Lessons From Life
Paid in Full
One day, a poor boy who was selling goods door to door to pay his way through school, found his pockets empty - and he was hungry.

He decided he would ask for a meal at the next house. However, he lost his nerve when a lovely young girl opened the door. Instead of a meal he asked for a drink of water. She thought he looked hungry so she brought him a large glass of milk. He drank it slowly, and then asked, "How much do I owe you?"

''You don't owe me anything," she replied. "Mother has taught us never to accept payment for a kindness."

He said . . . "Then I thank you from my heart."

As Howard Kelly left that house, he not only felt stronger physically, but his faith was renewed. He had been ready to give up and quit.

Year's later that young woman became critically ill. The local doctors were baffled. They finally sent her to the big city, where they called in specialists to study her rare disease.

Dr. Howard Kelly was called in for the consultation. When he heard the name of the town she came from, a strange light filled his eyes.

Immediately he rose and went down the hall of the hospital to her room. Dressed in his doctor's gown he went in to see her. He recognized her at once. Then he went back to the consultation room determined to do his best to save her life. From that day on he gave special attention to the case.

After a long struggle, the battle was won.

Dr. Kelly requested the business office to pass the final bill to him for approval. He looked at it, then wrote something on it and the bill was sent to her room.

She feared to open it, for she was sure it would take the rest of her life to pay for it all. Finally she looked, and something caught her attention on the side of the bill. She read these words.....

"Paid in full with one glass of milk" - Dr. Howard Kelly

In Lifting We Are Lifted
Sadhu Sundar Singh and a companion were traveling through a pass high in the Himalayan Mountains when they came across a body lying in the snow. They checked for vital signs and discovered the man still alive, but barely so. Sundar Singh prepared to stop and help this unfortunate traveler, but his companion objected, saying, "We shall lose our lives if we burden ourselves with him." Sundar Singh, however, could not think of leaving the man to die in the snow without an attempted rescue on his part. His companion quickly bade him farewell and walked on.

Sundar Singh lifted the poor traveler onto his back. With great exertion on his part, made even greater by the high altitude and snowy conditions, he carried the man onward. As he walked, the heat cast off by his body began to warm the frozen man. He revived and soon, both were walking together side by side, each holding the other up, and in turn, each giving body heat to the other. Before long they came upon yet another traveler's body lying in the snow. Upon closer inspection, they discovered him to be dead, frozen by the cold.

He was Sundar Sing's original traveling companion.

Don't forget, by reaching out to help others you usually forget your own problems.

Heaven on Earth
Perhaps you have heard about the man who dreamed that he went to hell. There he was surprised to see a long table laden with beautiful fruit, nuts and a wide variety of delicious foods. It was a feast fit for a king, yet the people in hell were starving and in terrible misery because they all had arms that would not bend at the elbow and, as such, they could not feed themselves.

Then, in his dream, the man was transported to heaven, where he saw the same scene - an abundance of food was spread on a long table. Here too the people had arms that would not bend at the elbow. Yet here everyone was happy and well-fed. The difference was that each person was feeding another.

Mother's Love
"Can I see my baby?" the happy 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 windows. The baby had been born without ears. Time proved that the baby's hearing was perfect and that 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 at school 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 his handicap. He even developed a talent for literature and music.

One day 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.

Where upon 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 we cannot disclose the identity of the donor," said the father.

The operation was a brilliant success, and a new person emerged. The boy's 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 to 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 passed 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.

Our Right To Dream
"It must be borne in mind that the tragedy of life doesn't lie in not reaching your goal. The tragedy lies in having no goal to reach. It is not a calamity to die with dreams unfulfilled, but it is a calamity not to dream. It is not a disaster to be unable to capture your ideal, but it is a disaster to have no ideal to capture. It is not a disgrace not to reach the stars, but it is a disgrace to have no stars to reach for. Not failure, but low aim, is a sin"

Benjamin Mays, former president of Morehouse College, FRI Monthly Portfolio, May 1989, Vol. 28 No 5.

The Golden Rule
A wealthy father decided to take his son into the country with the firm purpose of showing his son how poor people can be. They spent a couple of days and nights on the farm of what would be considered a very poor family. On their return from their trip, the father asked his son, "How was the trip?"

"It was great, Dad."

"Did you see how poor people can be?" the father asked.

"Oh yeah" said the son.

"So what did you you learn from the trip?" asked the father.

The son answered, "I saw that we have one dog and they had four. We have a pool that reaches to the middle of our garden and they have a creek that has no end. We have imported lanterns in our garden and they have the stars at night. Our patio reaches to the front yard and they have the whole horizon. We have a small piece of land to live on and they have fields that go beyond our sight. We have servants who serve us, but they serve others.

We buy our food, but they grow theirs. We have walls around our property to protect us, they have friends to protect them."

The father was speechless.

Then his son added, "Thanks dad for showing me how poor we are."

Too many times we forget what we have and concentrate on what we don't have. What is one person's worthless object is another's prize possession. It is all based on one's perspective. It makes you wonder what would happen if we all gave thanks to God for all the bounty we have been provided by Him, instead of worrying about wanting more. Take joy in all He has given each of us, especially our friends.

Guerilla Kindness
A woman in a red car stops at a tollbooth at California's San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. "I'm paying for myself and the six cars behind me," she says with a smile.

One after another, the next six drivers arrive at the booth, money in hand. "Some lady up ahead already paid your fare," says the collector. "Have a nice day."

The woman, it turned out, had read a note taped to a friend's refrigerator: Practice random kindness and senseless acts of beauty. The words leapt out at her, and she wrote them down.

Judy Foreman spotted the same phrase on a warehouse wall 120 kilometers from her home in San Francisco. When she couldn't get it out of her mind, she finally drove all the way back to copy it exactly. "I thought it was incredibly beautiful," she said, explaining why she writes it at the bottom of all her letters. "It's like a message from above."

Her husband, Frank, a teacher, enjoyed the saying so much he stuck it on the wall for his standard five class, one of whom was my daughter. A local columnist, I put it in the paper, admitting I liked it but didn't know its source or real meaning.

Two days later I heard from Anne Herbert, 40, a writer in California. She had jotted the phrase down on a restaurant place mat after mulling it over for days. "Here's the idea," she says. "If you think there should be more of something, do it - randomly. Kindness can build on itself as much as violence can."

Now the message is spreading, on bumper stickers, walls and business cards. And as it spreads, so does a vision of guerilla goodness.

A passer-by may plunk a coin into a stranger's parking meter just in time. A group of people with buckets and mops may descend on a run-down house and clean it from top to bottom while the elderly owners look on, amazed.

Senseless acts of beauty spread. A man plants daffodils along a roadway. A concerned citizen roams the streets collecting litter in a supermarket trolley. A student scrubs graffiti from a park bench. It's a positive anarchy, a gentle disorder, a sweet disturbance.

They say you can't smile without cheering yourself up. Likewise, you can't commit a random act of kindness or beauty without feeling as if your own troubles have been lightened - because the world has become a slightly better place.

And you can't be a recipient without feeling a pleasant jolt. If you were one of those commuters whose bridge fare was paid, who knows what you might have been inspired to do for someone else? Like all revolutions, guerrilla goodness begins slowly, with a single act. Let it be yours.

Never Find Fault
Never find fault with the man who limps as he struggles along the road,
Until you have worn the shoes that he wears,
and staggered beneath his load.
He may have some nails in his shoes that hurt,
hidden away from your view,
And the burden he wears upon his back,
might cause you to stumble too.

Thanks to Mrs C Russel

Cold Within
Six humans were trapped by happenstance in black and bitter cold,
Each one possessed a stick of wood,
or so the tale is told.
Their dying fire was in need of logs;
the first man held his back,
Because, on the faces around the fire,
he noticed one was black.

The next man, looking across the way,
saw one not of his church,
And couldn't bring himself to give the fire
his single stick of birch.

The third man sat in tattered clothes,
he gave his coat a hitch;
Why should his log be put to use
to warm the idle rich?

The rich man sat back and thought
of the wealth he had in store,
And how to keep what he had earned
from the lazy shiftless poor.

The black man's face bespoke revenge
as the fire passed from sight.
For all he could see in his stick of wood
was a chance to spite the white;

And the last man in this forlorn group
did naught except for gain,
Giving only to those who gave to him
was the way he played the game.

Their logs held tight in death's stiff hands
was proof of human sin;
They didn't die from the cold without
they died from the cold within.

Author Unknown