what I imagine myself to be at times in my wildest dreams: totally healthy? strong as an ox? able to do whatever I want? able to make as much money as I want? go where ever I want when I want?
What is it that you want in your wildest dreams?
Here’s a story based on a sermon by Father Ron Shirley http://www.fatherron.org
“There was once a stone cutter who was very happy with his life and work. He had a wonderful family whom he loved; he made a good living cutting and preparing stone for beautiful buildings…..
“Then one day he delivered a piece of stone to a merchant. The merchant owned many lavish possessions. The stone cutter began to feel he was missing out on something in his life. “I wish I were a merchant with such fine things,” the stone cutter thought to himself.
“Amazingly, the stone cutter’s wish came to be.
“Suddenly he was a merchant who wore fancy clothes and lived in a beautiful home. His shop was filled with ornate trinkets and fine goods. The onetime stone cutter thought that life couldn’t get any better – until he saw the prince passing through town.
“Then he began thinking that to be of noble birth would be much better than being a simple merchant. And so it came to be: He found himself dressed in royal garb, sitting atop a fine stallion, parading through the village. But under the hot sun and heavy clothing, he grew weary and cranky.
“The stone cutter-merchant-prince thought that if he were the sun, he could have a profound effect on the entire universe. So he became the sun. And it was wonderful – until a cloud blocked his rays from getting to the land.
“So he wished he could be a cloud to bring rain to water the earth.
“And so he became a cloud. He found himself looming over a desolate mountain valley. He showered the area day and night, creating lakes and rivers. In time, springs of life began to sprout up on the landscape. But the mountain itself remained immovable and unchanged. It was solid and more powerful than his cloud.
“So the cloud wanted, instead to be the mountain. And so he became the mountain.
“For a while the mountain was happy to be such a powerful presence – until a young stonecutter came along and began to chisel away at him.
And the mountain wished to be a stone cutter again.
Some of us never know that moment of realization experienced by the grateful leper:
“We never realize how much we have received from God. Instead, we whine about what we do not have; we are mired in disappointment because they have more than me. We become cynical, distrustful, isolated and self-absorbed.
As the Samaritan leper discovers, as the stone cutter eventually comes to understand, each one of us has been given much by God, and realizing those gifts, that spirit of gratitude, is the beginning of faith.
Rabbi Herald S. Kushner writing in his latest book, The Lord is My Shepherd: Healing Wisdom of the 23rd Psalm, reminds us that gratitude is a conscious and intentional perspective of looking at our lives and our world.
“Each night as I prepare for bed, I put drops in my eyes to fend off the threat of glaucoma that would rob me of my sight and take from me the pleasure of reading. Each morning at breakfast, I take a pill to control by blood pressure, and each evening at dinner I take another to lower my cholesterol level. But instead of lamenting the ailments that come with growing older, instead of wishing that I were as young and fit as I once was, I take my medicine with a prayer of thanks that modern science has found ways to help me cope with these ailments. I think of all my ancestors who didn’t live long enough to develop the complications of old age, and did not have pills to take when they did.”
Gratitude is a conscious and intentional perspective of looking at our lives and our world. Gratitude is the beginning of faith. Let us be a grateful people.
Jesus cured 10 lepers. One turned back to thank Jesus and God. The one who turned back was healed. There is a difference between “cure” and “healing”. Gratitude is part of healing.
adapted from a sermon by Father Ron Shirley http://www.fatherron.org
This following is based on an Evening Prayer service lead by Alliee DeArmond, Friday, September 16, 2016 at St. John the Baptist Episcopal Church in Aptos, CA. Alliee leads the Friday Evening Prayer services which start promptly at 5:30 pm and end around 6:00 pm. Come to 125 Canterbury, Aptos, CA.
As part of the service, Alliee discussed a book about the Freedom Writers and Erin Grunwell.
For information about Evening Prayer and other services: http://www.st-john-aptos.org/
As an idealistic twenty-three-year-old English teacher at Wilson High School in Long beach, California, Erin Gruwell confronted a room of “unteachable, at-risk” students.
One day Erin intercepted a note with an ugly racial caricature, and angrily declared that this was precisely the sort of thing that led to the Holocaust—only to be met by uncomprehending looks.
So Erin …. and her students, using the treasured books Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl and Zlata’s Diary: A Child’s Life in Sarajevos their guides, undertook a life-changing, eye-opening, spirit-raising odyssey against intolerance and misunderstanding.
Erin and her students … learned to see the parallels in these books to their own lives, recording their thoughts and feelings in diaries and dubbing themselves the “Freedom Writers” in homage to the civil rights activists “The Freedom Riders.”
With funds raised by a “Read-a-thon for Tolerance,” they arranged for Miep Gies, the courageous Dutch woman who sheltered the Frank family, to visit them in California, where she declared that Erin Gruwell’s students were “the real heroes.” Their efforts have paid off spectacularly, both in terms of recognition—appearances on “Prime Time Live” and “All Things Considered,” coverage in Peoplemagazine, a meeting with U.S. Secretary of Education Richard Riley—and educationally. All 150 Freedom Writers have graduated from high school and are now attending college.
With powerful entries from the students’ own diaries and a narrative text by Erin Gruwell, The Freedom Writers Diary is an uplifting, unforgettable example of how hard work, courage, and the spirit of determination changed the lives of a teacher and her students.
The authors’ proceeds from this book will be donated to The Tolerance Education Foundation, an organization set up to pay for the Freedom Writers’ college tuition. Erin Gruwell is now a visiting professor at California State University, Long Beach, where some of her students are Freedom Writers.