Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A story of outreach gone astray.

It’s a good story, to me.

A customer just shared this story about our “outreach.”

The woman customer, several years ago, was in the hospital in another State at the birth of their daughter. On a day or so after the birth the mother was in the bathroom and the new mother’s mother talked to her through the door and said, “Honey, stay in the bathroom. The Episcopalians are coming.”

A few minutes later the new mother’s mother opened the door and told her she could go back to bed. The young mother asked, “What was going on? Why did you want me to stay in the bathroom when the Episcopalians came to visit?”

The mother then explained. The Episcopalians that had taken on the job of visiting the sick were old, dour, negative women, wearing black dresses. Their visit included a very gloomy mood. It was not at all what young mothers in the hospital wanted to experience.

Our customer stated that it was an example of Christian outreach that had gone astray.

Don’t we just do it to ourselves sometimes?!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

One of our saintly customers

I received the following message from a customer this morning to whom we had sent five pendant crosses (on chains).

I volunteer at a home for abused and emotionally disturbed children. Four of the children are going to foster homes the first of next week, and I wanted to give them something special. These crosses are perfect.

Once again I am reminded that we have the best customers in the world.
Humbly, John

Thursday, November 3, 2011

How watching football reminds me how to handle my life.

I've been impressed recently by professional athletes and their response to errors and mistakes. I've watched a few football games this season on TV. The Seattle Seahawks have won two games and lost five. They haven't scored a touchdown in the past two games. I watch the quarterback, whichever one they try for a game. He makes big errors. And, I watch his face after the error. He looks upset for a few seconds, then he gathers the team gives them the next play, and continues on with a positive outlook. Had I made such an error as the last play I would kick myself and be discouraged at my mistake, and with thousands of people watching me, I would want to leave the field, leave the locker room and escape from it all. I see in football quarterbacks, and others, an attitude that they have learned. It goes something like this, "That mistake that I just made is behind me. There is nothing that I can do about it. I have a team counting on me to get it right this next time. I'm putting out of my mind my errors and expect the best with this next play." I marvel that they can do that, repeatedly. It is a learned response. I try to do that in my life too. I don't want to forget my failures because that will allow me to make them again, but I try to not dwell on them. One image that I use is that a mistake that I have made, an error in judgment, a bad decision, or a harm that another has done to me.  I put it in a package, like a cardboard box, then I mentally place it on the ground, next to the path that I'm walking on. I walk on. I remember where that package with the loss, failure, or whatever, is located, but I do not carry it on my back with the other baggage of my life going forward.

I don't mourn the loss of some organs that have been removed from my body to keep me alive in years gone by. I also don't forget what I did, the stress that I had put on myself, prior to the time that those surgeries occurred. I don't worry about how long or how short my remaining life may be. I simply try each day to do the best that I can, to help others, to stay healthy, to enjoy the gifts of life each day. Watching the football quarterbacks of a team with a losing record reminds me and encourages me to stay positive, look ahead, take care of my health, find happy moments and relish them, a enjoy whatever each day brings.