Thursday, May 26, 2016

The Elephant and the Rope

As evening fell, the story-teller took his seat by the fire and began.
Come my children, large and small
I’ll tell you a tale; it’s a good one for all

Once upon a time the circus came to town.  Seeing as how I loved to see the elephants, I went to the elephant show. 

I noticed that each elephant was being
held only by a small rope tied to their front leg.  There were no chains – nothing was attached to the elephant except one small rope tied to a stake.

Well, after the show I sought out the elephant trainer, for I wanted to know about this seemingly odd circumstance. 

I asked him about the small rope tied to each elephant’s leg, for each animal was now large and fully grown and could have easily broken the rope or pulled the stake out of the ground 

His answer surprised me.

“Well” he said, “when these elephants were very young we used the ropes you see there to tie them to their stake.  In those days the rope was strong enough to hold them in place.  

Oh, they would yank and pull and try to break free, but the rope was strong enough to hold those young elephants.

As they grew older, the elephants conditioned themselves to believe that they could not break away.  They believed the rope attached to their leg could still hold them so they never tried to break free or pull the stake out of the ground.”

I was amazed!

Every one of those elephants could have broken free from their bonds at any time, but because they had learned as youngsters that the ropes were strong, they quit trying to break free.  They grew accustomed to their shackles and stopped trying to free themselves.

How amazing is that?  I wonder what you and I have come to believe about ourselves and our supposed limitations.  Are we hanging onto a self-limiting belief simply because someone has told us a thing is so?

Have we attempted some task, some skill, some venture and failed, and then accepted that failure as the final end of the story?

Tomorrow might be a good time to test your limits once again.  Perhaps you are stronger, wiser, more determined than ever.  All you may need is a push toward your dream that for too long has been out of sight and out of reach. 

     ~Test yourself once again. 
          ~Test your limits. 
               ~Test your dreams. 

You just might gain a new footing and a new sense of “can-do”.

Life is a constant struggle.  Never give up in your struggle against life.

Never give up!

Words of Hope
Encouragement Inspiration
One Word at a Time

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Life Is Funny

As evening fell, the story-teller failed to show,
so I took his usual seat by the fire and began.
Come my children, large and small
I’ll tell you a tale; it’s a true one for y’all.

The story I am about to tell you is true.  Even the names are as real as I can remember.

I had to work all of the time that I was going to college.  I held down a job at Kroger’s Grocery in Donaldson, which meant I had to attend summer school in order to keep up with the required number of hours I needed so I could graduate in four years, and stay on plan. 

During the summer after my sophomore year, I had a summer roommate named David Digby.  He was a nice guy and a good guitar player as I recall. 

Seems that we did a bit of swimming that summer in local motels near the campus, and since I did not have my own swim trunks David and I thought nothing of sharing his extra swim trunks.  

Now, you must remember that I was an innocent college sophomore and I was not aware of some certain health issues that were prevalent at the time. 

After a few times of sharing his swim trunks I developed a pretty serious case of jock itch.  

Someone told me about a spray-on treatment called Cruex that could be bought at any local drug store.

Soon after hearing of this miracle cure I went into a local drug store and meekly walked up to a male clerk who was stocking a shelf with aspirin.  I was trying to ask quietly for this Cruex, only I kept pronouncing it ‘Krux’.  The clerk had no idea what I was looking for. 

When he asked what it was for, I told him for jock itch.  He then proceeded to yell out, loudly, to a clerk three aisles away.

 “Harry, do you know where the Cruex is?” 

Harry yelled back, “Cruex?  What’s that?”

My clerk friend yelled back, a bit more loudly than necessary, “It’s for jock itch.”

I was about to die from embarrassment.  Here I was, trying to be discreet and these two clowns were telling all within the store my most embarrassing ailment. 

I was pointed in the right direction for Cruex, began using it and my rash cleared up.  What a funny story.

“And what redeeming value is there to this story” you might ask.

Great question. 

It is perhaps this … life can be funny
sometimes.  There is no great moral to draw upon here. There is no lesson of note to hear except “don’t wear someone else’s swim trunks.”

Really, it’s a moment for laughter.  It brings a smile to my face.  As I related this story to Carolyn tonight, we were laughing out loud 

That is all there is.  Laugh.  I was innocent.  I was a dumb sophomore in college.  I lived for the moment, and in those moments I simply wanted to go swimming and didn’t want to swim in the buff.

If you can find humor here, laugh out loud. 

Now, tell me one of your more embarrassing moments.

Words of Hope
Encouragement Inspiration
One Word at a Time

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Words Have Power

As evening fell, the story-teller took his seat by the fire and began.
“Come my children, large and small
I’ll tell you a tale; it’s a good one for all”

“Once upon a time there was a young boy of 9 years.  He was an honest boy, a likeable boy, and a normal boy as most boys go.  But he didn’t believe he was worth much.  He especially didn’t seem to be able to show much initiative.

“He spent his early years being told, ‘Get away from that. You might break it’ or ‘Leave that alone.  You don’t know nothin’ about machinery.’

“You see, he lived in a putdown society and he actually began to believe that he indeed didn’t know much about anything, and perhaps, he wasn’t good enough to try some of the things that caught his interest.

“In his 9th grade year he took shop class.  What a grand adventure that was.  And our young lad proved to have some skill at woodworking.  Rumor has it that even today the bookcase he made 50 or so years ago still stands.  Or so I’m told.

“By now you have a good sense of the kind of training our young boy received.  For him, life was a series of “don’ts, “stop that’s” and “knock it off, boy.  Who do you think you are?”

“And life continued.

“When he married, his memory of the good times he had in shop class revived.  He began buying a few tools – you know - a saw here, a hammer there, a few screw drivers and such.  When the topic came up of him buying a circular saw, you would have thought it was the end.

“He was told, ‘I don’t want you to have one.  Why, you’ll cut your foot off with that thing’, and so he didn’t get one.

“Can you imagine living life like this?  Living in fear of what might be and allowing that fear to keep one from new adventures?

“In spite of some of these circumstances, our hero had some reasonably good career experiences.  His confidence grew, his sense of accomplishment grew, and he watched and learned.

“In time, he did indeed buy a circular saw.  That was perhaps twenty years ago, and he still has both feet, both hands, all twenty fingers and he is a careful carpenter when using power tools such as this.

“Yet some of these early messages lingered.  He still mostly felt like a no-good, can’t-do, better-leave-it-along kind of guy.

“As he grew into middle age he began discovering his can-do spirit.  He grew to trust himself and his sense of good judgment. 

“He read a few books, listened to a few trusted and wise sources and grew in knowledge and stature and understanding.” 

The story teller paused, threw two logs onto the fire and continued.

“The story I just told you is true.  I was that young boy.  The book case I mentioned is the one inside my cabin near the back wall.  It is a most prized possession, for it taught me one of my first lessons in self-confidence and self-worth.  It taught me that I could actually do something worthwhile with proper teaching and coaching. 

His voice rose with a new urgency. 

“Harsh words are killers.  They kill our
 spirit.  They kill our desire to learn and grow and understand.  Harsh words
stop us in our tracks.  They stifle and, and … “

He eased back in his chair.  His voice was softer now.

“Harsh words linger long after they have been spoken, and it takes a considerable amount of work to undo the harm they have done. 

“If I were to say one wise word to you tonight, it would be … never, ever underestimate the power of the right words spoken at the right time.  Words crush … and words elevate.

“Find and use those words that elevate another person.  Always … always … elevate your fellow man.

“That is all I have to say for tonight.”

And the villagers slowly left the fire and returned to their homes.

Words of Hope
Encouragement Inspiration
One Word at a Time