Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Happily Incompatible

A number of years ago I watched Billy Graham being interviewed by Oprah Winfrey on television. Oprah told him that in her childhood home, she use to watch him preach on a little black and white TV while sitting on a linoleum floor.

She went on to the tell viewers that in his lifetime Billy has preached to twenty-million people around the world, not to mention the countless numbers who have heard him whenever his crusades are broadcast. When she asked if he got nervous before facing a crowd, Billy replied humbly,

"No, don't get nervous before crowds, but I did today before I was going to meet with you."

Oprah's show is broadcast to twenty-million people every day. She is comfortable with famous stars and celebrities but seemed in awe of Dr. Billy Graham.

When the interview ended, she told the audience, "You don't often see this on my show, but we're going to pray." Then she asked Billy to close in prayer. The camera panned the studio audience as they bowed their heads and closed their eyes just like in one of his crusades.

Then Oprah sang the first line from the song that is his hallmark "Just as I am, without a plea," and though singing off'-key her voice was full of emotion and almost cracked.

When Billy stood up after the show, instead of hugging her guest, Oprah's usual custom, she went over and just nestled against him. Billy wrapped his arm around her and pulled her under his shoulder. She stood in his fatherly embrace with a look of sheer contentment.

I once read the book "Nestle, Don't Wrestle" by Corrie Ten Boom. The power of nestling was evident on the TV screen that day Billy Graham was not the least bit condemning, distant, or hesitant to embrace a public personality who may not fit the evangelistic mold. His grace and courage are sometimes stunning.

In an interview with Hugh Downs, on the 20/20 program, the subject turned to homosexuality. Hugh looked directly at Billy and said,

"If you had a homosexual child, would you love him?"

Billy didn't miss a beat. He replied with sincerity and gentleness, "Why, I would love that one even more."

The title of Billy's autobiography, "Just As I Am," says it all. His life goes before him speaking as eloquently as that charming southern drawl for which he is known.

If, when I am eighty years old, my autobiography were to be titled "Just As I Am," I wonder how I would live now? Do I have the courage to be me? I'll never be a Billy Graham, the elegant man who draws people to the Lord through a simple one-point message, but I hope to be a person who is real and compassionate and who might draw people to nestle within God's embrace.

Do you make it a point to speak to a visitor or person who shows up alone at church, buy a hamburger for a homeless man, call your mother on Sunday afternoons, pick daisies with a little girl, or take a fatherless boy to a baseball game?

Did anyone ever tell you how beautiful you look when you're looking for what's beautiful in someone else?

Billy complimented Oprah when asked what he was most thankful for; he said,

"Salvation given to us in Jesus Christ" then added, and the way you have made people all over this country aware of the power of being grateful."

When asked his secret of love, being married fifty-four years to the same person, he said,

"Ruth and I are happily incompatible."

How unexpected. We would all live more comfortably with everybody around us if we would find the strength in being grateful and happily incompatible.

Let's take the things that set us apart, that make us different, that cause us to disagree, and make them an occasion to compliment each other and be thankful for each other. Let us be big enough to be smaller than our neighbor, spouse, friends, and strangers.

Every day, may we Nestle, not Wrestle!

~ Author Unknown ~

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Kindness Within

During Nelson Mandela’s 19 years imprisoned on Robben Island, one particular commanding officer was the most brutal of them all:

“A few days before Badenhorst’s departure, I was called to the main office. General Steyn was visiting the island and wanted to know if we had any complaints. Badenhorst was there as I went through a list of demands. When I had finished, Badenhorst spoke to me directly.

He told me he would be leaving the island and added: ‘I just want to wish you people good luck’. I do not know if I looked dumbfounded, but I was amazed. He spoke these words like a human being and showed a side of himself we had never seen before. I thanked him for his good wishes and wished him luck in his endeavours.

I thought about this moment for a long time afterwards. Badenhorst had perhaps been the most callous and barbaric commanding officer we had had on Robben Island. But that day in the office, he had revealed that that there was another side to his nature, a side that had been obscured but still existed.

It was a useful reminder that all men, even the most seemingly cold-blooded, have a core of decency and that, if their hearts are touched, they are capable of changing. Ultimately, Badenhorst was not evil; his inhumanity had been foisted upon him by an inhuman system. He behaved like a brute because he was rewarded for brutish behaviour.”

(Source: Nelson Mandela, “Long Walk To Fredom”)

Thursday, September 15, 2011


The waves dance light-footedly
To the tempo of the splashing sound, hush.
Clear sky hovers above
Adorned in shades of blue, silver and grey.
Boats swaying sleepily
Uncaring, yet a part of nature.
Everyone is at an unhurried pace.

The waves working up to a frenzy
Their mouths foaming with raucous roar.
And boats wobbling to a Mexican wave.
The darkened sky menacingly threatening
Moody like a wet blanket.
The flashy siren could be heard in the distant sky.

The first drop of rain
Brings relief to the downtrodden beach.
Panicking picnickers rustle by.
The scavenging boats scampering towards shore
As if to pacify the sulky sea.
The heavy battering of the rain
Signalling it is time to wave goodbye.
I roll up my sitting mat
Pledging to watch the setting sun
At another time.

Written by koonoon

*Thanks to koonoon for sharing his beautiful poem with us.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

You Never Know Until...

I never thought of myself as one who has any great talent, but like each of us, I have certain skills and abilities. Let me tell you a story passed down through jazz circles. It's a story about a man who had real talent.

This particular man played piano in a bar. He was a good piano player. People came out just to hear him and his trio play. But one night a patron wanted them to sing a particular song. The trio declined, but the customer was persistent.

He told them bartender, "I'm tired of only listening to the piano. I want that guy to sing!"

The bartender shouted across the room to the piano player, "Hey buddy! The patrons are asking you to sing! If you want to get paid, sing the song."

So he did. He sang the song. A jazz piano player who had not sung in public, sang a song that changed his career. Nobody had ever heard Sweet Lorraine sung the way it was sung that night by Nat King Cole!

He had talent he was sitting on! He may have lived the rest of his life playing in a jazz trio in clubs and bars, but because he was forced to sing, he went on to become one of the best-known entertainers in America.

You, too, have skills and abilities. You may not feel as if your "talent" is particularly great, but it may be better than you think! And with persistence, most skills can be improved. Besides, you may as well have no ability at all if you sit on whatever talent you possess!

Some people ask, "What ability do I have that is useful?"

Others ask, "How will I use the ability that I have?"

~ The author is Steve Goodier and the story is from his book "Joy Along the Way" which you can buy from Amazon.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Old Man and his Son

An old man was sitting with his 25 years old son in the train. The train was about to leave the station. All the passengers were settling down in their seats. As the train started to move, the young man was filled with a lot of joy and curiosity. He was sitting on the window side. He put one hand out the window and felt the passing air. He shouted, "Papa, see all the trees are going d behind."

The old man smiled and admired his son's feelings. Beside the young man, a couple was sitting and listening to conversation between the father and son. They were a little awkward with the attitude of the 25-yer-old man behaving like a small child. Suddenly the young man shouted, "Papa, see the pond and animals. The clouds are moving with the train.".

The couple was watching the young man with embarrassment. Now it started raining and some raindrops fell on the young man's hand. He was filled with joy and he closed his eyes. He shouted again, "Papa, it's raining and the water is touching me, see Papa."

The couple couldn't help themselves and asked the old man, "Why don't you visit the doctor and get treatment for your son."

The old man said, "Yes, we are coming from the hospital, as only today my son got his eyesight for the first time in his life."

Moral of story:
"Don't draw conclusions until you know all the facts."

-Author Unknown-

Thanks to Meg who sent me this story.