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A CUSHIONED WORLD
A little girl once fell down on the sidewalk and skinned her knee. She said to her mother, "Wouldn't it be good if the whole world were cushioned?"
DON'T BORROW A JACK!
Crunch, crunch, crunch! What a time to have a flat tire! Out on a lonely country road at 3:00 a.m., George fumbled with his jack while his family huddled in the car to keep warm. Try as he would, the jack refused to lift the car even an inch. "I'll have to go for help," he told his anxious family.
As he walked along, he could see the silhouette of a farmyard against the backdrop of the starry skies. "I'll have to awaken the farmer and ask if I can borrow his jack," he said to himself. "What a time to get a man out of bed!"
"I hope he isn't too angry," he thought. But after all, it was an emergency. He wouldn't awaken a family in the middle of the night if it wasn't absolutely necessary.
"If he is upset, I'll tell him that my family is in the car, and I just had to do something."
He'll probably, say, "Do you realize that we have to get up at 5:00 a.m. to milk our cows, and that we need our sleep? You've awakened my whole family by pounding on the door. Why didn't you make sure your jack was working before you set out on the trip?"
"I just assumed that the jack was working because I've never had trouble with it before," was the answer that George decided he would give to that question. "I'm sorry that I awakened your family, but do you realize that my family is out in the cold?"
As he walked along in the dark he imagined the anticipated conversation, the objections the farmer would likely give to the interruption of his night's rest, and the answers that he would give. George got more and more upset with the unreasonable attitude of the farmer. "Don't people care about anyone but themselves anymore?" he thought. Each step closer to the farmyard increased his nervousness.
At last he arrived at the farmhouse and knocked at the door.
An upstairs window opened as the farmer poked his head out of the window and asked, "Who is it?"
"If that's the way you feel about it, keep your old jack," George shouted as he walked away.
The lesson in this story which I read many years ago has been helpful to me on many occasions. How often I have developed a case by just letting my imagination run wild. At times like this, as 1 stop to think, I recognize that 1 am borrowing trouble and I have to repeat to myself the words, "Don't borrow a jack."
WORDS SOFTLY SPOKEN
An elderly couple purchased a home and moved into it. As they were arranging their furniture, they had their first visitor. He was the man living next door and he had fire in his eyes. He had come to talk to them about a tree next to the driveway of their newlyacquired home. He wanted that tree out of there.
The recent arrivals regarded the angry neighbor in silence for a few moments. Then the husband said, "Sir, this tree is on our property, but I can see it irritates you. My wife and I would like to keep it, but you are our neighbor and your friendship is worth more than the tree. After we have gotten settled and have rested a little, you and I will take axes and shovels and remove it."
Those conciliatory words softly spoken took all the wind out of the sails of the irate neighbor. He gulped and said, "I don't want to be nasty about it. The tree may not be so bad, really. Anyway, let's wait and see." This once-angry man turned out to be a splendid neighbor, and the tree was never mentioned again.
"A soft answer turneth away wrath; but grievous words stir up anger." (Proverbs 15: 1)
BILLY GOATS USE THEIR HEADS
Martin Luther is attributed to having told the story of two goats who met on a narrow suspension bridge crossing a deep abyss. There was no room to pass or to turn around, and billy goats don't have a reverse gear. To fight would mean certain death for both of them if they fell from the high bridge. What did they do? They decided to compromise. One lay down and let the other walk over him. One had to submit himself to being stepped on, but both of them lived through the experience.
TEAR UP THE LETTER
An officer had failed to comprehend an order. "I believe I'll sit down," said Secretary Stanton, "and give that man a piece of my mind."
"Do so," said Abraham Lincoln, "write him now while you have it on your mind. Make it sharp. Cut him all up."
Stanton did not need a second invitation. It was a bone-crusher that he read to the President.
"That's right," said Lincoln. "Why, that's a good one."
"Whom can I send it by?" mused Stanton.
"Send it?" asked Lincoln.
"Why, don't send it at all. Tear it up. You have freed your mind on the subject and that is all that is necessary. Tear it up. You never want to send such letters; I never do."
"KEEP IT IN YOUR CHEST!"
When Senator Clinton P. Anderson was a young man, he discovered how important one's mental attitude really is. He was only 21, and a few weeks previously things had been going well. He was on his way in the newspaper business and was planning to be married. Then it was discovered that he had tuberculosis. At this low point in his life, he felt that he had nothing to look forward to but death. The doctor had wired Clinton's father to come within five days if he wished to see his son alive.
During his first night in a sanitorium, a boy in the next room cried for his mother, then died at daybreak. In his anguish, Clinton looked at the bottle of poisonous rubbing alcohol on the bedside table and vaguely considered drinking it to end his misery.
Then he realized that someone was standing beside his bed. It was Joe Maas, an old "lunger." Clinton never forgot the words that this man spoke to him. They helped him through many other crises that he faced during his life.
"Remember this, son," Joe said in the husky whisper of the advanced tuberculosis patient. "What you got will never kill you if you keep it in your chest. But if you let it get up here," and he tapped his temple significantly, "it's fatal. Worrying kills more than TB."
The old man's words inspired Clinton with courage. He made up his mind to keep thoughts of illness out of his head. This sickness would give him opportunity to begin writing. He did this and gradually recovered. Later he married the girl he had written to every day for four years. Eventually he became United States Senator for New Mexico.
Then one day he had an examination by a heart specialist in Washington, D.C., who said, "Resign from the Senate, pack up, and go home. You've got a bad heart."
Senator Anderson said, "Added to the fact that I am diabetic, kept alive by daily shots of insulin, this made me panicky for Zwe a moment. Then Joe Maas's words came to my rescue."
Senator Anderson was in the United States Senate until his retirement in 1972, thanks to Joe Maas and his counsel about mental attitudes.
CHOOSING THE COLOR
I read of a young man who, one summer, sold books from house to house. He was lame and walked with great difficulty. At one house where he stopped, the lady rudely turned him down. When he started away she saw his lameness and called him back. "I didn't know you were lame," she said. "I will buy a book." He wasn't selling sympathy, he was selling books, and he let her know it. She said, "Doesn't being lame color your life?"
He made a wonderful reply: "Yes, but thank God I can choose the color.
When life is not all we want, some choose the color of blue, which stands for a depressed, despondent spirit. Some choose the color of yellow. They run away from life in a cowardly fashion. But others choose red, which stands for courage. "Yes, thank God, I can choose the color.
Notwithstanding his long career of snatching killers out of the clutches of the law, Samuel Liebowitz is not an admirer of the class. He considers them unlovable natures and born ingrates. Demonstrating this, he notes that not a single one of the 78 men whom he has saved from the chair ever thanked him or even sent him a Christmas card.
One day a young man standing on the shores of Lake Michigan saw a group of people clinging to a boat that had capsized. He risked his life, going into the icy waters and bringing them back to shore, one by one. As a result of the long exposure, he was an invalid the rest of his life. He had planned to go into the ministry but had to give up his career.
Some time later at a meeting in Eastern Canada, a minister told the story. Someone said, "That young man is here in the audience. " The minister asked him to stand.
"Could you tell this congregation about what impressed you most concerning the entire incident?" the minister asked him.
His answer was, "Not one of the people for whom I risked my life thanked me for what I did. Not one ever sent me a letter or even a Christmas card. I have never heard from any of them."