Thursday, October 26, 2017

What Do You Have in Your Hand?

Sometimes it's hard to focus on what to do when life throws you a curve - or life is just plain hard but I think of it like this: "What do you have in your hand?"

In the midst of life's challenges it is easy to forget what you have - I always remember something from a movie I so many years ago where the person in the movie had lost his legs and he replied to a little boy looking at him when he asked him what he was looking at and then he told him "You need to be doing something what you have instead of worrying about what you ain't got..."

We spent too much time thinking "I ain't got" but we all have something.  You have a talent in your hands just waiting for you to use it.  And you're thinking, well, I don't have any money, how can I use it?

I come from a sales background where we were taught "to work the three foot circle".  That simply means that you work the circle closest to you - your family, friends, etc and then branch out from there.  All you need is five friends to tell five more friends about what you have.

Start where you are.  There's a saying I love which is "Do not despise small beginnings."  When you're building a future and a dream, it starts with a very small seed - the dream - and then it is built from that point forward.

If you are the maker of a product instead of focusing on a huge inventory that you can't possibly do because you don't have the money, make 10 or 20 of them and sell them - multiply out from there.  Take advance orders and then fill it.

What you have in your hand is about more than money or a product; it's about the simple things in life - a small act of kindness, giving away a pair of shoes that gather dust in your closet or those same unused clothes that gather dust, too.  It's about picking up the phone and calling a lonely person to encourage them - or taking that same lonely person out to lunch.

It's what you have in your hand. The Bible often talks about "the widow's mite"...That was precious because she gave all she had.  You give all you have if you give when you have little even if it is a word of encouragement, an act of love or as I stated earlier, that old pair of shoes. That pair of shoes might not mean much to you but it means everything to the person who has no money to buy shoes.

What you have in your hand can change your life and the life of someone else.  When you live with an open hand, anything is possible.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

The River and One Bottle of Milk

I once heard two fascinating stories, whether fable or truth, I do not know, but both are stories that never leave me, even all these years later.

We all know that life is fragile and often in my world I talk to people who never know what their purpose is or how to handle life storms when they find themselves inside a particular situation so perhaps these stories will linger with you as they did with me.  I never knew the author - they were just stories passed along the way.

The River

A young man was standing by a river, at the top of it, when he saw an old man take his clothes off and plunge headlong into the river and its rushing currents.  The young man, at once was certain that the old man would surely die so he raced down the hill alongside the river banks with unfailing certainty in his heart that he would find the old man dead at the bottom of the river.  The young man was determined to pull the old man from the river and give him a proper burial.

When the young man arrived at the bottom of the river, imagine his surprise when the old man emerged from the water unharmed.  The young man said, "You jumped into the river currents and surely you should have died, the river is so harsh.  Why didn't you die?"

The old man responded, "If you swim against the river currents, you will allow the river to overtake you and you will surely die.  If you swim with the currents and allow it to take you where you need to go instead of fighting against it, then you will live and go where you are supposed to be and reach your destination."  Then he bowed his head and said, "As in river, so in life."

What are you fighting against in the river of your life?  Are you swimming against the currents fiercely hoping to get where you need to go or are you swimming with the river and allowing it to take you on the journey that is totally yours - and lead you into the place of your purpose and your destiny?  Are you listening to what the river is trying to tell you?

Sometimes a bottle of milk is so much more than it seems.  A lifetime ago, a woman always took time for a young man who knocked on her door selling magazine subscriptions, door-to-door, trying to make a living. She would buy a subscription but every time he knocked on the door, she invited him inside and gave the young man a bottle of milk, insisting that he drink it before he went on his way.

Many years later, that woman, now old, without insurance, became deathly ill, with no means or money with which to pay her bill.  A doctor came in to oversee her care and assured her she should not worry about her hospital bill.  She mended and when it was time to leave the hospital she inquired about what to do regarding her bill.  The woman in charge of accounts said, "I was told to give you this."  She handed the old woman a piece of paper and when she unfolded it, there was her hospital bill and written across it in big bold words, it said, "Paid in full with one bottle of milk."

What we do for others will often come back to us in unexpected ways - when our focus is not so much about self as it is about caring for those around us and meeting their needs in whatever ways we can.  A woman cared enough about a young boy to encourage him and set him on his way with a simple bottle of milk.  Who would've ever thought that the same young man would one day be the doctor to treat her and cancel her bill?

As has often been said, "Pass it on, pay it forward."  Keep your eye on the currents and swim with them, not against them and let the river take you to where you really need to be. And always remember that there is more to a bottle of milk than the contents within it.