns to serve you, the more honor it demands of you.
If we examine every stage of our lives, we find that from our first breath to our last we are under the constraint of circumstances. And yet we still possess the greatest of all freedoms, the power of developing our innermost selves in harmony with the moral order of the Universe, and so wining peace at heart, whatever obstacles we meet.. It is easy to say this and to write this. But it always remains a task to which every day must be devoted. Every morning cries to us: 'Do what you ought and trust what will be.'
-Johahh Wolfgang Von Goethe
An old Cherokee chief was teaching his grandson about life
A fight is going on inside me, he said to the boy. It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves.
One is evil - he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, self-doubt, and ego.
The other is good - he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith.
This same fight is going on inside you - and inside every other person, too.
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, Which wolf will win?
The old chief simply replied, The one you feed.
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