To Touch the Soul of Another…Being a Mortal Angel

To touch the soul of another human being is to walk on Holy Ground. Stephen R. CoveyI have found that our fellow sojourners on earth can be some of our best angels. I believe that, when we choose to serve our fellow men, we choose to allow God to use us as his angels.

I know that angels are real. I have seen them. While the variety that I have seen is not the winged creatures with halos that are so often depicted, I know their work is real and I know they serve us more than we can even begin to imagine. They know us, they are aware of our needs, and they serve us.

Yet, their presence in our lives does not negate the need for mortal angels. We each are needed in this quest called mortality. God’s work begs to be done. Whether it is to lift a stranger with a smile or to literally carry one who cannot lift his own weight – no need should be considered trivial or of no worth. When we lend that assistance, however small it may be, we are giving love to the world and serving God in some of the most important of ways.

We are all connected with each other and we are all connected to heaven much more than mortality allows us to understand. With that knowledge in hand, I hope that you will join me in smiling more, offering more words of praise, and finding other ways of making a difference!

I hope you enjoy today’s story. I think it perfectly demonstrates how the work of angels can come from the most unexpected places!:

The Story of Rose

The first day of school our professor introduced himself and challenged us to get to know someone we didn’t already know. I stood up to look around when a gentle hand touched my shoulder. I turned around to find a wrinkled, little old lady beaming up at me with a smile that lit up her entire being.She said, “Hi handsome. My name is Rose. I’m eighty-seven years old. Can I give you a hug?”

I laughed and enthusiastically responded, “Of course you may!” and she gave me a giant squeeze. “Why are you in college at such a young, innocent age?” I asked.

She jokingly replied, “I’m here to meet a rich husband, get married, have a couple of children, and then retire and travel.”

“No seriously,” I asked. I was curious what may have motivated her to be taking on this challenge at her age.

“I always dreamed of having a college education and now I’m getting one!” she told me.

After class we walked to the student union building and shared a chocolate milkshake. We became instant friends. Every day for the next three months we would leave class together and talk nonstop. I was always mesmerized listening to this “time machine” as she shared her wisdom and experience with me. Over the course of the year, Rose became a campus icon and she easily made friends wherever she went. She loved to dress up and she reveled in the attention bestowed upon her from the other students. She was living it up.

At the end of the semester we invited Rose to speak at our football banquet. I’ll never forget what she taught us. She was introduced and stepped up to the podium. As she began to deliver her prepared speech, she dropped her three by five cards on the floor. Frustrated and a little embarrassed, she leaned into the microphone and simply said, “I’m sorry I’m so jittery. I gave up beer for Lent and this whiskey is killing me! I’ll never get my speech back in order so let me just tell you what I know.”

As we laughed she cleared her throat and began:

“We do not stop playing because we are old; we grow old because we stop playing. There are only four secrets to staying young, being happy, and achieving success.”

“You have to laugh and find humor every day.”

“You’ve got to have a dream. When you lose your dreams, you die. We have so many people walking around who are dead and don’t even know it!”

“There is a huge difference between growing older and growing up. If you are nineteen years old and lie in bed for one full year and don’t do one productive thing, you will turn twenty years old. If I am eighty-seven years old and stay in bed for a year and never do anything I will turn eighty-eight. Anybody can grow older. That doesn’t take any talent or ability. The idea is to grow up by always finding the opportunity in change.”

“Have no regrets. The elderly usually don’t have regrets for what we did, but rather for things we did not do. The only people who fear death are those with regrets.”

She concluded her speech by courageously singing “The Rose.” She challenged each of us to study the lyrics and live them out in our daily lives.

At the year’s end Rose finished the college degree she had begun all those years ago. One week after graduation Rose died peacefully in her sleep. Over two thousand college students attended her funeral in tribute to the wonderful woman who taught by example that it’s never too late to be all you can possibly be.

We send these words in loving memory of Rose.

Remember:–Growing older is mandatory, growing up is optional!

Author Unknown, Story Submitted by world traveler Margo Polo.

Story shared from the following website: http://www.askalana.com/stories/rose.shtml

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Good Deeds Never Go Out of Style!

How Far that Little Candle Throws His Beams So Shines a Good Deed in a Weary World Williams ShakespeareI am sooo very grateful for the good deeds of others – both from those I call friends and from those I call strangers. My life has been abundantly blessed by their care, concern, and service! My post must be short today as my IP service is being less than reliable!

I hope that your life has been blessed by good deeds! I also hope that you will pay those kindnesses forward! We all are blessed by the goodness in this world!

I hope you enjoy today’s story!:

Friday morning, after I dropped my son off at school, I had a phone meeting with one of my favorite colleagues, mental health advocate Gina Nikkel of the Foundation for Excellence in Mental Health Care. Suddenly, there was a loud crash; I abruptly ended the call. A car had rear-ended me.

I was okay, and the other driver, she was fine, too — physically at least. My car was only slightly affected, but the woman’s car was in bad shape. Her hood was completely damaged and bright, yellow-green fluid had started to pour out from underneath the car. I asked for her insurance information, but the woman said she didn’t have any; when I asked for her driver’s license, it turns out that she didn’t have a valid license either.

The appropriate thing to do was to call the insurance company and, maybe, the police, but I couldn’t.

The truth is that this easily could have been me in her spot. This week, I’ve worked 14-hour days, fallen asleep on the couch in my clothes, and have had bouts of insomnia as I prepare for four events on the East and West Coasts. I have been tired and stressed and functioning on less than a full cylinder. I have also been very openhearted and hopeful these past few days, as I’ve been working with the Fountain House, an inspiring mental health organization who we are collaborating with this weekend for Good Deeds Day. I was tired, but more importantly I was also inspired as we worked towards our shared mission of filling Herald Square with post it notes with messages of #flawlesslove to the world on social media and specifically to the members of Fountain House.

I remember another time in my life like this. It was a few years ago on a day that happened to be a spiritual double header — Good Friday and the first night of Passover. I was confronted by a man, who was not in touch with reality, in a dark corner of a gas station. Another person might have been scared, but because of how I frail I was feeling in that moment, my guard was down and I saw the perfection in that man: Our humanity connected us, and I’ll never forget the tender exchange that followed when he broke down and cried with tears of gratitude when I gave him the money he had requested.

Today was the same. Immediately I sensed that this woman was struggling, and with just a few questions, I found out that she was a retired veteran, that her husband had just left her, and that her license had been suspended because she didn’t have the money to pay for the tickets. She’d been driving to a doctor’s appointment at the VA hospital when she had crashed into my car.

All of the logistical questions — like what to do about the damage to my car, what to do about her lack of insurance and her suspended license — melted away in the rush hour traffic as we just stood together in a moment of pure connection on the side of the highway. I told her that I run a mental health organization and, after I gave her my card, I put my hand on her shoulder as we stayed locked in a powerful glance of affection and said goodbye.

Should I have called the police? Perhaps. Did I do enough to help her? Probably not. But in those few minutes, when time stood still, by seeing the perfection and light in this woman, I made space for this one, small, good deed, acknowledging our common human frailty. After all, it turns out I know just how important it was for her to get to her appointment at the VA hospital. I pray that she made it.

I have to see the perfection in my choice which may not have been logical in this situation but in my heart felt like the right thing to do. Not holding this woman up on her way to her appointment at the VA Hospital was my good deed. As we celebrate Good Deeds Day worldwide tomorrow, what will you do to spread the #flawlesslove?

Story shared from the following website: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/janine-francolini/a-crash-of-flawlesslove_1_b_9651552.html

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Cynicism is an Intellectual Cop Out…There is a Better Way

Cynicism is an intellectual copout, a crutch for a withered soul, a thin excuse for inaction and retreating commitment. Do not become cynical; be appropriately concerned and actively involved.

Cynicism is an intellectual cop out,a crutch for a withered soul, a thin excuse for inaction
and retreating commitment. Do not become cynical; be appropriately concerned and actively involved.    Jeffrey R. Holland

There is a lot of cynicism being thrown around in our country right now. I believe in the quote by Jeffrey R. Holland. That is why I used it for today’s meme.

I understand concern. I understand differences of opinion. I understand a desire for leaders to see the world as we see it. I also understand that the solution to every problem, concern or care in this world is God.

I wish that I could share the memories of my near death experience with the world. In it, everyone would be blessed to see that God is real and His love is perfect and ever enduring. Everyone would see His infinite and complete perfection and understand that the key to all happiness, joy and true success is to make God an integral part of all we do and align our choices and actions with His unchanging truth.

The world is imperfect and we are imperfect but the greater the effort of mankind, as a whole, to choose light in this world, the more we will receive peace, safety, and joy. As Dieter F. Uchtdorf said: “When God works through us, No One and Nothing can stand against us.”

I hope you enjoy today’s story which was shared by Hugh Downs!:

Hugh Downs on Overcoming Cynicism

One morning on our Today show we reported on a group of teenagers whose demonstrations had shocked their community. In the faces of the young people pictured on the screen I saw a total rebellion against authority.

“That could have been me 25 years ago,” I said to myself.

It started me thinking back to the age of 14 when the change within me occurred. Up until then I had accepted without question the patterns my parents had set. Then slowly I began to see things through a haze of contempt and rebellion.

Perhaps it was partly because I stood first in my class and took great pride in my pseudo-intellect and glib tongue. Success, I concluded, was all that mattered.

As captain of my own ship, I decided that I needed help from no one. Sensitivity to need and concern for others were, to me, signs of weakness or guilt. I had a theory for everything.

Since a great percentage of those in my home town of Lima, Ohio, were church-going people, I divided them into two neat groups: the ones who used church once a week as a cleansing ritual, and the others who attended church with the thought, “I want to be on the winning side in case there is something to all this.”

So I argued that all churches should be abolished because they stood in the way of faith. I theorized that a man can worship God as he sees fit—where and when he chooses. And if he doesn’t choose to, that is his privilege too. (I didn’t choose to, by the way.)

My name for this theory was “Reverse Piety.” It sounded very smart to me.

But as a working philosophy of life it was to prove more and more unsatisfactory. Actually I should have known better.

My father was a Methodist, my mother a Baptist, but in a spirit of early ecumenicity they became Episcopalians when they were married. Time after time they showed their concern for others.

For a while, my father and a partner ran an auto accessory store. When they went into the red, the partner declared himself bankrupt. My father and mother decided that there was a moral as well as a material obligation involved. He took a job and over the years paid back every penny he owed.

I resented it since it meant there was no money for me to continue college. I had to quit after the first year. My bitterness increased when I applied for 26 jobs in a row and didn’t get one.

Then one day I stopped at the radio station in Lima with the halfhearted hope that there might be some kind of job open. They gave me an audition—and to my surprise I was hired as an announcer. The pay was $7.50 a week.

There was hardly any direction to go but up. I was married and a father when one of those experiences occurred which, in retrospect, you can call a turning point.

The radio station where I worked had to cut costs. My job was in danger. Thinking that my boss was looking for a good excuse to let me go, I built up a real dislike of him.

Then one day he called me into his office. To my surprise his manner was kindly. He was concerned about me. And he worked out a plan for me to stay on the job.

Something happened inside me at that point to chip away at the crust of cynicism I had built up around myself. I thanked him for his thoughtfulness, then said impulsively, “You do this for me when all the time I have been hating you because I didn’t think you wanted me here?”

My boss said calmly, “Why don’t you try to get outside of yourself, Hugh? If you do, you’ll tap a source of spiritual and physical energy that will make you feel inexhaustible.”

I chewed that thought long and hard. The words were certainly not new, but now they had meaning.

For a time I had been examining other faiths, from Judaism to Buddhism and Islam. Each has much to offer. Inevitably I came back to a reexamination of Christianity.

While pondering questions of faith and systems of philosophy, I was moving from radio to television, from Ohio to Chicago and then to New York. The years passed. I worked with Kukla, Fran and Ollie, with Sid Caesar, Jack Paar and the Today show.

As success came I followed the pursuits I liked: astronomy, boating, flying, celestial navigation, music. They can satisfy body and mind, but they leave the spirit unfulfilled. Yet, answers to my quest for faith were coming and piece by piece, like putting together a mosaic, the picture was taking form.

An actor contributed to it. I don’t even know his name. But he was in a very successful play and he was asked how he could possibly remain fresh after giving the same performance, day after day, 700 times.

“The audience hasn’t seen the play 700 times,” he said. “It’s a new play for them every night. If I thought only of myself I’d be stale by the 10th performance. But every night I think of the audience instead of myself and they renew and refresh me.”

Last year I sailed across the Pacific in a small boat. It was immensely satisfying to navigate that distance, even though I had a fall during the voyage that injured my spine. Back home, doctors said it required surgery.

I was taken to the hospital in a wheelchair. The operation was a success and I walked out without any help. Yet the experience added something to me.

First, the ordeal was neither fearsome nor intolerable though from the outside it seemed so. Second, there was always someone along the corridors whose troubles and pain were worse than your own. Cheering them was not depressing or morbid, but just the opposite. You got outside yourself.

At one time I served on the Citizens’ Advisory Committee of the New York State Mental Health Association. That committee was scheduled to make one of their regular visits to patients.

I would have ducked going, if I could. I couldn’t. In our car pool the driver of our auto was a rabbi whose sense of compassion interested me.

At the hospital we walked through the clean, neat rooms. Two very disturbed boys caught our attention. One was 13, the second, perhaps two years older. The older one said very little. The younger one said nothing at all.

As the rabbi talked with them I asked a nurse, “What hope is there for these boys?” She shrugged her shoulders. “Very little,” she said.

As we were leaving, I looked over my shoulder and saw the younger boy sitting on an oak bench, all alone, staring into nothingness, the picture of endless despair.

“That boy,” I said to the rabbi, “looks very much like my own son. I can’t help it, but I’m glad—” I was starting to express thankfulness for the fact that my son was normal.

“I know how you feel,” he interrupted. “That boy is my son.”

It was days before I got over the shock of that experience.

The picture of the rabbi not only ministering to his own son, and to all the afflicted in that institution, but also moving to save me embarrassment is still vivid before my eyes. For in his agony he had learned to lose himself in his concern for others.

This was what my parents were trying to tell me as they scrimped and sacrificed to pay off a debt that was moral, not legal. It was what my boss at the radio station was saying to me when I was 22; and it was what the actor meant when he talked about playing one role 700 times.

Different people were getting the message to me, but it took a long time before I really heard and embraced as the heart of my faith the words Christ uttered to His disciples: He that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.

Shared from the following website: https://www.guideposts.org/better-living/positive-living/emotional-and-mental-health/guideposts-classics-hugh-downs-on/page/0/2?nopaging=1

 

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To Be Happy…Love Everyone

To be anybody, you must love everybody. Patricia T. HollandLoving everyone around you may not always be easy – but it is always life transforming. Love doesn’t always give approval. Love doesn’t negate accountability. What is does do is open doors, open hearts and instill joy.

I love today’s story! I love the message and I love it’s symbolism! I think when you read it, you will feel a little more love in your heart! I hope you enjoy!

The Devoted Son

Years ago, there was a very wealthy man who, with his devoted young son, shared a passion for art collecting. Together they traveled around the world, adding only the finest art treasures to their collection. Priceless works by Picasso, Van Gogh, Monet, and many others adorned the
walls of their family estate. The widowed elderly man looked on with satisfaction as his only child became an experienced art collector. The son’s trained eye and sharp business mind caused his father to beam with pride as they dealt with art collectors around the world.

As winter approached, war engulfed their nation, and the young man left to serve his country. After only a few short weeks, the elderly man received a telegram that his beloved son was missing in action. The art collector anxiously awaited more news, fearing he would never see his son again. Within days his fears were confirmed. The young man had died while rushing a fellow soldier to a medic. Distraught and lonely, the old man faced the upcoming Christmas holidays with anguish and sadness. The joy of the season-a season that he and his son had so looked forward
to in the past-would visit his house no longer. On Christmas morning, a knock on the door awakened the depressed old man. As he walked to the door, the masterpieces of art on the walls only reminded him that his son was not coming home. He opened the door and was greeted by a soldier
with a large package in his hand.

The soldier introduced himself to the old man by saying, “I was a friend of your son. I was the one he was rescuing when he died. May I come in for a few moments? I have something to show you.” As the two began to talk, the soldier told of how the man’s son had told every one of his-and his father’s-love of fine art work. “I’m also an artist,” said the soldier, “and I want to give you this.” As the old man began to unwrap the package, paper gave way to reveal a portrait of the man’s son. Though the world would never consider it a work of genius, the painting featured the young man’s face in striking detail.

Overcome with emotion, the old man thanked the soldier, promising to hang the portrait above the fireplace. A few hours later, after the soldier had departed, the old man set about his task. True to his word, the painting went above the fireplace, pushing aside thousands of dollars worth of paintings. And then the old man sat in his chair and spent
Christmas gazing at the gift he had been given. During the days and weeks that followed, the man learned that his son had rescued dozens of wounded soldiers before a bullet stilled his caring heart. As the stories of his son’s gallantry continued to reach him, fatherly pride and satisfaction began to ease his grief, as he realized that, although his son was no longer with him, the boy’s life would live on because of those he had touched. The painting of his son soon became his most prized possession, far eclipsing any interest in the priceless pieces for which museums around the world clamored. He told his neighbors it was the greatest gift he had ever received. The following spring, the old man became ill and passed away. The art world was in anticipation, since, with the old man’s passing, and his only
son dead, those paintings would be sold at an auction. According to the will of the old man, all of the art works would be auctioned on Christmas Day, the way he had received his greatest gift. The day finally arrived and art collectors from around the world gathered to bid on some of the world’s most spectacular paintings. Dreams could be fulfilled this day; greatness could be achieved as some
could say,” I have the greatest collection.” The auction began with a painting that was not on any museum list… It was the painting of the old man’s son. The auctioneer asked for an opening bid, but the room was silent.

“Who will open the bidding with $100?” he asked. Moments passed as no one spoke. From the back of the room came, “Who cares about that painting? It’s just a picture of his son. Let’s forget it and get on to the good ones.” More voices echoed in agreement. “No, we have to sell this one-first,” replied the auctioneer. “Now who will take the son?”
Finally, a friend of the old man spoke. “Will you take $10 for the painting? That’s all I have. “Will anyone go higher?” called the auctioneer. After more silence he said, “Going once, going twice…Gone!” The gavel fell. Cheers filled the room and someone shouted, “Now we can get on with it and bid on these treasures!”

The auctioneer looked at the audience and announced that the auction was over. Stunned disbelief quieted the room. Then someone spoke up and asked, “What do you mean it’s over? We didn’t come here for a portrait of some old man’s son! What about all of the other paintings? There are
millions of dollars worth of art work here. We demand an explanation!” The auctioneer replied, “It’s very simple. According to the will of the father, whoever takes the son…gets it all.”

Just as the art collectors discovered on that day…The message is still the same…the love of the Father….a Father whose son gave his life for others…And because of that Father’s love…Whoever takes the Son gets it all.
Story shared from the following website: http://www.rogerknapp.com/inspire/devotson.htm

 

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Friendship…The World Needs More Love One Another

The World is Round so that Friendship may encircle it

I don’t understand bias based on color of skin or religion. I have been a victim of prejudice many times and every time, it has seemed silly to me. When my spirit left my body – I noticed no color. I’m pretty sure that Good and Bad – Selfless and Selfish can be found in every race and every religion. Friendship is a gift that is best received when given.

I think a better way to judge people is by their ability to love. We are all connected more than most can even imagine. When we love each other, we improves our own lives and we improve the lives of those we share this world with.

I love today’s story! It embraces the true meaning of friendship! I hope you enjoy!:

Friends in Heaven

— Author unknown

An old cowboy was riding his trusty horse followed by his faithful dog along an unfamiliar road. The man was enjoying the new scenery, when he suddenly remembered dying, and realized that the dog beside him had been dead for years, as had his horse.

Confused, he wondered what was happening, and where the trail was leading them.

After a while, they came to a high, white stone wall that looked like fine marble. At the top of a long hill, it was broken by a tall arch topped by a golden letter “H” that glowed in the sunlight. Standing before it, he saw a magnificent gate in the arch that looked like mother-of-pearl, and the street that led to the gate looked like gold.

He rode toward the gate, and as he got closer, he saw a man at a desk to one side. Parched and tired out by his journey, he called out, ‘Excuse me, where are we?’

‘This is ranch, Heaven, sir,’ the man answered.

‘Wow! Would you happen to have some water?’ the man asked.

 ‘Of course, sir. Come right in, and I’ll have some ice water brought right up.’

As the gate began to open, the cowboy asked, ‘Can I bring my partners, too?’

‘I’m sorry, sir, but we don’t accept pets.’

The cowboy thought for a moment, then turned back to the road and continued riding, his dog trotting by his side.

After another long ride, at the top of another hill, he came to a dirt road leading through a ranch gate that looked as if it had never been closed. As he approached the gate, he saw a man inside, leaning against a tree and reading a book. ‘Excuse me,’ he called to the man. ‘Do you have any water?’

‘Sure, there’s a pump right over there. Help yourself.’

‘How about my friends here?’ the traveler gestured to the dog and his horse.

‘Of course! They look thirsty, too,’ said the man.

The trio went through the gate, and sure enough, there was an old-fashioned hand pump with buckets beside it. The traveler filled a cup and the buckets with wonderfully cool water and took a long drink, as did his horse and dog. When they were full, he walked back to the man who was still standing by the tree. ‘What do you call this place?’ the traveler asked.

‘This is Heaven,’ he answered.

‘That’s confusing,’ the traveler said. ‘The man down the road said that was Heaven, too.’

‘Oh, you mean the place with the glitzy, gold street and fake pearly gates? That’s hell.’

‘Doesn’t it make you angry when they use your name like that?’

‘Not at all. Actually, we’re happy they screen out the folks who would leave their best friends behind.’

Story is shared from the following website: http://www.inspire21.com/stories/friendshipstories/FriendsinHeaven

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