Monday, February 27, 2012

Finding Wise Words in Unexpected Places

In my introduction to this blog, I mentioned that some quotes would be from fictional characters.  Today's is one of those.  In the 1971 version of the movie "Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory", based on a book by Roald Dahl, Willie is surprised and relieved when Charlie does the right thing and returns the Everlasting Gobstopper, a candy he had been tempted to steal.  The quote below is Willie Wonka's response to Charlie's integrity.

How encouraging a simple act of honesty, kindness or compassion is to those of us who are on the receiving end, or may even be merely an observer.  In Charlie's case, the reward he received was beyond what he had ever imagined possible.  Our reward may not be as immediate or tangible, but the peace that results from doing the right and honorable thing is immeasurable, even in the smallest situation.  

                                         "So shines a good deed in a weary world." 

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Holding on to Hope

These words, a prayer, from St. Augustine's writing are full of understanding, comfort and encouragement when days seem long and dark and there is a sense of heaviness that isn't easily lifted.

" God of life, there are days when the burdens we carry chafe our shoulders and wear us down; when the road seems dreary and endless, the skies gray and threatening; when our lives have no music in them and our hearts are lonely, and our souls have lost their courage.  Flood the path with light, we beseech you; turn our eyes to where the skies are full of promise."  ~ Saint Augustine

Monday, February 20, 2012

A Sense of Order Sets Us Free

I am remembering a very unique and special time spent at the Liberty Corner Deaconry, a retreat and conference center, many years ago.  I was tired, worn down, and needed a respite from a hectic schedule at the time, and so decided to treat myself to a 24 hour personal get-away.  The retreat center was conveniently located near our home and my kind husband agreed that it would be good for me to take a bit of time to just rest and have some quiet time. 

It was twilight when I arrived at the Deaconry on that chilly Autumn evening.  A flock of wild Canadian geese greeted me, flying high above in their vee pattern, calling out their encouragement to one another, on their way south I supposed.  I felt the peaceful atmosphere almost immediately.  The straight rows of vegetables in a perfectly weeded garden, the well swept walks, the neat appearance of the guest buildings......the quiet.  I knew the peaceful order I sensed was very much due to the labor and care given by the Deaconesses who lived there and dedicated themselves to providing a true retreat for the guests who came to them. 

As I walked across the campus, I felt the weariness begin to lift, replaced by a sense of freedom, an anticipation of what awaited me.  I was not disappointed.  At the end of my 24 hour retreat, I went home refreshed, strengthened and renewed.  As I later reflected upon my time spent there, and wrote in my journal, I gave much thought to the fact that the order and balance so thoughtfully provided by those who managed that special place resulted in a sense of freedom and peace for me and, I am sure, for so many others who spent happy hours there.  What a blessing.

    "Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony" 
                                                     ~ Thomas Merton~


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Bits of Happiness

We know that there is a vast difference between joy and happiness.  True joy, found in a deep and eternal relationship with God, cannot be stolen or taken from us.  Happiness, on the other hand, is very much an up and down sort of human experience, often dependent on circumstances.  However....finding pleasure in everyday, simple things can bring us so many opportunities to feel just plain happy.  Today I am taking great pleasure in watching the snow listening to good music... and savoring my cup of tea.  Where are you finding your moments of happiness today?

"We are about as happy as we make up our minds to be."  ~  Abraham Lincoln

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Laughing Well

As I remember and think of my many wonderful friends, I find I can "hear" their laughter, and I am reminded of the extraordinary qualities that make each one so very unique and precious to me.  I have been given the gift of friends who are persons of integrity, warmth, depth, character, loyalty, and humor!  If you are reading this, you are most likely one of them!

"If you wish to glimpse inside a human soul and get to know a man, don't bother analyzing his ways of being silent, of talking, of weeping, or seeing how much he is moved by noble ideas; you'll get better results if you just watch him laugh.  If he laughs well, he's a good man."  ~  Fyodor Dostoyevsky