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WITandWISDOM(tm) - July 24, 2003
He has achieved success who has lived well, laughed often, and loved much. -Bessie Anderson Stanley
Submitted by Robbi Mikkola
~~~~~~~ SPECIAL THOUGHTS:
I hadn't noticed her before. What's in a uniform, anyway? You've seen one, you've seen them all. But as I observed her in action, I began to understand that this prison officer was different.
And so on the following Saturday afternoon, as I made my way to the women's prison at the notorious Boggo Road, Brisbane, I made a decision to try to discover what made the difference. If it's true that our actions follow from some internal process, then I was curious to know the basis for hers.
True to form, it happened the moment I entered the counseling room with Susan. (not her real name)
"Is there anything else you need?" the officer asked. I turned to answer, assuming she was addressing me, but she was looking at Susan.
"Do you want the door closed?"
Resisting the temptation to think I was being left out, I watched the kindness pour out of this "angel." Authority was being sacrificed for the sake of human dignity and respect for others - and for a criminal at that.
Susan asked that the door be closed. I thanked the officer, and our 50-minute interview began.
Susan's exploits were the stuff of front-page headline news. The media had had a field day with her, especially after they'd learned she was a mother! The nation had condemned her. Susan's place was below the bottom rung of the social ladder. So after observing the attitude of this prison guard, I suspected she hadn't been reading the papers.
Susan and I talked for almost an hour, and after saying goodbye, I walked to the officers' duty room. I was on a mission. I had to know: Why the difference? Why the courtesy denied by others? Why the absence of the common gruffness portrayed by others wearing this uniform?
It wasn't until I approached her that I noticed that her uniform epaulettes carried small gold stars - the badge of senior rank. I was more intrigued than ever.
We sat in a corner of the room, and I began to tell her how impressed I was with the grace she'd shown toward someone who in the estimation of many was completely undeserving.
"My father taught me to see Christ in everyone," she answered.
Susan, and the other prisoners (I suspect), were being regarded from a viewpoint based on a belief system that touched people and made a difference in their lives. "Is there anything else you need?" In that thoughtful inquiry this compassionate woman demonstrated unconditional respect for a fellow human.
It was a joy to see her in action week by week. Did the grace - this rubber-on-the-road compassion - have anything to do with Susan's rehabilitation a few years later? Who can tell?
In a place where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.
By Steve Cinzio is a clinical counselor writing from Queensland, Australia
Source: Adventist Review, ISSN 0161-1119, (c) June 2003, http://www.adventistreview.org/
Submitted by Nancy Simpson
~~~~~~~ THIS & THAT:
Here is the modern version of the 3 bears:
It's a sunny morning in the Big Forest, and the Bear family is just waking up.
Baby Bear goes down stairs and sits in his small chair at the table and looks into his small bowl. It is empty, "Who's been eating my porridge?!!" he squeaks.
Papa Bear arrives at the big table and sits in his big chair. He looks into his big bowl, and it's also empty. "Who's been eating my porridge?" he roars.
Momma Bear puts her head through the serving hatch from the kitchen and yells, "Oh for goodness sake, how many times do we have to go through this? It was Momma Bear who got up first. It was Momma Bear who woke everyone in the house. It was Momma Bear who made the coffee. It was Momma Bear who threw in a load of clothes. It was Momma Bear who unloaded the dishwasher from last night, and put everything away. It was Momma Bear who went out in the cold morning to fetch the newspaper. It was Momma Bear who set the table. It was Momma Bear who put the cat out, cleaned the litter box, and filled the cat's water and food dish. And now that you've decided to drag your lazy bodies downstairs and grace Momma Bear's kitchen with your grumpy presence, listen good, cause I'm only going to say this one more time..."
"I Haven't Made the Porridge Yet!!!!"
Submitted by Bill Summerton
~~~~~~~ KEEP SMILING:
While taking an exam, my sociology students could overhear bits and pieces of a discussion from next door - unaware it was a class for foreign students trying to learn English. When the professor said, "This is your big toe; this is your little toe," one of my students spoke up: "Must be freshmen."
Contributed by Greg Hoover
Source: Reader's Digest, Copyright (c) April 2000, http://www.readersdigest.com/
Bluebirds are unique in one respect: they seem to get along with one another extremely well. They spread themselves out over an area so that they don't have to fight for the same grasshopper, but when something happens to the parent bird of a nest, the others in the neighborhood come to help feed the babies.
One brood of bluebird nestlings lost its father. Did the babies suffer? Not in the slightest. Two other females came to the aid of the widowed mother bluebird; one was an unmated female from the area, and the other was a female from an earlier brood of the season - an older sister of the babies in the nest.
In another instance, a pair of bluebirds had just finished raising one brood and had another brood of nestlings seven days old when the mother bird died. In this case, the father bird was joined in caring for the brood by two of the males from the earlier brood; these two older brothers were only eight weeks old and were willingly helping Dad take care of the babies. Those boys worked from dawn to dusk every day for nearly a month until their little brothers and sisters had left the nest and were on their own. There is no lack for love around a bluebird house.
Source: Glimpses of God's Love by James A. Tucker and Priscilla Tucker, Copyright (c) 1983 by Review and Herald Publishing Association, http://isbn.nu/0767904249
Submitted by Nancy Simpson