If you read the front page story of the SF Chronicle on Thursday, Dec 14, 2005, you would have read about a female humpback whale who had become entangled in a spider web of crab traps and lines. She was weighted down by hundreds of pounds of traps that caused her to struggle to stay afloat. She also had hundreds of yards of line rope wrapped around her body, her tail, her torso, and a line tugging in her mouth. A fisherman spotted her just east of the Farralone Islands (outside the Golden Gate) and radioed an environmental group for help. Within a few hours, the rescue team arrived and determined that she was so bad off, the only way to save her was to dive in and untangle her -- a very dangerous proposition. One slap of the tail could kill a rescuer. They worked for hours with curved knives and eventually freed her. When she was free, the divers say she swam in what seemed like joyous circles. She then came back to each and every diver, one at a time, and nudged them, pushed them gently around-she thanked them. Some said it was the most incredibly beautiful experience of their lives. The guy who cut the rope out of her mouth says her eye was following him the whole time, and he will never be the same. May you, and all those you love, be so blessed and fortunate to be surrounded by people who will help you get untangled from the things that are binding you. And, may you always know the joy of giving and receiving gratitude.
An engaged daughter requested the privilege of wearing her mother's wedding gown for her marriage ceremony. The mother obviously consented. When the new bride tried on the dress it fit her petite figure beautifully. She walked into the room looking like a dream. The mother began to cry as tears streamed down her face. The daughter, sensitive to her mother's predicament, put her arm around her and said, "Don't cry mom. You're not losing a daughter, you're gaining a son." With a sob, the mother cried, "Forget about that. I used to fit into that dress!" (Reader's Digest, August 1992, p. 71) IOWMARAPR94+
JEALOUSY Two shopkeepers were bitter rivals. Their stores were directly across the street from each other, and they would spend each day keeping track of each other's business. If one got a customer, he would smile in triumph at his rival. One night an angel appeared to one of the shopkeepers in a dream and said, "I will give you anything you ask, but whatever you receive, your competitor will receive twice as much. Would you be rich? You can be very rich, but he will be twice as wealthy. Do you wish to live a long and healthy life? You can, but his life will be longer and healthier. What is your desire?" The man frowned, thought for a moment, and then said, "Here is my request: Strike me blind in one eye!" One sign of jealousy is when it's easier to show sympathy and "weep with those who weep" than it is to exhibit joy and "rejoice with those who rejoice." -Thomas Lindberg. Stevens Point, Wisconsin. Leadership-Vol. 6, #4.+
When Dietrich Bonhoeffer was almost hearing the stomping of the Gestapo boots to take him away and execute him, he wondered on paper what kind of people the church was going to need most when the last bomb had exploded and the last person had been killed. He said this: "What the church will need, what our century will need, are not people of genius, not brilliant tacticians or strategists, but simple, straightforward, honest men and women." Bonhoeffer, we need you now. -- Lewis Smedes, "The Journey to Integrity," Preaching Today, Tape No. 61. See: Dt 16:20; Mt 10:16; 2 Ti 3:1-3.
SFMAY95 /Mothers/Time/Attention/Focus/Parenting: THE BETTER PART OF MOM A young mother was trying to get her work done as her daughter Tracy watched her. The mother had bread dough on her hands -- the daughter had time on her hands. Tracy was out of ideas to entertain herself and was now relying on her mother for entertainment. This young mother decided to take this opportunity to tell Tracy a Bible story. By doing so, she could continue to knead her bread dough. Her intention was to serve fresh, hot cinnamon bread for dinner. She chose the Bible story of Mary and Martha as found in Luke 10:38-42. "Mary and Martha and their brother, Lazarus, invited Jesus to their home for dinner," she began as she continued to make cinnamon bread. She looked down and clearly realized that what her daughter really wanted was attention. She wanted eye-to-eye contact. She wanted her mother to hold her. She stopped kneading; Tracy looked up at her. "The better part -- that's what you want of me, isn't it?" she asked. Tracy nodded.By Pauline Youd, Decision, March, 1992, pg. 39, submitted by Jay Martin, First Baptist Church, Manistique, Michigan -- adapted+