"Don't ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive."
I sometimes wonder if too many of us live our lives asking others to offer us the secret to happiness. I even wonder if some of us have so clouded our vision with some exotic template that we feel our life must be forced through in order to achieve an elusive secret happiness. Unfortunately both actions strike me as leading to failure if we convince ourselves that happiness is only available at the top of life’s mountain. In reality exaltation exists as much in the climb as does at the top. In fact too often those who feel they have reached the top quit as if there is nothing left for them.
In truth I doubt there are any magic universal answers, for each of us has our own questions and, our own paths and it is up to us to find our own answers and there are new questions every day. Fortunately the journey is much more rewarding when we deal with the question of the moment rather than the elusive global question of what is life’s secret. I think the choice of questions we ask ourselves can often make the difference between happiness and self-confidence or regret and unhappiness. If faced with making the choice between how can I buy a bigger widget today and how can I do something for myself, a friend, or a loved one, choosing the latter is always the better choice.
Some years ago Anthony De Mello, a Jesuit priest and psychotherapist widely known for his books on spirituality wrote this brief story that I hope you will take to heart as I have.
Anthony De Mello
Before the young man began his studies, he wanted assurance from the Master.
"Can you teach me the goal of human life?"
"I cannot," replied the Master.
"Or at least its meaning?"
"Can you indicate to me the nature of death and of life beyond the grave?"
The young man walked away in scorn. The disciples were dismayed that their Master had been shown up in a poor light.
Said the Master soothingly, "Of what is it to comprehend life's nature and life's meaning if you have never tasted it? I'd rather you ate your pudding than speculated on it."
"Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves... Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given to you because you will not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer."
Rainer Maria Rilke
What's the definition of an accountant?
Someone who solves a problem you didn't know you had in a way you don't understand.
What's the definition of a good tax accountant? Someone who has a loophole named after him.
What's an auditor? Someone who arrives after the battle and bayonets all the wounded.
How do you drive an accountant completely insane? Tie him to a chair, stand in front of him and fold up a road map the wrong way.
Of course I'm against sin; I'm against anything that I'm too old to enjoy.
When Little Johnny's family moved into their new house, a visiting relative asked him how he liked the new place.
"It's terrific," he said. "I have my own room, Billy has his own room, and my sister has her own room. But poor mom is still in with dad."
Middle age is the time when a man is always thinking that in a week or two he will feel as good as ever.
We were listening to a lecture on psychic phenomena in our Comparative Religions course. Our instructor told us about a woman who contacted police working on a missing-persons case. "She gave eerily detailed instructions on where to find the body," the teacher said. "In fact, the detectives did find the body just as she had described. Now what would you call that kind of person?"
While the rest of us pondered the question, a sheriff's officer taking the course raised his hand and replied, "A suspect."
Afternoon: that part of the day we spend worrying about how we wasted the morning.
Ad found among the miscellaneous listing in the Stanwood/Camano, Wash., News:
"Caution, homeowners between Warm Beach and Stanwood *
Daughter will be learning how to drive. Use caution after leaving garage or porch. Farmers advised to place hay bales around barns, farm equipment and slow-moving livestock. She will be driving white sedan with frightened father aboard."
"Remember that if the opportunities for great deeds should never come, the opportunities for good deeds are renewed day by day. The thing for us to long for is the goodness, not the glory."
Cecil and Morris are walking to services and Cecil asks, "I wonder whether it would be all right to smoke while praying?"
"Why don't you ask the rabbi?" says Morris.
Cecil sees Rabbi Golden and asks, "Rabbi, is it permissible for me to smoke while I pray?"
"No, you may not. That's utter disrespect to our religion and traditions!" quickly answers the rabbi. Cecil goes back to his friend and tells him what the good Rabbi told him.
"I'm not surprised. You asked the wrong question. Let me try."
Morris goes over to the rabbi and asks, "Rabbi, will it be ok if I pray while I smoke?"
To which Rabbi Golden eagerly replies, "By all means, my good man. By all means."
Don't prepare the path for the child; prepare the child for the path.
A good woman died and went to Heaven. When she arrived at the Pearly Gates, St. Peter offered to take her on a tour of the facilities. As they walked past the halo depository, she noticed a sort of fence off in the distance. Intrigued, she asked St. Peter if they could look at it. "What's a fence doing up here?" she asked.
"Oh, that's not exactly a fence," he replied. "It's a balcony railing. You see, some folks arrive here and find that certain friends or loved ones aren't here, and realize they must have gone to Hell. So we have an arrangement with the Adversary whereby our folks can stand at the railing and look down and find their loved ones."
So they approached the railing, and the woman looked down. She spotted a group of people wailing and tearing out their hair while demons poked them with pitchforks. "What's the matter with that group?" she asked. St. Peter took a look. "Ah," he said. "Those are Southern Baptists who went to dances."
Then she noticed another group, screaming while they walked on red-hot coals. "What are they being punished for?" she asked the saint. He looked and replied, "Those are old-style Catholics who ate meat on Friday."
Another group caught her attention. They were being whipped with scorpion tails, and screaming. "And their sin?" she asked. St. Peter looked and said, "Oh, those are Episcopalians who used the wrong fork."
"Be glad of life, because it gives you the chance to love and to work and to play and to look up at the stars."
Henry Van Dyke
Stay well, do good work, and have fun.
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