Life Lessons

The Thanksgiving meal is now but a hazy caloric memory, and there is nothing left between you and Christmas but a frenzy of holiday activity that may leave many of you joyless by the time the gifts are brought, presents are wrapped, cards are sent, homes are decorated and parties are attended. There is an answer to all this madness. It’s just the opposite of the Nike motto. "Just don’t do it." Our family has long ago decided that we all have enough stuff, so at Christmas each person gets to designate his or her favorite charity to which we make a donation. Amazingly, we all seem to feel better for this than we did receiving another neck tie or bottle of cologne. And while we put up a tree each year that we decorate with ornaments collected over many years, many hand made, and all bearing significant memories of those who are in our lives (and some sadly gone,) we don’t hang a million lights on our house and trees or place animated creatures on our lawn to rival Disneyland. We do gather around the table Christmas Eve, share in a festive meal, sing Christmas carols, and give thanks for all the blessing that have been bestowed upon us, as well as participate in the spirit of the holiday knowing we have bestowed some blessings on someone else. We are far from perfect, but have found that Christmas is a great deal more festive when we can appreciate it without being exhausted by it.
The following was sent by a friend some time ago, and it remains one of the best presents I have received. I now pass it on to you. Be well.
Five (5) lessons about the way we treat people.
1 – First Important Lesson – The Cleaning Lady.
During my second month of college, our professor gave us a pop quiz. I was a conscientious student and had breezed through the questions until I read the last one:
"What is the first name of the woman who cleans the school?" Surely this was some kind of joke. I had seen the cleaning woman several times. She was tall, dark-haired and in her 50’s, but how would I know her name?
I handed in my paper, leaving the last question blank. Just before class ended, one student asked if the last question would count toward our quiz grade.
"Absolutely," said the professor. "In your careers, you will meet many people. All are significant. They deserve your attention and care, even if all you do is smile and say "hello."
I’ve never forgotten that lesson. I also learned her name was Dorothy.
2. – Second Important Lesson – Pickup in the Rain.
One night, at 11:30 p.m., an older African American woman was standing on the side of an Alabama highway trying to endure a lashing rain storm. Her car had broken down and she desperately needed a ride. Soaking wet, she decided to flag down the next car. A young white man stopped to help her, generally unheard of in those conflict-filled 1960’s. The man took her to safety, helped her get assistance and put her into a taxicab.
She seemed to be in a big hurry, but wrote down his address and thanked him. Seven days went by and a knock came on the man’s door. To his surprise, a giant console color TV was delivered to his home. A special note was attached.
It read: "Thank you so much for assisting me on the highway the other night. The rain drenched not only my clothes, but also my spirits. Then you came along. Because of you, I was able to make it to my dying husband’s bedside just before he passed away… God bless you for helping me and unselfishly serving others."
Mrs. Nat King Cole.
3 – Third Important Lesson – Always remember those who serve.
In the days when an ice cream sundae cost much less, a 10-year-old boy entered a hotel coffee shop and sat at a table. A waitress put a glass of water in front of him.
"How much is an ice cream sundae?" he asked.
"Fifty cents," replied the waitress.
The little boy pulled his hand out of his pocket and studied the coins in it.
"Well, how much is a plain dish of ice cream?" he inquired.
By now more people were waiting for a table and the waitress was growing impatient.
"Thirty-five cents," she brusquely replied.
The little boy again counted his coins. "I’ll have the plain ice cream," he said.
The waitress brought the ice cream, put the bill on the table and walked away. The boy finished the ice cream, paid the cashier and left.  When the waitress came back, she began to cry as she wiped down the table. There, placed neatly beside the empty dish, were two nickels and five pennies.
You see, he couldn’t have the sundae, because he had to have enough left to leave her a tip.
4 – Fourth Important Lesson. – The obstacle in Our Path.
In ancient times, a King had a boulder placed on a roadway. Then he hid himself and watched to see if anyone would remove the huge rock. Some of the king’s wealthiest merchants and courtiers came by and simply walked around it. Many loudly blamed the King for not keeping the roads clear, but none did anything about getting the stone out of the way.
Then a peasant came along carrying a load of vegetables. Upon approaching the boulder, the peasant laid down his burden and tried to move the stone to the side of the road. After much pushing and straining, he finally succeeded. After the peasant picked up his load of vegetables, he noticed a purse lying in the road where the boulder had been. The purse contained many gold coins and a note from the King indicating that the gold was for the person who removed the boulder from the roadway. The peasant learned what many of us never understand!
Every obstacle presents an opportunity to improve our condition.
5 – Fifth Important Lesson – Giving When it Counts.
Many years ago, when I worked as a volunteer at a hospital, I got to know a little girl named Liz who was suffering from a rare & serious disease. Her only chance of recovery appeared to be a blood transfusion from her 5-year old brother, who had miraculously survived the same disease and had developed the antibodies needed to combat the illness. The doctor explained the situation to her little brother, and asked the little boy if he would be willing to give his blood to his sister.
I saw him hesitate for only a moment before taking a deep breath and saying, "Yes I’ll do it if it will save her." As the transfusion progressed, he lay in bed next to his sister and smiled, as we all did, seeing the color returning to her cheeks. Then his face grew pale and his smile faded.
Being young, the little boy had misunderstood the doctor; he thought he was going to have to give his sister all of his blood in order to save her.
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13 Responses to Life Lessons

  1. sweeti's says:

    Thumbs up Jorge for the Christmas gifts donations. Maybe good idea for everyone..and it feels so god after wards I knowas we have too much…and so many ppl need basic things.we celebrate Christmas in sri lanka Its been 5 years now after tsunami.doing lil projects and .as i know that everyone celebrate christmas But in a diff way. we will do it with our friends.we will see No christmas tree this yearyour life lessons are super…we can learn for sureBe well..and a big smileMJ

  2. Jana says:

    Dear Jorge,I like your Christmas and it has a lot of meanings to give a gift when it is needed not just when it is Christmas. I love Christmas to just get together as family and enjoy beeing together as on Thanksgiving. As you wrote on my space that you fully adopted Thanksgiving I must just fully agree with you. It is one of the best holidays in U.S. to be thankful that we have food, home and each other. A lot of happiness to you and your family.

  3. Sarah says:

    Great examples–we all can find ways to bring intention to what makes things better, here, there, and everywhere…in every hour.

  4. Marge says:

    It\’s been awhile, Jorge…I have been remiss in visiting a lot of friends and am working toward treating my friends much, much better than I have…You and your family have a sane, compassionate attitude concerning the holiday season and I respect you that much more for it. In Obi\’s and my case, we simply won\’t have money for buying a lot of gifties this year, so homemade will be the way to go for us because we enjoy the giving of them. Decorating for the holidays is one of the holiday preparations I enjoy most…the pretty colors of lights and evergreens is a muchly-needed boost to my spirits as days grow shorter and nights, longer. My spiritual bent is different from most of my peers, but I\’m at peace with it and my appreciation for Christmas remains undiminished.Again you offer wisdom and good humor; my day is a little brighter for having visited your Space.As always, you are a true gentleman and sage…*hugs*

  5. Neora Chana says:

    Your posts always end up taking up residence near my heart. This one is especially touching for some reason, but I\’m not going to try to analyze why but just enjoy it. I also like what you say about your Christmases. You take care, too, friend.

  6. PJ says:

    Good Evening Jorge,Just stopped by to say hello and to wish you a great week ahead!Until next time…Keep Smiling.Paula

  7. Lisa ♥ says:

    I really like the way you celebrate the Bith of Christ with your family.Your lifes lessons left me with so much thought.Glad I stopped in. Have a great week. Stay safe.Lisa

  8. Hope says:

    beautiful and very meaningful messages..I pray you and your family have a very very blessed and laughter filled Christmas.soft hugsHope

  9. Jaime says:

    Okay, lump in my throat. Those were so powerful.

  10. Stephen Craig says:

    Jorge, I wish you and yours a Very Merry Christmas. As ever be well, my friend, Stephen Craig Rowe

  11. Hope says:

    Jorge , Wishing you and your loved ones a wonderful can loved filled Christmas..soft hugs Hope

  12. redvelvet says:

    These words are wonderful with a message so many people need to hear. I hope you don\’t mind if I share it on my sapce and with my students.

  13. Rama says:

    Coming to your space after a long, long time. It was so good to come and read this. We all need to be more sensitive. It was indeed very refreshing, Thank you for sharing all this with us. Rama.

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