- I read about an enthusiastic group of 1200 would-be peacemakers who began a "peace march" a few years back in Los Angeles. This group wanted to make a statement about the futility of war, and the importance of peace. A noble venture, wouldn't you say? Before they had gone too far, however, the peace march stalled-out. About half of the group had disbanded because of petty bickering within the group. "The remaining marchers quickly polarized between those who were walkers and those who rode vehicles. Following that was a dispute over a dress code. Finally, they decided to settle some of the conflict with an election, but there was disagreement over who could vote. Eventually they came to an agreement, allowing even the children to vote, but then the election was declared invalid. The 'peace march' ended with a large percentage of those assembled refusing to speak to one another."
- ("Listen to Saint Paul's response to one of those gifts drawn from one of his apocryphal letters that never made it into the Bible. It was written to the Church in Corsicana, TX, where the Collin Street Bakery has been baking the world-famous DeLuxe Fruitcake for over 100 years. 'What I always feared has happened to me,' writes Paul, 'I have no See's, no Godiva, not even a Whitman's Sampler; instead, only fruitcake comes...")
- ("Let me offer this scenario. Imagine you are a contestant on the TV game show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? You are asked the question; what is the most powerful force in the world? The possible answers are; (a) the weather; (b) gravity; (c) time; (d) all the lawyers in Washington DC...")
- I saw a Guideposts magazine article by Mary Manachi who wrote about losing all three of her children before any of them turned 20. Their deaths were due to a rare blood disease known as Cooley’s anemia. It was so rare that when their first daughter was born with it, the doctors told the parents not to worry about having additional children; the odds were all but impossible for it to happen to them again. But it did. All three children were born with the disease and required blood transfusions every other week. When the first daughter died at the age of 12, the other two knew that they would also have shortened lives, but they both decided to make the best of the time given to them. And both of them lived up to that determination. When death finally claimed both and Mary and her husband were left alone, people would ask Mary over and over again, “How can you be happy after losing all three children?” This is what she told them; “My children understood that life is a holy gift from our Creator. They loved each day they were given. In the face of early death, they embraced life. If they loved life as much as they did, honoring it, reaching out to soothe their stricken friends, using their days creatively, am I to love life any less? No! I will not dishonor God — or my children with gloom and self-pity. I embrace life as they embraced it and I shall rejoice and be glad in it!”
- During one of my college literature classes, we were required to read Voltaire’s novel Candide. In essence, Candide is a dark comedy that satirizes those who try to always look at the world through rose-colored glasses regardless of what their circumstances may be. It is Voltaire’s attempt to demonstrate what he felt was the foolishness of advice like Paul’s. The character Candide is the illegitimate nephew of a German baron who grows up in the baron’s castle under the guidance of a philosopher named Dr. Pangloss. Dr. Pangloss is an eternal optimist who teaches Candide that this is “the best of all possible worlds.” Then the novelist Voltaire proceeds to guide Candide and his friends through a series of horrific adventures designed to show both the range of injustices in the world of his day and to crush the possibility of such unthinking optimism. Ultimately Voltaire’s recommendation is for everyone to adopt an attitude of stoic endurance.
- ("Christian poet and novelist Ruth Harnden has written eloquently about the joys and trials of her mother's later years. She wrote that her mom had maintained a relationship with Hilda, the elderly Scandinavian woman who had served as the family cook for many years. Then, late in life, Hilda married and moved away to Oregon...")