I didn't think I could do it. I am always on the move. When my body is not, my brain runs away somewhere and I need to go find it.
I was like a caged animal tonight. My day was turned around and mixed up with an early rise and mid day nap. I hustled off for a doctor's appointment and then ate lunch at 3:00 p.m.
So by the time we finished food shopping I wanted to do something, keep going, or simply just walk some place.
But we returned home and I paced inside and out. There was a fresh scent of rain mixed with cool breezes bathing my body and soul. I walked in one door and out the other, pausing long enough inside to know it wasn't where I belonged.
My sneakers soaked up the wet grass and I desperately wanted to go bare foot. Thoughts of sitting in the rain, permitting myself to be soaked straight to the bone danced through my mind. Faintly in the distance I could hear my Mother yelling, "Bobbie, get out of the rain! You'll catch a cold." But being the boy I was and remain still today, I kept on splashing, spinning, dancing like a fool, knowing fully that I would get in trouble. But I had been there before. I knew trouble well. This moment was much more important.
But today the rain had stopped and only memories of it remained.
So I grabbed a chair and sat on the front porch. I challenged myself to sit still.
I rocked and wiggled at first, nervously changing my position to find a comfortable spot. Then suddenly it happened. It wasn't the first time and I pray it won't be the last.
I felt a part of everything around me. I immediately connected with the world. I felt at peace, rested and a part of something bigger. I tuned into the sounds of the birds sharing their early evening chatter. I watched each car pass and seeing the driver, wondered who they were and how their life was going. Was that red car a reflection of their personality? Did that expensive convertible shout "look at me, I have money?" Or was I reading into things that didn't necessarily mean a thing?
I hardly moved at all. Yet, the world came to me. Except when I lowered my head for a moment and rubbing my eyes, I happened to catch the sight of a tiny red spider. Within the fifteen minutes or so that I watched it, it never went anywhere. It moved constantly within about a one square foot spot on my floor.
What was it looking for? Where did it want to go? Why didn't it walk in a straight line to get there?
That's when it hit me.
There have been times in my life where I ran around in circles thinking that activity meant progress. When in fact, I never got anywhere.
Then there were times when I felt like I was standing still, going nowhere and yet I learned more about who I was.
You see, sitting still on the front porch proved to me that the world will come to me when I need it to. Or at least I learn to appreciate more the immediate world in which I live. Earlier that evening when I was darting in and out of the house I was like the tiny spider, in motion but getting nowhere.
The key to this, I learned a long time ago from Dr Wayne Dyer, is "nowhere."
Learning to sit still, converts nowhere into "now here." What you see in this word....nowhere....is a reflection of how you perceive your life.
Once I accept where I am and discover it totally by connecting to every rock, tree, insect, sound and human, I grow into the world and it accepts me. Now traveling any where I can learn to be a part of it just by sitting still long enough to welcome it into my life and it in turn accepts me as a part of the whole.
No longer can I say I am getting nowhere, simply because it doesn't exist. How can nowhere be a place?
Believe me, if it weren't for night fall and mosquitoes, I'd be "sitting...still."
A young soldier found himself in a terrible and hopeless battle. The enemy was soundly defeating this young man's army. He and his comrades found themselves hastily retreating from the battle field in defeat, running away in fear for their very lives. The enemy gave chase. This young man ran hard and fast, full of fear and desperation, but soon found himself cut off from his comrades in arms.
He eventually came upon a rocky ledge containing a cave. Knowing the enemy was close behind, and that he was exhausted from the chase, he chose to hide there. After he crawled into the cave, he fell to his face in the darkness, desperately crying to God to save him and protect him from his enemies. He also made a bargain with God, one which I (and perhaps you too?) have made before. He promised that if God saved him, he would serve Him for the remainder of his days.
When he looked up from his despairing plea for help, he saw a spider beginning to weave its web at the entrance of the cave. As he watched the delicate threads being slowly drawn across the mouth of the cave, the young soldier pondered its irony. He thought, "I asked God for protection and deliverance, and he sent me a spider instead. How can a spider save me?"
His heart was hardened, knowing the enemy would soon discover his hiding place and kill him. And soon he did hear the sound of his enemies, who were now scouring the area looking for those in hiding. One soldier with a gun slowly walked up to the cave's entrance. As the young man crouched in the darkness, hoping to surprise the enemy in a last-minute desperate attempt to save his own life, he felt his heart pounding wildly out of control.
As the enemy cautiously moved forward to enter the cave, he came upon the spider's web, which by now was completely strung across the opening. He backed away and called out to a comrade, "There can't be anyone in here. They would have had to break this spider's web to enter the cave. Let's move on."
Years later, this young man, who made good his promise by becoming a preacher and evangelist, wrote about that ordeal. What he observed has stood by me in times of trouble, especially during those times when everything seemed impossible.
He wrote: "Where God is, a spider's web is as a stone wall. Where God is not, a stone wall is as a spider's web."
Are you making something of your life instead of wishing for something? Maybe, or maybe not.
I bet you've always had that little thought in the back of your mind as you wake up on a cold, wet, Monday morning - "I could make so much more out of my life"
So why don't you then?
(Close your ears if you are easily offended.) You don't because you're LAZY. There you go - I've said it.
What are you going to do about it?
I bet that deep down you're probably agreeing with me in a way, aren't you?
No? OK - let me define what my version of lazy is and see if you agree with me.
- Lazy is when you just do enough to get by at work.
- Lazy is putting another video on for your three year old
to watch so you don't have to play with her.
- Lazy is just 'going through the motions'
- Lazy is not having the faintest idea of what you want out
of your life.
Agree with me now?
The time has come to do a little bit of mental 'spring cleaning'. I could go on and on for pages telling you what you should do - but I'm certain that you won't do anything about it. Why?
Because you're lazy.
I'm lazy too, but I'm learning to change.
I'm learning that quality is important.
I'm learning that a minute's worth of focused effort is worth more than an hour of just stumbling around.
I'm learning that life is too short to mess around with the important things.
So what can you do? After all, being lazy is, well easy isn't it?
There is one thing that you can do and, although it takes a little effort, it is well worth it.
Prioritize. That's it.
Work out what is important in your life - and make sure that everything that you do contributes towards it. Simple. Well, the concept is simple - putting it into practice is a little harder.
Is watching TV more important to you than having a $5,000 pay rise this year?
(If the answer is yes - then I'll give up right now!)
Of course it's not more important. Yet the average person probably watches about three hours of TV every night (but don't quote me on that!).
How much time a YEAR do you devote to making more of yourself?
What do you think would happen if you decided to devote just one of those hours to working on how you can make more of your life?
Think of what you could achieve in those extra 15 DAYS of focusing on YOU every year!
Even if you only had half an hour to spare every week - that's still an entire day a year you could spend on improving your life every year.
Or perhaps you're too lazy to allow yourself a measly four and a half minutes every day to make that happen?
Well, are you?
Educate yourself about YOU. Read all you can read about how you can improve yourself - then actually DO it. Set aside just a small part of your 'free-time' to working out what you want - find out how to get there - then just GO FOR IT!
The only thing you would have wasted would have been that TV program you only watched because it was on.
Don't be lazy. Make something out of your life - after all... it's the only one you've got.
Jack (not his real name) tossed the papers on my desk -- his eyebrows knit into a straight line as he glared at me.
"What's wrong?" I asked.
He jabbed a finger at the proposal. "Next time you want to change anything, ask me first," he said, turning on his heels and leaving me stewing in anger.
How dare he treat me like that, I thought. I had changed one long sentence, and corrected grammar -- something I thought I was paid to do.
It's not that I hadn't been warned. The other women, who had served in my place before me, called him names I couldn't repeat. One co-worker took me aside the first day. "He's personally responsible for two different secretaries leaving the firm," she whispered.
As the weeks went by, I grew to despise Jack. It was against everything I believed in -- turn the other cheek and love your enemies. But Jack quickly slapped a verbal insult on any cheek turned his way. I prayed about it, but to be honest, I wanted to put him in his place, not love him.
One day, another of his episodes left me in tears. I stormed into his office, prepared to lose my job if needed, but not before I let the man know how I felt. I opened the door and Jack glanced up.
"What?" he said abruptly.
Suddenly I knew what I had to do. After all, he deserved it.
I sat across from him. "Jack, the way you've been treating me is wrong. I've never had anyone speak to me that way. As a professional, it's wrong, and it's wrong for me to allow it to continue," I said. Jack snickered nervously and leaned back in his chair. I closed my eyes briefly. God help me, I prayed.
"I want to make you a promise. I will be a friend," I said. "I will treat you as you deserve to be treated, with respect and kindness. You deserve that," I said. "Everybody does." I slipped out of the chair and closed the door behind me.
Jack avoided me the rest of the week. Proposals, specs, and letters appeared on my desk while I was at lunch, and the corrected versions were not seen again. I brought cookies to the office one day and left a batch on Jack's desk. Another day I left a note. "Hope your day is going great," it read.
Over the next few weeks, Jack reappeared. He was reserved, but there were no other episodes. Co-workers cornered me in the break room.
"Guess you got to Jack," they said. "You must have told him off good." I shook my head.
"Jack and I are becoming friends," I said in faith. I refused to talk about him. Every time I saw Jack in the hall, I smiled at him. After all, that's what friends do.
One year after our "talk", I discovered I had breast cancer. I was 32, the mother of three beautiful young children, and scared. The cancer had metastasized to my lymph nodes and the statistics were not great for long-term survival. After surgery, I visited with friends and loved ones who tried to find the right words to say. No one knew what to say. Many said the wrong things. Others wept, and I tried to encourage them. I clung to hope.
One day, the door darkened in my small hospital room and Jack stood awkwardly on the threshold. I waved him in with a smile and he walked over to my bed and, without a word, placed a bundle beside me. Inside lay several bulbs.
"Tulips," he said.
I smiled, not understanding.
He cleared his throat. "If you plant them when you get home, they'll come up next spring." He shuffled his feet. "I just wanted you to know that I think you'll be there to see them when they come up."
Tears clouded my eyes and I reached out my hand. "Thank you," I whispered.
Jack grasped my hand and gruffly replied, "You're welcome. You can't see it now, but next spring you'll see the colors I picked out for you." He turned and left without a word.
I have seen those red and white striped tulips push through the soil every spring for over ten years now. In fact, this past September the doctor declared me cured. I've seen my children graduate from high school and enter college. I've celebrated twenty-two years of marriage with my husband.
In a moment when I prayed for just the right word, a man with very few words said all the right things.
Their lives were cut short, but they will remain in our memories because of their life stories. A tragedy like this one becomes even more painful because it makes vivid life stories that might have gone unnoticed.
Many people might not have known that Jessica Ghawi, 24, survived a similar tragedy in Toronto. Now she is appreciated as an “outgoing, smart and witty” person who loved blogging and aspired to be a sports reporter.
The youngest victim, Veronica Moser-Sullivan, 6, started swimming lessons just 4 days earlier. Just imagine what lay ahead had this tragedy not happened!
It was supposed to be a weekend of fun and celebration for Alex Sullivan. The movie theater would have been the place he welcomed his 27th birthday. Sunday would have been his first wedding anniversary. Just like life is meant to be.
Just think of Matt McQuinn, 27, whose attorney in Dayton, Ohio, reported that he died trying to shield his girlfriend and her brother. It is this selflessness that will inspire many.
Another example of selflessness was in John Larimer who served in the Navy. Indeed military service is shielding others in times of attack.
There must have been something about Micayla Medek, 23, to inspire her relative to remind us not to lose faith in God. There is inspiration and encouragement there.
What happened in Aurora, Colorado, is indeed very tragic and sad, but the victims’ lives are not in vain. Each one is a story of inspiration and admiration. They will always be remembered.
There are times when something comes across my mind and I immediately see something unique hidden between the lines. Most times they are things other people wouldn't pick up on, but I do.
One of my "friends I've never met" on Facebook posted a message for all of his musician friends. I am not a musician, but some of my best friends were.
I spent many long days on the road with a band traveling across the midwest. I learned to appreciate and understand the mind of a musician.
As we traveled, we would oftentimes come across a music store and when we stopped we would converge on the place like kids to a playground.
To this day, I still get that overwhelming feeling when I visit area stores like Guitar Center or Music Go Round.
"Can I help you?" the clerk will ask.
"No, I just came in to drool!" I always respond.
Again, I don't play an instrument. Well, I'll correct that. In my first ever band I actually belonged to the Local 140 Musicians Union. I was the leader of the band, so by their regulations I had to be union.
I'll never forget the day I signed up.
"What instrument do you play?" he asked.
"Tambourine!" I said.
He stopped writing and looked up at me with shock/smile on his face.
"You must be a hell of a tambourine player!"
I thought I was. I explained the reason for joining.
Anyway, a few days ago my Facebook friend, Danny Rantin' Mac, posted a comment about learning to play a fret-less bass. One of my friends in an earlier band played one.
If you are not familiar, frets divide the neck into fixed segments at intervals related to a musical framework. On instruments such as guitars, each fret represents one semitone in the standard western system where one octave is divided into twelve semitones.
Removing the frets on a bass guitar means the musician has the freedom to and the skill necessary to find the right notes without markers.
So, Danny's comments were regarding the musical meaning of fretting.
My writer's mind tripped over my old musician life and curiosity took over.
Danny included a link, "A Guide to Making the Switch to Fret-less Bass," by Damian Erskine. I read it, but all I could see in it were clear rules for how to accomplish goals and overcome your fears.
“Don't worry too much about being in tune perfectly, every second of the song." he wrote.
Such is life. We often struggle with perfection. We think if we are not right-on-the-mark we will be out of tune with the world.
It went on to say, "To slide in and out of notes a little bit, his intonation actually improved because he now heard the slight variations as inflection, rather than ‘just plain wrong.’"
The comparison to every step we take on our journey in life is obvious, too. It's okay to side step or "march to the beat of a different drummer;" we can slide in and out along the way as much as we desire.
Then the next line wrapped it all up for me: "Clearly, you do want to control when you are in tune, but give yourself the freedom to be human as you develop. That release from anxiety will allow you to perform better and more freely."
A life without fret or one with is a choice we make. Give yourself a chance to feel the freedom of living fret-less. Avoid having to be in tune all the time and slide back and forth, in and out of the path you have chosen.
It not only makes for great music, but it will free your creative mind to truly enjoy your life.
Danny says it all in his own words as he referred to his decision to go with a fret-less bass guitar. See if you can apply it to life, too:
§"Rule 1: Respect it, but don't be afraid of it.
§Rule 2: I found that learning on an unlined fingerboard worked best for me, because I didn't rely on fret lines to keep me intonated (I used my ears.) I found when I did get my first lined fret-less, I began to do exactly what I was afraid of doing (looking at the lines.) I felt crippled until I let the muscle memory and my ears take over."
You see, we become so dependent on the "markers" in life that we cripple ourselves.
Well, it appears that most people either enjoy dancing or watching dancing. I would imagine that the television network, ABC, gambled on their show Dancing with the Stars.
It was a gamble that hit the jackpot. Don't let ABC know this, but I don't get it. Perhaps it's because I've always had two left feet. Couple that with the fact that I was almost killed in an injury when I was 19 resulting in right side paralysis, and I guess you could say I now have "1-1/2 left feet."
Regardless, I still don't get the phenomenon and I am happy for the show's millions of viewers.
Some time ago, after I was injured, I tried to dance. My father was retiring as Senior Rabbi of his synagogue and the synagogue was having a party for him at a hotel ballroom with a band and, you guessed it, there was dancing.
Everyone was there, everyone was dancing, everyone was having a good time. Though most might have questioned my attempt to dance, I never let that get to me.
So, with the band playing melodiously, I stood up from my seat at the table and calmly asked my 82-year-old grandmother sitting to my left, "Grandma, would you like to dance?
My mother's mother then replied, "Michael, oh no, my back is killing me and my feet are aching as well. But thank you for the offer."
I then quickly went to my grandmother's left where my other grandmother, my 90 year old father's mother, was sitting and asked her the same question.
"Honey, my knees are killing me and my neck is so sore, but if you can go out to the dance floor, I can go as well."
That was my "bubbie" (Yiddish for grandmother) -- a spit fighter full of spirit, always willing to try anything.
My bubbie and I went to the dance floor and began "dancing." All of a sudden, I felt a tap on my left shoulder.
"Michael, may I cut in on bubbie?" It was my mother's mother! I smiled and said, "Of course."
Both my grandmothers were in pain -- however, both grandmothers were willing to try.
Both grandmothers have since passed away, but I will always remember that evening when I was honored to "Dance with My Stars." I believe it was their last dance.
As I looked to the heavens, I smiled and lovingly said, "Thank you. First, for the dance, but more importantly, for teaching me so much about life."
Shot in the head during a robbery, Michael Segal defied all odds by first surviving and then returning to college. He then earned two degrees with honors, married his high school sweetheart, Sharon, and became a father to their daughter Shawn. Currently Michael is working on two book projects and a CD, entitled POSSIBLE, with some of his short stories, available on his website: http://www.inspirationbymike.com. Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hNeRqpaoNpQ
I remember when I first graduated college. I was already married with a baby son. I had an education degree, but full time teaching jobs where I lived were scarce. For a few years then I did my best to make ends meet by substituting as much as possible. I would get up early each morning and hope for the phone to ring. A call meant work and every penny counted. On one particularly cold morning I got a call to work at a grade school 15 miles away. Only a light snow coated the roads so I wasn’t worried about the trip. What I didn’t realize, though, was that water from the previous day’s rain had frozen on a patch of the road before the snow covered it. This was on a part of the road that curved around the edge of a mountain. Going off on one side of the road would land you in a ditch but going off the other could send you over the side of the mountain.
As I approached the dangerous spot I was going faster than I should. I wanted to make it to the school before the classes started. Just before I reached it, however, I saw a dog walking in my lane of the road. I braked early to avoid hitting the pooch and then was about to speed up again when I hit the black ice. Thankfully, the angel with paws had made me slow down enough that I was able to steer the car back towards the ditch and away from the edge of the mountain curve. I only needed a tow instead of a trip to the hospital or mortuary. I guess God wasn’t quite ready for me to leave this life yet.
Albert Einstein said, "God doesn’t play dice." This is true for the world and for our lives. As I look back upon that day I can see God’s loving handiwork in it. I think He still had more for me to learn and do in this life. I just pray that I don’t waste a moment of it. I pray that I make every day I have left a loving gift to my Heavenly Father who made me. May you do the same.
If you have ever gone through a toll booth, you know that your relationship to the person in the booth is not the most intimate you'll ever have. It is one of life's frequent non-encounters: You hand over some money; you might get change; you drive off. I have been through every one of the 17 toll booths on the Oakland-San Francisco Bay Bridge on thousands of occasions, and never had an exchange worth remembering with anybody.
Late one morning in 1984, headed for lunch in San Francisco, I drove toward one of the booths. I heard loud music. It sounded like a party, or a Michael Jackson concert. I looked around. No other cars with their windows open. No sound trucks. I looked at the toll booth. Inside it, the man was dancing.
"What are you doing?" I asked.
"I'm having a party," he said.
"What about the rest of these people?" I looked over at other booths; nothing moving there.
"They're not invited."
I had a dozen other questions for him, but somebody in a big hurry to get somewhere started punching his horn behind me and I drove off. But I made a note to myself: Find this guy again. There's something in his eye that says there's magic in his toll booth.
Months later I did find him again, still with the loud music, still having a party.
Again I asked, "What are you doing?"
He said, "I remember you from the last time. I'm still dancing. I'm having the same party."
I said, "Look. What about the rest of the people."
He said, "Stop. What do those look like to you?" He pointed down the row of toll booths.
"They look like toll booths."
I said, "Okay, I give up. What do they look like to you?"
He said, "Vertical coffins."
"What are you talking about?"
"I can prove it. At 8:30 every morning, live people get in. Then they die for eight hours. At 4:30, like Lazarus from the dead, they reemerge and go home. For eight hours, brain is on hold, dead on the job. Going through the motions."
I was amazed. This guy had developed a philosophy, a mythology about his job. I could not help asking the next question: "Why is it different for you? You're having a good time."
He looked at me. "I knew you were going to ask that," he said. "I'm going to be a dancer someday." He pointed to the administration building. "My bosses are in there, and they're paying for my training."
Sixteen people dead on the job, and the seventeenth, in precisely the same situation, figures out a way to live. That man was having a party where you and I would probably not last three days. The boredom! He and I did have lunch later, and he said, "I don't understand why anybody would think my job is boring. I have a corner office, glass on all sides. I can see the Golden Gate, San Francisco, the Berkeley hills; half the Western world vacations here and I just stroll in every day and practice dancing.
Abraham Lincoln said, "Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be." I would tend to agree.
I used to have a comfort zone where I knew I wouldn't fail.
The same four walls and busywork were really more like jail.
I longed so much to do the things I'd never done before,
But stayed inside my comfort zone and paced the same old floor.
I said it didn't matter that I wasn't doing much.
I said I didn't care for things like commission checks and such.
I claimed to be so busy with things inside my zone,
But deep inside I longed for something special of my own.
I couldn't let my life go by just watching others win.
I held my breath; I stepped outside and let the change begin.
I took a step and with new strength I'd never felt before,
I kissed my comfort zone goodbye and closed and locked the door.
If you're in a comfort zone, afraid to venture out,
Remember that all winners were at one time filled with doubt.
A step or two and words of praise can make your dreams come true.
Reach for your future with a smile;
Success is there for you!
My Grandfather, Clarence Madden, had no life of luxury back in the late nineteen-thirties. Though he was born with a bad heart, he toiled relentlessly in the fields each day, coaxing crops from the parched soil to feed his wife and four children.
He owned sixty acres of farmland in the heart of Texas. His summer days were spent on an ancient kerosene tractor, which sported a metal seat and matching iron wheels, guaranteed to sizzle your blue jeans into your hide the moment you perched on its throne.
Kerosene in those days was a whopping twelve cents a gallon. It was used to fuel the tractor, and the little cook stove my Grandmother could often be found hovering near, as she dabbed the sweat from her brow. When lunchtime drew near, she’d throw a white pillow on the roof of the low-slung farmhouse porch, signaling granddad it was time to eat.
He’d watch for the pillow from the fields, park the tractor, and drive the half mile home for his meal. The aged car felt like a Cadillac to him, after spending half a day clinging to the bumpy tractor seat.
There was no electricity on the farm, nor did they have the luxury of running water. It was stored in a large wooden barrel, which was kept under the water pump in the front yard. They’d bring a bucketful into the house, and set in on the table to dip from throughout the day, to quench their thirst. The ice man came round once a month, only then would the family indulge in the fine luxury of homemade ice cream.
Bath time consisted of a short trek to the windmill, where they would soak in the large number three washtub beneath, once a week. The oldest kids got the bath first, moving right down the line until the youngest was squeaky clean.
As the temperature soared day after day into the hundreds, the family struggled to stay cool in the little farm house. It was too hot to do much inside, and by bedtime, the heat drove them to the sleeping quarters on the unscreened front porch, where they hoped to catch a rare summer breeze. In those days, a screened porch to sleep under was a luxury. The boys slept under the stars out back, on army cots.
Those kids, nor my Grandma, never complained. They were too eager to begin each day anew, to help out with daily chores, to feed the hogs and cows, and help in the fields and garden. They’d often sneak into the barn loft after shelling peas, and pinch a peanut or two out of the fresh cut peanut hay for a hearty afternoon snack. Back then, they thought they had it made.
When I find myself toiling on my five acre farm in the summer heat, I can’t help but think of my Grandpa, driving his ancient tractor, fighting the heat and the sun and the bugs and the droughts to feed his family, all without a complaint. He had no choice. I do. No one twisted my arm to buy a hobby farm, along with a handful of ponies and poultry.
We now live in the future. An era of electronics and sleek cars and cell phones and fancy kitchen gadgets of every kind to come home to. We have the oh-so-wonderful luxury of air-conditioning in our homes and cars. We don’t have to throw a pillow on the porch at lunchtime to call Grandpa home. We have a means to escape the heat now, unlike our forefathers in summers past.
As I ride my little tractor with a cushioned seat in the summer sun, I think the mowing will never end. I stop for a moment to wipe my brow, and gaze into the horizon. When I peer through the clouds, I can see granddad on his ancient iron chariot in the sky, blazing across the heavens as he plows its barren acres into a bountiful harvest. He will inspire me to get through this wretched heat. His strength will be my strength.
If he could do it with what he had back then, then I know I can do it with what I have now. As hard as it is, I won’t fret about the heat, and the mowing and the seemingly endless outdoor chores. Because I know I can crawl into my house when the sizzling sun finally sets, and enjoy the luxury of air-conditioning, and a refreshing indoor shower.
And, maybe even the quenching coolness of store-bought ice cream.
A man traveling through the country came to a large city, very rich and splendid. He looked at it and said to his guide, “This must be a very righteous people, for I can only see but one little devil in this great city.”
The guide replied, “You do not understand, sir. This city is so perfectly given up to wickedness, corruption, degradation, and abomination of every kind, that it requires but one devil to keep them all in subjection.”
Traveling on a little further, he came to a rugged path and saw an old man trying to get up the hillside, surrounded by seven great, big, coarse-looking devils.
“Why,” wondered the traveler, “this must be a tremendously wicked old man. See how many devils there are around him!”
“This,” replied the guide, “is the only righteous man in the country and there are seven of the biggest devils trying to turn him out of his path, and they all cannot do it.”
As the sun rose, a dew drop became aware of its surroundings. There it sat on a leaf, catching the sunlight and throwing it back out. Proud of its simple beauty, it was very content. Around it were other dew drops, some on the same leaf and some on other leaves round about. The dew drop was sure that it was the best, the most special dew drop of them all.
Ah, it was good to be a dew drop.
The wind rose and the plant began to shake, tipping the leaf. Terror gripped the dew drop as gravity pulled it towards the edge of the leaf, towards the unknown. Why? Why was this happening? Things were comfortable. Things were safe. Why did they have to change? Why? Why?
The dew drop reached the edge of the leaf. It was terrified, certain that it would be smashed into a thousand pieces below, sure that this was the end. The day had only just begun and the end had come so quickly. It seemed so unfair. It seemed so meaningless. It tried desperately to do whatever it could to cling to the leaf, but it was no use.
Finally, it let go, surrendering to the pull of gravity. Down, down it fell. Below there seemed to be a mirror. A reflection of itself seemed to be coming up to meet the dew drop. Closer and closer they came together until finally...
And then the fear transformed into deep joy as the tiny dew drop merged with the vastness that was the pond. Now the dew drop was no more, but it was not destroyed.