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Inspirational Page

The following posts were sent to Homespun
by the
Inspiration List.

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The Cab Ride

Twenty years ago, I drove a cab for a living. It was a cowboy's life, a life for someone who wanted no boss. What I didn't realize was that it was also a ministry. Because I drove the night shift, my cab became a moving confessional. Passengers climbed in, sat behind me in total anonymity, and told me about their lives. I encountered people whose lives amazed me, ennobled me, made me laugh and weep.

But none touched me more than a woman I picked up late one August night. I was responding to a call from a small brick fourplex in a quiet part of town.  I assumed I was being sent to pick up some partying people, or someone who had just had a fight with a lover, or a worker heading to an early shift at some factory for the industrial part of town.

When I arrived at 2:30 a.m., the building was dark except for a single light in a ground floor window. Under such circumstances, many drivers just honk once or twice, wait a minute, then drive away. But I had seen too many impoverished people who depended on taxis as their only means of transportation. Unless a situation smelled of danger, I always went to the door. This passenger might be someone who needs my assistance, I reasoned to myself. So I walked to the door and knocked.

"Just a minute," answered a frail, elderly voice. I could hear something being dragged across the floor. After a long pause, the door opened.  A small woman in her 80s stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like somebody out of a 1940's movie. By her side was a small nylon suitcase. The apartment looked as if no one had lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets. There were no clocks on the walls, no knickknacks or utensils on the counters. In the corner was a cardboard box filled with photos and glassware.

"Would you carry my bag out to the car?" she said.

I took the suitcase to the cab, then returned to assist the woman. She took my arm and we walked slowly toward the curb. She kept thanking me for my kindness.

"It's nothing,"  I told her. "I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother treated."

"Oh, you're such a good boy," she said. When we got in the cab, she gave me an address, then asked, "Can you drive through downtown?"

"It's not the shortest way," I answered quickly.

"Oh, I don't mind," she said. "I'm in no hurry. I'm on my way to a hospice."

  I looked in the rear view mirror. Her eyes were glistening. "I don't have any family left," she continued.  "The doctor says I don't have very long."

  I quietly reached over and shut off the meter. "What route would you like me to take?" I asked.

For the next two hours, we drove through the city. She showed me the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator. We drove through the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived when they were newlyweds. She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl. Sometimes she'd ask me to slow in front of a particular building or corner and would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing.

  As the first hint of sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said, "I'm tired. Let's go now." We drove in silence to the address she had given me. It was a low building, like a small convalescent home, with a driveway that passed under a portico. Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up. They were solicitous and intent, watching her every move. They must have been expecting her.

I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to the door. The woman was already seated in a wheelchair.

"How much do I owe you?" she asked, reaching into her purse.

  "Nothing," I said.

"You have to make a living," she answered.

"There are other passengers," I responded.

  Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug. She held onto me tightly.

  "You gave an old woman a little moment of joy," she said.

  "Thank you." I squeezed her hand, then walked into the dim morning light

  Behind me, a door shut. It was the sound of the closing of a life. I didn't pick up any more passengers that shift. I drove aimlessly, lost in thought. For the rest of that day, I could hardly talk.  What if that woman had gotten an angry driver, or one who was impatient to end his shift? What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away?

On a quick review, I don't think that I have done anything more important in my life. We're conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments. But  great moments often catch us unaware beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one.

".....And their eyes were opened and they recognized Jesus."
Luke 24:31

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Beautiful Flowers

I ran into a stranger as he passed by,
"Oh excuse me please" was my reply.
He said, "Please excuse me too;
I wasn't watching for you."
We were very polite, this stranger and I.
We went on our way and we said good-bye.

But at home a different story is told,
How we treat our loved ones, young and old.
Later that day, cooking the evening meal,
My son stood beside me very still.
When I turned, I nearly knocked him down.
"Move out of the way," I said with a frown.
He walked away, his little heart broken.
I didn't realize how harshly I'd spoken.

While I lay awake that night in my bed,
God's still small voice came to me and said,
"While dealing with a stranger, common courtesy you use,
but the children you love, you seem to abuse.

Go and look on the kitchen floor,
You'll find some flowers there by the door.
Those are the flowers he brought for you.
He picked them himself: pink, yellow and blue.
He stood very quietly not to spoil the surprise.
You never saw the tears that filled his little eyes."

By this time, I felt very small,
And now my tears began to fall.
I quietly went and knelt by his bed;
"Please wake up, little one," I said.
"Are these the flowers you picked for me?"
He smiled, "I found 'em out by the tree.
I picked 'em because they're pretty like you.
I knew you'd like 'em, especially the blue."
I said, "Son, I'm very sorry for the way I acted today;
I shouldn't have yelled at you that way."
He said, "Oh, Mom, that's okay. I love you anyway."
I said, "Son, I love you too,
and I do like the flowers, especially the blue."

Are you aware that if we died tomorrow, the company that we are working for could easily replace us in a matter of days. But the family we left behind will feel the loss for the rest of their lives. And come to think of it, we pour ourselves more into work than to our own family an unwise investment indeed, don't you think?

So what is behind the story?

Do you know what the word FAMILY means?

FAMILY=(F)ATHER (A)ND (M)OTHER, (I) (L)OVE (Y)OU!

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Things Wanted - Things Needed

Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly, and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they, too, have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others you may become vain and bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time. Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let not this blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love, for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass. Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings.

Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars, and you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore, be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be; and whatever your labors and aspirations in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be careful. Strive to be happy!

Written by a Monk

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The Ears

"Can I see my baby?" the happy new mother asked. When the bundle was nestled in her arms and she moved the fold of cloth to look upon his tiny face, she gasped. The doctor turned quickly and looked out the tall hospital window. The baby had been born without ears.

Time proved that the baby's hearing was perfect. It was only his appearance that was marred. When he rushed home from school one day and flung himself into his mother's arms, she sighed, knowing that his life was to be a succession of heartbreaks. He blurted out the tragedy. "A boy, a big boy...called me a freak."

He grew up, handsome for his misfortune. A favorite with his fellow students, he might have been class president, but for that. He developed a gift, a talent for literature and music. "You might mingle with other young people," his mother reproved him, but felt a tenderness in her heart.

The boy's father had a session with the family physician. Could nothing be done? "I believe I could graft on a pair of outer ears, if they could be procured" the doctor decided. Whereupon the search began for a person who would make such a sacrifice for a young man.

Two years went by.

Then, "You are going to the hospital, son. Mother and I have someone who will donate the ears you need. But it's a secret" said the father.

The operation was a brilliant success, and a new person emerged. His talents blossomed into genius, and school and college became a series of triumphs.

Later he married and entered the diplomatic service. "But I must know!" he urged his father. "Who gave so much for me? I could never do enough for him."

"I do not believe you could," said the father, "but the agreement was that you are not to know...not yet."

The years kept their profound secret, but the day did come... one of the darkest days that ever pass through a son. He stood with his father over his mother's casket. Slowly, tenderly, the father stretched forth a hand and raised the thick, reddish-brown hair to reveal... that the mother had no outer ears. "Mother said she was glad she never let her hair be cut," he whispered gently, "and nobody ever thought mother less beautiful, did they?"

Real beauty lies not in the physical appearance,
but in the heart.
Real treasure lies not in what can be seen,
but what cannot be seen.
Real love lies not in what is done and known,
but in what is done but not known.

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Does Prayer Change Things?

Does Prayer Change Things?
They say that prayer changes things, but does it REALLY change anything?
Oh yes! It really does!

Does prayer change your present situation or sudden circumstances?
No, not always, but it does change the way you look at those events.

Does prayer change your financial future?
No, not always, but it does change who you look to for meeting your daily needs.

Does prayer change shattered hearts or broken bodies?
No, not always, but it will change your source of strength and comfort.

Does prayer change your wants and desires?
No, not always, but it will change your wants into what God desires!

Does prayer change how you view the world?
No, not always, but it will change whose eyes you see the world through.

Does prayer change your regrets from the past?
No, not always, but it will change your hopes for the future!

Does prayer change the people around you?
No, not always, but it will change you~the problem isn't always in others.

Does prayer change your life in ways you can't explain?
Oh, yes, always! And it will change you from the inside out!

So does prayer REALLY change  ANYTHING?
Yes! It REALLY does change EVERYTHING!

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This page was last updated February 6, 2003.