Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Clothing the world

When you think of the basic needs of life, shelter and food immediately come to mind.  There is a third very important need too, and that is clothing.  Some of us have WAY more than we need, while others can hardly cover themselves.  There are shelters for the homeless and meal programs too, but we don't hear as much about the clothing.
 
Years ago I belonged to a church that had a large barrel into which members of the parish would dump their clean unneeded clothing.  It was pretty simply.  You emptied your closets of things you no longer needed or wanted and brought them to the barrel.  We visitors came to the church they searched through the barrel for things that might work for them.  Of course there was no charge.  Some places with sufficient space have more elaborate programs where clothes are sorted and placed on tables, shelves, and racks and in addition to receiving donations from members, they also do clothing drives, seeking to increase their inventory with donations from around the neighborhood.
 
I recently heard about some wonderful organizations that are also helping to clothe the world.  One is called World Clothesline and I invite you to visit their website to find out more about them http://www.worldclothesline.com/ - you can buy some really nice things, which also helps them to reach more people. They match every item sold with a new item for someone in need.
 
Stores operated by The Society of St Vincent De Paul, Goodwill, Out Of the Closet, and others sell clothes at very reduced prices.  Often they will have brand new, never before worn clothing.  They rely on donations too.
 
So here is the word I have used over and over - donation.  These clothing programs work because people donate.  So it comes down to all of us.  We have the power to cloth the world.  We simply have to do something.  Oh donations can come in many forms.  We can give our own clothes or collect clothes from others.  We can donate money to help pay for necessary supplies or to buy new clothes.  We can also donate our time to help make these programs run.  So let's all pitch in - we can clothe the world - we can change the world!

Monday, November 19, 2018

A Zen Folktale

I didn't write this one.  (Gosh!  I've quoted several "author unknown" tales here over the years).  This is a good story though, so I hope you'll read on.

A huge, rough samurai once went to see a little monk, hoping to acquire the secrets of the universe.

"Monk," he said, in a voice accustomed to instant obedience. "teach me about heaven and hell."

The little monk looked up at the mighty warrior in silence. Then, after a moment, he said to the samurai with utter disdain, "Teach YOU about heaven and hell? I couldn't teach you about anything. You're dirty. You smell. Your blade is rusty. you're a disgrace, an embarrassment to the samurai class. Get out of my sight at once. I can't stand you!"

The samurai was furious. He began to shake all over from the anger that raced through him. A red flush spread over his face; he was speechless with rage. Quickly, menacingly, he pulled out his sword and raised it above his head, preparing to slay the monk.

"That's hell." said the little monk quietly.

The samurai was overwhelmed. Stunned. The compassion and surrender of this little man who had offered his life to give this teaching about hell! He slowly lowered his sword, filled with gratitude, and for reasons he could not explain his heart became suddenly peaceful.

"And that's heaven," said the monk softly.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Everyone smiles in the same language

I am convinced that there is just not enough happiness in the world. Why? No matter how bad anything is, there is always reason to go on. Things can always get better.

I know. Someone is going to say, "What if the doctor says you have only a few days to live"? Well, doctors can be wrong. I have heard many stories confirming that very fact. I even know a woman who was told just after her 60th birthday, that it would be her last. In fact, she was told she had only a few months to live. That woman is now 92!

We so often have trouble trusting these days. We have difficulty communicating too. Does he speak the same language as I do? Will we understand the meaning of our intentions? All of these things are valid of course, but one thing we seem to overlook. Happiness is easy to spot and easy to understand. Happiness is very easy to spread too. Happy people are more likely to make others happy.

Whatever part of the world you come from - whatever your race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, or eye color, one thing is universal. We all smile in the same language!

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Too Big

The whole task - the "making change in the world" idea - some may just shrug their shoulders and say "It's too big"! How often have we heard that? There is so much to do. How can one person make a difference? With that "it's too big" attitude, we are counting ourselves out even before we begin. It's the little things though that really can make a difference. Certainly we can all do some little thing! 

It was Mother Teresa (now recognized as a saint) who said "If you can't feed a hundred people, then feed just one." She certainly got that one right!

Don't worry if you don't have tons of time or tons of money. Give what you are able to give. That's the key.  If we each give back something - anything, it really will make a difference! Give a few minutes of your time. Put a sign up in your window. Donate cash or clothing.

In the familiar Bible story of the loaves and fishes feeding the five thousand, we always assume that Jesus created more food. What if it was a different kind of miracle? What if Jesus made us do the work that he knew were capable of doing? If some of the people had brought food with them, even if just a tiny snack, then they could have combined that and everyone could have been fed. Now I know some of you might not like me suggesting that a popular Scripture happened a little differently than we have always thought, but consider it for a moment. The crowd was too big to be fed by the small amount of food they knew they had. Jesus was not worried at all though. Very much the same as now. We ask God for more food or more money or a better job. Perhaps when we achieve these things it is because he led us to our own accomplishment.

If we all do a little - if we all do what we can, it will make a difference. Nothing is too big when everyone pitches in!

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Just plain folks

Growing up, must of the people I came in contact with were just plain folks. I have always found ordinary, down-to-earth, unpretentious people to be so much more attractive than the folks who expect you to be impressed by their name or their bank account or their social standing.  We are all "people" and we were all created equal. 
 
The blog is not to impress you and in fact I seldom mention my name here and I do often point out that this is NOT about me.  It's no big deal that I write a daily blog - for a while it seemed like everyone did.
 
You can be as plain as apple pie.  I happen to like apple pie.  The things you do will impress me more than the money you have in your pocket.  You may not do things so that others will be impressed.  That impresses me even more!  If everyone treated everyone equally and we were all simple and down to earth, how wonderful this world would be!

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Happiness is a warm puppy

The wonderful Peanuts cartoonist Charles Shultz said “Happiness is a warm puppy.”  That gives you an immediate image.  You can picture it immediately.  What else is happiness though?  What makes you happy?  What do you do to bring happiness to others?
 
Obviously there is not just one answer to my question.  It's going to be a little bit different for each individual.  I really think that being happy is a choice.  We each have the power to bring happiness into our lives and into the lives of others. WE can make it happen!  In fact, Ralph Waldo Emerson makes the same point when he said “For every minute you are angry you lose sixty seconds of happiness.”

Being angry or being unhappy can and does happen, even when we are trying to be upbeat and cheerful, but my point is that we can change things.  We can turn a bad day into a good one, just by changing our attitude.

So me happy, and while your at it, spread some of that happiness around!
 

Monday, November 12, 2018

Looking the other way

Quoting the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr, is an easy task, because this great man said so many wonderful and inspiring things. This morning I was thinking about one particular quote, where he mentions looking the other way.  As always he got me thinking about the importance of doing the right thing.

All too often these days it seems that folks aren't getting involved. Closing your eyes to the injustice around us, doesn't make it go away.   You can't change the world, unless you are willing to roll up your sleeves and do some good. The head in the sand mentality just doesn't work. Looking the other way, accomplishes nothing.

Dr King said "Never, never, be afraid to do what's right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake. Society's punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way."
 
May we listen to this wisdom.  May we always be willing to do what's right.