THERE’S A GREAT STORY told about the famous Polish pianist, Ignace Jan Paderewski. His concert in New York had been sold out for months. And, on the big night, the huge crowd turned out in their tuxedos and fancy gowns. A mother brought her nine-year-old son: he wasn’t enjoying his piano lessons, and she hoped that hearing a great pianist might motivate him to keep practicing.
You can dress a nine-year-old in a tuxedo, but he’s still nine. Restless and impatient, he kept asking to go to the bathroom – much to the irritation of those sitting nearby. Finally the exasperated mother grabbed her son by the shoulders, and sat him down hard in his seat. “Now stay there and don’t move!” But a few minutes later, while his mum was distracted by someone on the other side, the boy slipped out into the aisle. The mother turned to see her son walking onto the stage, where a huge Steinway was standing. Panicking, she called at him to come back. But, startled, the little guy ran to the piano, and began playing ‘Chopsticks’.
Some people in the audience were furious. “Get that kid off the stage!” “This is an outrage!” “What’s this boy doing here?” But, as the ushers rushed towards the young boy, Paderewski heard the commotion and looked out of his dressing room. Spotting the boy playing ‘Chopsticks’, he quickly grabbed his tuxedo jacket, walked to the edge of the stage, and then stepped into full view of the audience.
There was a collective hush. Everyone wondered what the great pianist would do. The boy, oblivious to what was happening, continued to play. Paderewski came up behind him, went down on his knees, and whispered in the little boy’s ear, “Don’t stop! Keep on playing! You’re doing great!” While the boy continued to play, the great pianist put his arms around the boy and began playing a concerto based on the tune of ‘Chopsticks’. While the two played, Paderewski kept saying to the boy, “Don’t stop! Keep playing!”
As you look at yourself and wonder what difference your bumbling, flawed life will make, I hope you can hear God’s whispering voice, “Don’t stop! Keep on playing! You’re doing great!”
(LATE) MIKE YACONELLI – ‘DANGEROUS WONDER’
(Which I usually realise right after I’ve said them …)
WHEN I’M 64?
It was the Beatles who sang, “Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I’m sixty four?”
Oh, the agony of being 64 (or any age, for that matter) and having no one to care for you or need you.
Every person is in dire need of at least one faithful friend or mate who will look them in the eye and say, “I will never leave you. You may grow old and grey, but I’ll never leave you. Your face may wrinkle and your body may ruin, but I’ll never leave you. The years may be cruel and the times may be hard, but I’ll be here. I will never leave you!”
MAX LUCADO – ‘ON THE ANVIL’
Basically, I think you need two things to get by in this world: a sense of humour, and the ability to laugh when your ego is destroyed.
I’m sitting, writing, in the buzzing, torpid, summer garden, hoping to discover a grown-up idea. And a cicada lands on my shoulder. He’s so small, with his scratchy legs, brittle in his dry carapace – a moment’s distraction, easily brushed aside.
But his presence brings a moment of boyish joy and wonder to my day. I find myself musing on the large and powerful One who made us both with the same enthusiasm and attention to detail. In God’s sight am I as small, as vulnerable, as this cicada seems to me?
I’m sure that when God notices me he wishes me well, with an indulgent smile, just like the one I’m giving this little critter.
MARK LAURENT – WWW.MARKLAURENT.CO.NZ
FOR OTHERS …
Go and do some anonymous things for lonely people.
Give a few bucks to every poor person you see.
Return phone calls.
Get out of yourself and become a person for others,
while simultaneously practicing radical self-care.
Have a bite to eat, maybe.
Check in with the sky twice.
Buy some cute socks.
Take a nap.”
ANNE LAMOTT – ‘ALMOST EVERYTHING: NOTES ON HOPE’
but they’ll always remember the
way you make them FEEL!
Beautiful YOUNG people
accidents of nature.
Beautiful OLD people
works of art.
THE WORST THING THAT CAN HAPPEN
“I put the Force into the movie in order to try to awaken a certain kind of spirituality in young people – more a belief in God than a belief in any particular religious system. I wanted to make it so that young people would begin to ask questions about the mystery.
“Not having enough interest in the mysteries of life to ask the question, ‘Is there a God or is there not a God?’ – that, for me, is the worst thing that can happen.
“I think you should have an opinion about that. Or you should be saying, ‘I’m looking, and I’m going to continue to look until I can find an answer. And if I can’t find an answer, then I’ll die trying.’
“I think it’s important to have a belief system and to have faith.”
GEORGE LUCAS – ‘STAR WARS’
I’m willing to make the mistakes
IF SOMEONE ELSE
is willing to learn from them!
START WITH ME!
If I really want to improve my situation, I can work on the one thing over which I have control – MYSELF!
I can stop trying to shape up my wife, and work on my own weaknesses. I can focus on being a great marriage partner, a source of unconditional love and support.
Hopefully, my wife will feel the power of proactive example and respond in kind. But, whether she does or doesn’t, the most positive way I can influence my situation is to work on myself.
(LATE) STEPHEN COVEY