‘Mystery page’ articles feature interesting true stories, good advice & food for thought. While these archived articles contain lots of good material, for more recent posts please click on the mystery page tab at the top of the page.
posted Dec 25th
Why is Jesus better than Santa Claus?
Santa rides in a sleigh.
JESUS rides on the wind and walks on the water.
Santa comes but once a year.
JESUS is an ever present help.
Santa fills your stockings with goodies.
JESUS supplies all your needs.
Santa comes down your chimney uninvited.
JESUS stands at your door and knocks,
and then enters your heart when invited.
You have to wait in line to see Santa.
JESUS is as close as the mention of His name.
Santa lets you sit on his lap.
JESUS lets you rest in His arms.
Santa doesn’t know your name, all he can say is
“Hi little boy or girl, what’s your name?”
JESUS knew our name before we were born…
Not only does He know our name,
He knows our address too.
He knows our history and future and
He even knows how many hairs are on our heads.
Santa has a belly like a bowl full of jelly.
JESUS has a heart full of love
All Santa can offer is HO HO HO.
JESUS offers health, help and hope.
Santa’s little helpers make toys.
JESUS makes new life, mends wounded hearts,
repairs broken homes and builds mansions.
Santa may make you chuckle but …
JESUS gives you joy that is your strength.
While Santa puts gifts under your tree.
JESUS became our gift and died on a tree…
posted Dec 19th
The true story of ‘Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer’!
A man named Bob May, depressed and brokenhearted, stared out his drafty apartment window into the chilling December night.
His 4-year-old daughter Barbara sat on his lap quietly sobbing. Bob’s wife, Evelyn, was dying of cancer Little Barbara couldn’t understand why her mommy could never come home. Barbara looked up into her dad’s eyes and asked, “Why isn’t Mommy just like everybody else’s Mommy?” Bob’s jaw tightened and his eyes welled with tears. Her question brought waves of grief, but also of anger. It had been the story of Bob’s life. Life always had to be different for Bob.
Small when he was a kid, Bob was often bullied by other boys. He was too little at the time to compete in sports. He was often called names he’d rather not remember. From childhood, Bob was different and never seemed to fit in. Bob did complete college, married his loving wife and was grateful to get his job as a copywriter at Montgomery Ward during the Great Depression. Then he was blessed with his little girl. But it was all short-lived. Evelyn’s bout with cancer stripped them of all their savings and now Bob and his daughter were forced to live in a two-room apartment in the Chicago slums. Evelyn died just days before Christmas in 1938.
Bob struggled to give hope to his child, for whom he couldn’t even afford to buy a Christmas gift. But if he couldn’t buy a gift, he was determined to make one – a storybook! Bob had created an animal character in his own mind and told the animal’s story to little Barbara to give her comfort and hope. Again and again Bob told the story, embellishing it more with each telling. Who was the character? What was the story all about? The story Bob May created was his own autobiography in fable form. The character he created was a misfit outcast like he was. The name of the character? A little reindeer named Rudolph, with a big shiny nose. Bob finished the book just in time to give it to his little girl on Christmas Day. But the story doesn’t end there.
The general manager of Montgomery Ward caught wind of the little storybook and offered Bob May a nominal fee to purchase the rights to print the book. Wards went on to print,_ Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer_ and distribute it to children visiting Santa Claus in their stores. By 1946 Wards had printed and distributed more than six million copies of Rudolph. That same year, a major publisher wanted to purchase the rights from Wards to print an updated version of the book.
In an unprecedented gesture of kindness, the CEO of Wards returned all rights back to Bob May. The book became a best seller. Many toy and marketing deals followed and Bob May, now remarried with a growing family, became wealthy from the story he created to comfort his grieving daughter. But the story doesn’t end there either.
Bob’s brother-in-law, Johnny Marks, made a song adaptation to Rudolph. Though the song was turned down by such popular vocalists as Bing Crosby and Dinah Shore , it was recorded by the singing cowboy, Gene Autry. “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer” was released in 1949 and became a phenomenal success, selling more records than any other Christmas song, with the exception of “White Christmas.”
posted Dec 5th
The real meaning of Christmas
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the word was God… and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth,” the Bible says.
WHAT ELSE DOES CHRISTMAS MEAN?
C is for Christ who came as a babe…living He loved me, dying He saved me, buried He carried my sins far away, rising He justified freely forever … One day he’s coming, Oh glorious day!
H is for hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time (Titus 1:2)
R is for righteousness that has been revealed by God, that is by faith from first to last. (Romans 1:17)
I is for Immanuel (God with us-John 1)
S is for shepherds of whom Jesus Christ is the Chief Shepherd…the Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want. (Psalm 23)
T is for the treasures of wisdom and knowledge that are hidden in Christ. (Colossians 2:3)
M is for magi who came to worship Jesus for He is truly worthy. (Matthew 2)
A is for angels who sang, “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to men on whom His favor rests.” (Luke 2:14)
S is for the star that led to the bright Morning Star…Jesus Himself. (Revelation 22:16)
“I have this running quandary about Christmas. I get upset about it, because I feel that we American Christians make too much of it, and too little. Too little of it, because we pile all sorts of other things onto it, including some that have only the feeblest connection with the Event it is supposed to commemorate. If God did become a man, in any real sense, it is the most important thing that ever happened. Surely we, who believe it, could well devote one day a year to uninterrupted contemplation of the fact, and let Saturnalia fall on the winter solstice, where it belongs.
“On the other hand, we make so much of the actual birth, and forget the things that make it more than just the birth of a baby (though even that is, in Walt Whitman’s phrase, “miracle enough to stagger sextillions of infidels”) — more, even, than the birth of the greatest man who ever lived. We forget the promise to Eve of a descendant who will solve the problem of Evil; the promise to Abraham of one by whom all mankind will be blessed; the promise to Moses of a greater prophet than he, to arise from his people; and the promise to David of a Son who would be his Master. We forget about the eternal Purpose behind it all: it’s like telling a story and leaving out the point. Yes, it is true that God gave us His Son, and so maybe we ought also to give gifts — but what, and to whom? It is also true that God gave us Himself, and the only sensible response to that is to give ourselves to Him. There is nothing else that He wants from us, or, if there is something, He can take it. Only I, my ego, my heart, is truly mine to give or to withhold — and is therefore the appropriate gift to Him.”
-Robert MacColl Adams (1913-1985) from a letter in 1982
posted Nov 14th
How to Become a Great Finisher
Heidi Grant Halvorson, Ph.D. is a motivational psychologist and author of the HBR Single Nine Things Successful People Do Differently and the book Succeed: How We Can Reach Our Goals (Hudson Street Press, 2011). Her personal blog, The Science of Success, can be found at www.heidigranthalvorson.com. Follow her on Twitter @hghalvorson.
The road to hell may or may not be paved with good intentions, but the road to failure surely is. Take a good look at the people you work with, and you’ll find lots of Good Starters — individuals who want to succeed, and have promising ideas for how to make that happen. They begin each new pursuit with enthusiasm, or at the very least, a commitment to getting the job done.
And then something happens. Somewhere along the way, they lose steam. They get bogged down with other projects. They start procrastinating and miss deadlines. Their projects take forever to finish, if they get finished at all.
Does all this sound familiar? Maybe a little too familiar? If you are guilty of being a Good Starter, but a lousy finisher — at work or in your personal life — you have a very common problem. After all, David Allen’s Getting Things Done wouldn’t be a huge bestseller if people could easily figure out how to get things done on their own.
More than anything else, becoming a Great Finisher is about staying motivated from a project’s beginning to its end. Recent research has uncovered the reason why that can be so difficult, and a simple and effective strategy you can use to keep motivation high.
In their studies, University of Chicago psychologists Minjung Koo and Ayelet Fishbach examined how people pursuing goals were affected by focusing on either how far they had already come (to-date thinking) or what was left to be accomplished (to-go thinking). People routinely use both kinds of thinking to motivate themselves. A marathon runner may choose to think about the miles already traveled or the ones that lie ahead. A dieter who wants to lose 30 pounds may try to fight temptation by reminding themselves of the 20 pounds already lost, or the 10 left to go.
Intuitively, both approaches have their appeal. But too much to-date thinking, focusing on what you’ve accomplished so far, will actually undermine your motivation to finish rather than sustain it.
Koo and Fishbach’s studies consistently show that when we are pursuing a goal and consider how far we’ve already come, we feel a premature sense of accomplishment and begin to slack off. For instance, in one study, college students studying for an exam in an important course were significantly more motivated to study after being told that they had 52% of the material left to cover, compared to being told that they had already completed 48%.
When we focus on progress made, we’re also more likely to try to achieve a sense of “balance” by making progress on other important goals. This is classic Good Starter behavior — lots of pots on the stove, but nothing is ever ready to eat.
If, instead, we focus on how far we have left to go (to-go thinking), motivation is not only sustained, it’s heightened. Fundamentally, this has to do with the way our brains are wired. To-go thinking helps us tune in to the presence of a discrepancy between where we are now and where we want to be. When the human brain detects a discrepancy, it reacts by throwing resources at it: attention, effort, deeper processing of information, and willpower.
In fact, it’s the discrepancy that signals that an action is needed — to-date thinking masks that signal. You might feel good about the ground you’ve covered, but you probably won’t cover much more.
Great Finishers force themselves to stay focused on the goal, and never congratulate themselves on a job half-done. Great managers create Great Finishers by reminding their employees to keep their eyes on the prize, and are careful to avoid giving effusive praise or rewards for hitting milestones “along the way.” Encouragement is important, but to keep your team motivated, save the accolades for a job well — and completely — done.
Posted Oct 30th
HOW TO STAY YOUNG!
1. Throw out non-essential numbers. This includes age, weight and height.
Let the doctors worry about them.
2. Keep only cheerful friends. The grouches pull you down.
3. Keep learning. Learn more about the computer, crafts, gardening, whatever. Never let the brain idle. “An idle mind is the devil’s workshop.”
4. Enjoy the simple things.
5. Laugh often, long and loud. Laugh until you gasp for breath.
6. The tears happen. Endure, grieve, and move on. The only person, who is with us our entire life, is ourselves. Be ALIVE while you are alive.
7. Surround yourself with what you love, whether it’s family, pets, keepsakes, music, plants, hobbies, whatever. Your home is your refuge.
8. Cherish your health: If it is good, preserve it. If it is unstable, improve it. If it is beyond what you can improve, get help.
9. Don’t take guilt trips. Take a trip to the mall, even to the next county; to a foreign country but NOT to where the guilt is.
10. Tell the people close to you that you love them, at every opportunity.
AND ALWAYS REMEMBER:
Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.
And if you don’t send this to at least 8 people – who cares?
But do share this with someone. We all need to live life to its fullest each day
Posted Oct 15th
WHY MEN ARE SELDOM DEPRESSED:
Men Are Just Happier People. What do you expect from such simple creatures? Your last name stays put. The garage is all yours. Wedding plans take care of themselves. Chocolate is just another snack. You can be President. You can never be pregnant. You can wear a white T-shirt to a water park. You can wear NO shirt to a water park. Car mechanics tell you the truth. The world is your urinal. You never have to drive to another gas station restroom because this one is just too icky. You don’t have to stop and think of which way to turn a nut on a bolt. Same work, more pay. Wrinkles add character. Wedding dress $5000. Tux rental-$100. People never stare at your chest when you’re talking to them. New shoes don’t cut, blister, or mangle your feet. One mood all the time. Phone conversations are over in 30 seconds flat. You know stuff about tanks. A five-day vacation requires only one suitcase. You can open all your own jars. You get extra credit for the slightest act of thoughtfulness. If someone forgets to invite you, he or she can still be your friend. Your underwear is $8.95 for a three-pack. Three pairs of shoes are more than enough. You almost never have strap problems in public. You are unable to see wrinkles in your clothes. Everything on your face stays its original color. The same hairstyle lasts for years, maybe decades. You only have to shave your face and neck. You can play with toys all your life. One wallet and one pair of shoes; one color for all seasons. You can wear shorts no matter how your legs look. You can ‘do’ your nails with a pocket knife. You have freedom of choice concerning growing a mustache. You can do Christmas shopping for 25 relatives on December 24 in 25 minutes. No wonder men are happier. Men Are Just Happier People!!!
Posted Oct 1st
Have a good laugh at these student jokes! We’ve had quite a lot of thought-provoking articles, along with posts on how to improve one’s quality of life, so this time let’s lighten up with a few jokes! These have all been compiled from student test papers over the years. More coming in a few weeks….
Ten principles to live by in fiercely complex times!
Tony Schwartz is the president and CEO of The Energy Project and the author of Be Excellent at Anything.
If you’re like most people I work with in companies, the demands come at you from every angle, all day long, and you have to make difficult decisions without much time to think about them. What enduring principles can you rely on to make choices that reflect openness, integrity and authenticity?
Here are ten that work for me:
1. Always challenge certainty, especially your own. When you think you’re undeniably right, ask yourself “What might I be missing here?” If we could truly figure it all out, what else would there be left to do?
2. Excellence is an unrelenting struggle, but it’s also the surest route to enduring satisfaction. Amy Chua, the over-the-top “Tiger Mother,” was right that there’s no shortcut to excellence. Getting there requires practicing deliberately, delaying gratification, and forever challenging your current comfort zone.
3. Emotions are contagious, so it pays to know what you’re feeling. Think of the best boss you ever had. How did he or she make you feel? That’s the way you want to make others feel.
4. When in doubt, ask yourself, “How would I behave here at my best?” We know instinctively what it means to do the right thing, even when we’re inclined to do the opposite. If you find it impossible, in a challenging moment, to envision how you’d behave at your best, try imagining how someone you admire would respond.
5. If you do what you love, the money may or may not follow, but you’ll love what you do. It’s magical thinking to assume you’ll be rewarded with riches for following your heart. What it will give you is a richer life. If material riches don’t follow, and you decide they’re important, there’s always time for Plan B.
6. You need less than you think you do. All your life, you’ve been led to believe that more is better, and that whatever you have isn’t enough. It’s a prescription for disappointment. Instead ask yourself this: How much of what you already have truly adds value in your life? What could you do without?
7. Accept yourself exactly as you are but never stop trying to learn and grow. One without the other just doesn’t cut it. The first, by itself, leads to complacency, the second to self-flagellation. The paradoxical trick is to embrace these opposites, using self-acceptance as an antidote to fear and as a cushion in the face of setbacks.
8. Meaning isn’t something you discover, it’s something you create, one step at a time. Meaning is derived from finding a way to express your unique skills and passion in the service of something larger than yourself. Figuring out how best to contribute is a lifelong challenge, reborn every day.
9. You can’t change what you don’t notice and not noticing won’t make it go away. Each of us has an infinite capacity for self-deception. To avoid pain, we rationalize, minimize, deny, and go numb. The antidote is the willingness to look at yourself with unsparing honesty, and to hold yourself accountable to the person you want to be.
10. When in doubt, take responsibility. It’s called being a true adult.
Posted August 25th
My Year Without Clothes
By Jessica Epstein
Well, not literally. I can explain.
A couple of years back—through 2009, to be specific—I made, and kept, a vow to purchase no new clothes or shoes. My reasons were a combination of 1) I didn’t need more shoes and clothes. I’m not one of those shopaholic types but, well, I am a woman, and with a combination of going to plenty of garage sales, occasional online shopping, and having lots of other girls around who have given me stuff, I had a lot of stuff :-). 2) I had at the time just read in the news about a growingmovement of people who had decided they would only own 100 things. I did some quick calculations on what I had and “needed” and decided that wasn’t exactly for me, but I admired the concept and liked the idea—both the freedom and the anti-materialism of it. 3) I had exactly zero set aside in savings at the time, and I wanted to change that.
As it turned out, I ended up getting more new clothes and shoes within that year than I had in the previous several years, without buying them. Yep, it’s true. It was a combination of visits with my mother, sister, and sister-in-law, all of whom I saw that year and who each somehow had a stash for me, and donated goods and other gifts. Granted, they weren’t all brand-new, but some were, and they were new to me in any case. So, the happy news is that I got variety in my wardrobe and shoe-drobe (shouldn’t that be a word?) without having spent a penny on it.
I woke up this morning thinking about that decision and that year and how well that went. I strongly suspect that it was somehow connected to the minor panic I have been experiencing over the last few days in thinking about my current financial situation. I’ve recently relocated, and a lot about my life has changed along with that, and I’m facing some, shall we say, challenges. I have a lot of experience in being frugal, I’m disciplined in my budgeting and spending, and I think that with a little caution I’ll be okay.
One hears and reads a lot these days about frugality. People share their stories of how they have changed their lifestyles since the recession; they post tips and tricks and ideas on their blog, and all that. I’ve sometimes thought I should do that. Well, that wasn’t really where I’m going with all this. Anyway, I suppose my “year without clothes” came to mind because the Lord was reminding me that, as I like to say, “stuff works out.”
During that year, spending less didn’t mean having less. Pursuing the acquisition of things less doesn’t have to mean actually acquiring less. If in the near or distant future there is a month, or even a year, when I have to do without buying a certain thing, could I maybe trust God to bring it along in some unexpected way? I think so.I often feel I don’t have a lot to show insofar as manifestations of God’s involvement and activity, including His supply,in my life. I love Him to pieces, we spend time together, and I know His presence is with me always … but then, once in a while someone asks me a question like, “Tell me about something wonderful or a miracle the Lord did for you,” and I kind of hem and haw and usually can’t think of anything offhand.
I used to feel horrible about that, and then came to accept that my life is probably one of those where God just doesn’t work in a “showy” way. He’s entitled to that, and I’m not entitled to expect Him to treat me in a particular way. But, then, there are sweet little things like this, where looking back I can see that God could very well have had a hand in it. I can’t quite bring myself to believe that He cared as much as I did about me getting more shoes, but I can see how He did care about helping me realize that if I trust Him, I’ll always havewhat I need, and sometimes even what I want.—And that maybe, or even most likely, it would n’t come through expected channels or come about only because of my best-laid plans.
Another thing I came to realize during my “year without clothes” was how much I had in many ways—not merely the tally of pairs of shoes in my closet, though that didn’t suffer too much either, but more so in other ways. For example, I had a job at a time when a lot of people didn’t. I’ve never in my life been homeless. I’ve hardly even missed a meal. And contrary to what you might have thought five minutes ago when reading this title, I’ve never had to run around without clothes either. I’ve had things pretty good.
As an aside, the fact that I had the self-discipline and commitment to do what I did that year was pretty cool in itself, I thought. It was empowering. On the practical side, it also kept me from having even more stuff than I do, which was good, because as it was I had to trim down when I moved earlier this year.
All in all, I have felt richer since then. I have a rich God.
Posted August 10th
And now for something completely different…..! One interesting feature of our life in Fiji is that we visit quite a lot of people in their houses; whether our hosts are from the Fijian community or the Indo-Fijian community, we are almost always asked if we would like some ‘juice’ to drink, especially when the weather is hot.
We used to automatically accept people’s kindness but then found out that the ‘juice’ was actually Coca-cola or Fanta or Sprite! We now take advantage of the situation to explain that it can only be juice if it comes from a fruit, so if they have any actual fruit juice then that would be great… otherwise water is fine!
Here’s an article we found on the internet about coca-cola & other acidic, carbonated drinks:
Water vs. Coca – Cola
COCA – COLA
. Its pH is 2.8. It will dissolve a nail in about four days. Phosphoric acid also leaches calcium from bones and is a major contributor to the rising increase in osteoporosis.
The active ingredient in Coke is phosphoric acid
To carry Coca-Cola syrup (the concentrate), the commercial truck must use the “Hazardous Material” place cards reserved for highly corrosive materials.
Drinking 5 glasses of water daily decreases the risk of colon cancer by 45%, plus it can slash the risk of breast cancer by 79%, and one is 50% less likely to develop bladder cancer.
What would YOU like to drink?
Posted July 26th
We’d like to bring your attention to a wonderful website called ‘Tommy’s Window’! This site sends out free, inspirational power point presentations (pps files) all over the world in 40 different languages & has a very large following. The slide shows vary in content but include such diverse subjects as having a positive attitude, getting more out of life, improving the quality of your relationships, having more success in your work, building better relationships, raising children etc.
Tommy was a little disabled boy, whose mangled body lay almost helpless on a pitiful pallet by the third story window of an old rickety tenement on a busy street of a large city! He’d asked a newsboy friend of his to bring him the book about a man who went about everywhere doing good!
The little lad searched and searched for this unnamed book for his crippled friend, until one book dealer finally recognized that he must be talking about the Bible, and the story of Jesus! The tiny lad scraped together the little money he had, and the kindly bookseller gave him a copy of the New Testament, which he rushed back to Tom on his third-floor pallet! They began to read it together, till Tommy was saved through the word that he read in the Book, and he, too, wanted to do good, like the Man in the Book–but he was crippled, and could not even leave the little one-room apartment of his old aunt with whom he lived! So he prayed and asked God to help him, and the Lord showed him a plan!
He began to scribble laboriously, helpful verses from the Bible on tiny scraps of paper, which he would then drop out of his third-floor window to flutter to the busy street below! Passers-by would see them fluttering down and curiously pick them up to see what they were, only to read the words of a Man who went around everywhere doing good–Christ Jesus! Many were helped, encouraged, comforted, and even saved, through this simple little ministry of this little lad and his Bible and tiny window!
One day a wealthy businessman was wonderfully saved through reading one of these little verses. After finding Christ, he returned to the spot where he had found the tiny scrap of paper that had led him to the Lord, seeking some key as to how it got there! Suddenly he noticed another little bit of paper fluttering down to the sidewalk from above; and a poor, tired, old woman stooped painfully to pick it up, and he watched her countenance brighten as she read it–and there seemed to be new strength in her step, as she journeyed on!
The businessman now, transfixed to the spot, kept his eyes glued upward, determined to find the source! He had to wait a long time, for it took poor little, crippled Tommy many painful minutes to scrawl even one verse on one of those bits of paper! Suddenly the businessman’s eyes were riveted to a certain window, as he saw a thin, little, scrawny hand reaching outward to drop a like piece of paper, as the ones he had seen before, and the one that had brought a whole new life to him! He carefully noted the location of the window, dashed up the stairs of the dirty tenement, and finally found the little one-room hovel of tiny Tom, the sidewalk missionary!
This is a true story and I wish I could remember the man’s name, but as I recall, he was a hat manufacturer in the city of Philadelphia! He and Tom immediately became fast friends, and he brought Tom all the help and medical attention that he could, and finally invited Tom to come live with him in his palatial mansion in the suburbs! But much to his surprise, Tom answered, “I’ll have to ask my friend about it “–meaning Jesus!
The next day the businessman returned, eagerly awaiting Tom’s reply! Oddly enough, Tom asked him some strange questions: “Where did you say your home is?” “Oh”, said the businessman, “It’s far out in the country on a large and beautiful estate: you’ll have a beautiful room all your own, and servants to care for you, delicious meals, a good bed, every comfort and attention, and anything your heart desires; and my wife and I will love you dearly, and rear you as our own son.” Hesitantly Tom queried again, “ARE THERE ANY FOLKS THAT WOULD PASS UNDER MY WINDOW?” Surprised, and somewhat baffled, again the businessman replied, saying, “Why, uh, no, only an occasional servant, and perhaps the gardener! You don’t understand, Tom, this is a gorgeous estate, way out in the country, far from the busy noise of the city, and the tumult of people! You’ll have quiet there, and be able to rest, and read, and do all you want–away from all this filth and smoke and noise and busy throngs.”
After a long and thoughtful silence, Tom’s face looked very sad, for he hated to hurt his new-found friend; but finally he said quietly, but firmly, with tears in his eyes, “I’m sorry, but you see, I COULDN’T LIVE ANYWHERE WHERE PEOPLE DON’T PASS UNDER MY WINDOW.”
Here’s the true life story of someone so helpless and so isolated you might never have thought they could have had any ministry at all, and would seemingly have had every excuse for not ministering to others, but rather needed to be ministered unto; BUT LOVE FOUND A WAY!
Someone is passing under your window right now! Has your love found a way to help them? HAS HIS LOVE SHOWED YOU HOW YOU CAN HELP THEM? HE WILL, IF YOU WANT TO, NO MATTER WHAT THE CONDITIONS, OR YOUR LIMITATIONS–for God has a window, too, and He has promised that, if we obey Him, and open the windows of our lives upon others, He “will open the windows of Heaven, and pour out such a blessing, there will not be room enough to hold it.” (Mal.3:10)
click here to download a pdf version of the story of Tommy’s Window
posted July 11th
Here’s an ‘oldie-goldie’ interview with Mother Teresa from Time magazine–first published in 1989 but still very relevant with lots of food for thought!
MOTHER TERESA’S TIME MAGAZINE INTERVIEW
Time: What did you do this morning?
Mother Teresa: Pray.
Time: When did you start?
Mother Teresa: Half-past four
Time: And after prayer?
Mother Teresa: We try to pray through our work by doing it with Jesus, for Jesus, to Jesus. That helps us to put our whole heart and soul into doing it. The dying, the crippled, the mental, the unwanted, the unloved– they are Jesus in disguise.
Time: People know you as a sort of religious social worker. Do they understand the spiritual basis of your work?
Mother Teresa: I don’t know. But I give them a chance to come and touch the poor. Everybody has to experience that. So many young people give up everything to do just that. This is something so completely unbelievable in the world, no? And yet it is wonderful. Our volunteers go back different people.
Time: Does the fact that you are a woman make your message more understandable?
Mother Teresa: I never think like that.
Time: But don’t you think the world responds better to a mother?
Mother Teresa: People are responding not because of me, but because of what we’re doing. Before, people were speaking much about the poor, but now more and more people are speaking to the poor. That’s the great difference. The work has created this. The presence of the poor is known now, especially the poorest of the poor, the unwanted, the loved, the uncared-for. Before, nobody bothered about the people in the street. We have picked up from the streets of Calcutta 54,000 people, and 23,000 something have died in that one room [at Kalighat].
Time: Why have you been so successful?
Mother Teresa: Jesus made Himself the bread of life to give us life. That’s where we begin the day, with Mass. And we end the day with Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. I don’t think that I could do this work for even one week if I didn’t have four hours of prayer every day.
Time: Humble as you are, it must be an extraordinary thing to be a vehicle of God’s grace in the world.
Mother Teresa: But it is His work. I think God wants to show His greatness by using nothingness.
Time: You are nothingness?
Mother Teresa: I’m very sure of that.
Mother Teresa: I don’t think so. I don’t claim anything of the work. It’s His work. I’m like a little pencil in His hand. That’s all. He does the thinking. He does the writing. The pencil has nothing to do it. The pencil has only to be allowed to be used. In human terms, the success of our work should not have happened, no? That is a sign that it’s His work, and that He is using others as instruments – all our Sisters. None of us could produce this. Yet see what He has done.
Time: What is God’s greatest gift to you?
Mother Teresa: The poor people.
Time: Here in Calcutta, have you created a real change?
Mother Teresa: I think so. People are aware of the presence and also many, many, many Hindu people share with us. They come and feed the people and they serve the people. Now we never see a person lying there in the street dying. It has created a worldwide awareness of the poor.
Time: Beyond showing the poor to the world, have you conveyed any message about how to work with the poor?
Mother Teresa: You must make them feel loved and wanted. They are Jesus for me. I believe in that much more than doing big things for them.
Time: What’s your greatest hope here in India?
Mother Teresa: To give Jesus to all.
Time: But you do not evangelize in the conventional sense of the term.
Mother Teresa: I’m evangelizing by my works of love.
Time: Is that the best way?
Mother Teresa: For us, yes. For somebody else, something else. I’m evangelizing the way God wants me to. Jesus said go and preach to all the nations. We are now in so many nations preaching the Gospel by our works of love. “By the love that you have for one another will they know you are my disciples.” That’s the preaching that we are doing, and I think that is more real.
Time: Friends of yours say that you are disappointed that your work has not brought more conversions in this great Hindu nation.
Mother Teresa: Missionaries don’t think of that. They only want to proclaim the Word of God. Numbers have nothing to do with it. But the people are putting prayer into action by coming and serving the people. Continually people are coming to feed and serve, so many, you go and see. Everywhere people are helping. We don’t know the future. But the door is already open to Christ. There may not be a big conversion like that, but we don’t know what is happening in the soul.
Time: What do you think of Hinduism?
Mother Teresa: I love all religions, but I am in love with my own. No discussion. That’s what we have to prove to them. Seeing what I do, they realize that I am in love with Jesus.
Time: And they should love Jesus too?
Mother Teresa: Naturally, if they want peace, if they want joy, let them find Jesus. If people become better Hindus, better Muslims, better Buddhists by our acts of love, then there is something else growing there. They come closer and closer to God. When they come closer, they have to choose.
Time: You and John Paul II, among other Church leaders, have spoken out against certain lifestyles in the West, against materialism and abortion. How alarmed are you?
Mother Teresa: I always say one thing: If a mother can kill her own child, then what is left of the West to be destroyed? It is difficult to explain , but it is just that.
Time: When you spoke at Harvard University a few years ago, you said abortion was a great evil and people booed. What did you think when people booed you?
Mother Teresa: I offered it to our Lord. It’s all for Him, no? I let Him say what He wants.
Time: But these people who booed you would say that they also only want the best for women?
Mother Teresa: That may be. But we must tell the truth.
Time: And that is?
Mother Teresa: We have no right to kill. Thou shalt not kill, a commandment of God. And still should we kill the helpless one, the little one? You see we get so excited because people are throwing bombs and so many are being killed. For the grown ups, there is so much excitement in the world. But that little one in the womb, not even a sound? He cannot even escape. That child is the poorest of the poor.
Time: Is materialism in the West an equally serious problem?
Mother Teresa: I don’t know. I have so many things to think about. I pray lots about that, but I am not occupied by that. Take our congregation for example, we have very little, so we have nothing to be preoccupied with. The more you have, the more you are occupied, the less you give. But the less you have, the more free you are. Poverty for us is a freedom. It is not a mortification, a penance. It is joyful freedom. There is no television here, no this, no that. This is the only fan in the whole house. It doesn’t matter how hot it is, and it is for the guests. But we are perfectly happy.
Time: How do you find rich people then?
Mother Teresa: I find the rich much poorer. Sometimes they are more lonely inside. They are never satisfied. They always need something more. I don’t say all of them are like that. Everybody is not the same. I find that poverty hard to remove. The hunger for love is much more difficult to remove than the hunger for bread.
Time: What is the saddest place you’ve ever visited?
Mother Teresa: I don’t know. I can’t remember. It’s a sad thing to see people suffer, especially the broken family, unloved, uncared for. It’s a big sadness; it’s always the children who suffer most when there is no love in the family. That’s a terrible suffering. Very difficult because you can do nothing. That is the great poverty. You feel helpless. But if you pick up a person dying of hunger, you give him food and it is finished.
Time: Why has your order grown so quickly?
Mother Teresa: When I ask young people why they want to join us, they say they want the life of prayer, the life of poverty and the life of service to the poorest of the poor. One very rich girl wrote to me and said for a very long time she had been longing to become a nun. When she met us, she said I won’t have to give up anything even if I give up everything. You see, that is the mentality of the young today. We have many vocations.
Time: There’s been some criticism of the very severe regimen under which you and your Sisters live.
Mother Teresa: We chose that. That is the difference between us and the poor. Because what will bring us closer to our poor people? How can we be truthful to them if we lead a different life? If we have everything possible that money can give, that the world can give, then what is our connection to the poor? What language will I speak to them? Now if the people tell me it is so hot, I can say you come and see my room.
Time: Just as hot?
Mother Teresa: Much hotter even, because there is a kitchen underneath. A man came and stayed here as a cook at the children’s home. He was rich before and became very poor. Lost everything. He came and said, “Mother Teresa, I cannot eat that food.” I said, “I am eating it every day.” He looked at me and said, “You eat it too? All right, I will eat it also.” And he left perfectly happy. Now if I could not tell him the truth, that man would have remained bitter. He would never have accepted his poverty. He would never have accepted to have that food when he was used to other kinds of food. That helped him to forgive, to forget.
Time: What’s the most joyful place that you have ever visited?
Mother Teresa: Kalighat. When the people die in peace, in the love of God, it is a wonderful thing. To see our poor people happy together with their families, these are beautiful things. The real poor know what is joy.
Time: There are people who would say that it’s an illusion to think of the poor as joyous, that they must be given housing, raised up.
Mother Teresa: The material is not the only thing that gives joy. There is something greater than that– the deep sense of peace in the heart. They are content. That is the great difference between rich and poor.
Time: But what about those people who are oppressed? Who are taken advantage of?
Mother Teresa: There will always be people like that. That is why we must come and share the joy of loving with them.
Time: Should the Church’s role be just to make the poor as joyous in Christ as they can be made?
Mother Teresa: You and I, we are the Church, no? We have to share with our people. Suffering today is because people are hoarding, not giving, not sharing. Jesus made it very clear. Whatever you do to the least of my brethren, you do it to me. Give a glass of water, you give it to me. Receive a little child, you receive me. Clear.
Time: If you speak to a political leader who could do more for his people, do you tell him that he must do better?
Mother Teresa: I don’t say it like that. I say share the joy of loving with your people. Because a politician maybe cannot do the feeding as I do. But he should be clear in his mind to give proper rules and proper regulations to help his people.
Time: It is my job to keep politicians honest, and your job to share joy with the poor.
Mother Teresa: Exactly. And it is to be for the good of the people and the glory of God. This will be really fruitful. Like a man says to me that you are spoiling the people by giving them fish to eat. You have to give them a rod to catch the fish. And I said my people cannot even stand, still less hold a rod. But I will give them the fish to eat, and when they are strong enough, I will hand them over to you. And you give them the rod to catch the fish. That is a beautiful combination, no?
Time: Feminist Catholic nuns sometimes say that you should pour your energy into getting the Vatican to ordain women.
Mother Teresa: That does not touch me.
Time: What do you think of the feminist movement among nuns in the West?
Mother Teresa: I think we should be more busy with our Lord than with all that, more busy with Jesus and proclaiming His Word. What a woman can give, no man can give. That is why God has created them separately. Nuns, women, any woman. Woman is created to be the heart of the family, the heart of love. If we miss that, we miss everything. They give that love in the family or they give it in service; that is what their creation is for.
Time: The world wants to know more about you.
Mother Teresa: No, no. Let them come to know the poor. I want them to love the poor. I want them to try to find the poor in their own families first, to bring peace and joy and love in the family first.
Time: Malcolm Muggeridge once said that if you had not become a Sister and not found Christ’s love, you would be a very hard woman. Do you think that is true?
Mother Teresa: I don’t know. I have no time to think about these things.
Time: People who work with you say that you are unstoppable. You always get what you want.
Mother Teresa: That’s right. All for Jesus.
Time: And if they have a problem with that?
Mother Teresa: For example, I went to a person recently who would not give me what I needed. I said God bless you, and I went on. He called me back and said what would you say if I give you that thing. I said I will give you a “God bless you” and a big smile. That is all. So he said then come, I will give it to you. We must live the simplicity of the Gospel.
Time: You once met Haile Mariam Mengistu, the much feared communist leader of Ethiopia and an avowed atheist. You asked him if he said his prayers. Why did you risk that?
Mother Teresa: He is one more child of God. When I went to China, one of the top officials asked me, “What is a communist to you?” I said, “A child of God.” Then the next morning the newspapers reported that Mother Teresa said communists are children of God. I was happy because after a long, long time the name God was printed in the papers in China. Beautiful.
Time: Have you ever been afraid?
Mother Teresa: No, I am only afraid of offending God. We are all human beings, that is our weakness, no? The devil would do anything to destroy us, to take us away from Jesus.
Time: Where do you see the devil at work?
Mother Teresa: Everywhere. When a person is longing to come closer to God, he puts temptation in the way to destroy the desire. Sin comes everywhere, in the best of places.
Time: What is your greatest fear?
Mother Teresa: I have Jesus, I have no fear.
Time: What is your greatest disappointment?
Mother Teresa: I do the will of God, no? In doing the will of God there is no disappointment.
Time: Do your work and spiritual life become easier with time?
Mother Teresa: Yes, the closer we come to Jesus, the more we become the work. Because you know to whom you are doing it, with whom you are doing it and for whom you are doing it. That is very clear. That is why we need a clean heart to see God.
Time: What are your plans for the future?
Mother Teresa: I just take one day at a time. Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not come. We have only today to love Jesus.
posted July 6thTOP 5 REGRETS OF THOSE AT THE END OF THEIR LIVES
As we eventually draw to the end of our lives here on Earth & we look back on the 60 or 80 or 90 years that God gave us, will we be able to look back on a life well-spent, or will we have regrets?
Ms. Bronnie Ware worked for years with the dying & wrote a list of the top 5 regrets people say aloud on their deathbeds. She posted the top 5 regrets along with her commentary on her website www.inspirationandchai.com , and we’ve recopied them for you here:
REGRETS OF THE DYING
For many years I worked in palliative care. My patients were those who had gone home to die. Some incredibly special times were shared. I was with them for the last three to twelve weeks of their lives.
People grow a lot when they are faced with their own mortality. I learnt never to underestimate someone’s capacity for growth. Some changes were phenomenal. Each experienced a variety of emotions, as expected, denial, fear, anger, remorse, more denial and eventually acceptance. Every single patient found their peace before they departed though, every one of them.
When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently, common themes surfaced again and again. Here are the most common five:
1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
This was the most common regret of all. When people realise that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honoured even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made.
It is very important to try and honour at least some of your dreams along the way. From the moment that you lose your health, it is too late. Health brings a freedom very few realise, until they no longer have it.
2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.
This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children’s youth and their partner’s companionship. Women also spoke of this regret. But as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.
By simplifying your lifestyle and making conscious choices along the way, it is possible to not need the income that you think you do. And by creating more space in your life, you become happier and more open to new opportunities, ones more suited to your new lifestyle.
3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result.
We cannot control the reactions of others. However, although people may initially react when you change the way you are by speaking honestly, in the end it raises the relationship to a whole new and healthier level. Either that or it releases the unhealthy relationship from your life. Either way, you win.
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
Often they would not truly realise the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying.
It is common for anyone in a busy lifestyle to let friendships slip. But when you are faced with your approaching death, the physical details of life fall away. People do want to get their financial affairs in order if possible. But it is not money or status that holds the true importance for them. They want to get things in order more for the benefit of those they love. Usually though, they are too ill and weary to ever manage this task. It is all comes down to love and relationships in the end. That is all that remains in the final weeks, love and relationships.
5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.
This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realise until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called ‘comfort’ of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content. When deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again.
When you are on your deathbed, what others think of you is a long way from your mind. How wonderful to be able to let go and smile again, long before you are dying.
Life is a choice. It is YOUR life. Choose consciously, choose wisely, choose honestly. Choose happiness.
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