The Room Filled

The Room Filled

The Room Filled

I ran home from school, stomped up the worn wooden steps, slammed open the front door and yelled,

“Mum! Mum, I’m home!”

“Michael, I’m right here!” Mum appeared around the corner. “Stop yelling. What if your father had been sleeping? You know he works nights.”

“Sorry, Mum,” I mumbled and hung my head in shame. “I didn’t mean to yell.”

“If you had woken him, you know how mad he would have been.”

“I just wanted to show you my spelling test.” I handed her my test. “I got a gold star.”

“You got another one?” She smiled. “Good for you! You always study so hard, but you have to remember not to yell when you come in the house.”

“I know, Mum, but I was excited and wanted to show you.” I lied. Dad drank a lot. If he had too much, he’d argue with Mum. I was afraid she’d leave. My two older brothers and I would be alone with him. What if I came home and she was gone? It was a fear I lived with most of my childhood. I needed to know she was there.

Years later, I moved away for my first job. Each evening, I’d open the door to a lonely, empty room. I didn’t call out for Mum. I knew she wasn’t there. I spent evenings alone. There were no computers, only books and television. It was a temporary situation.

Three months later, I was home again. Mum and I sat at the kitchen table, played cards, and talked. It was nice to have someone to share my day with – someone who loved me.

A year later, I sat in my car. The back seat and trunk were full of my belongings. My mattress was tied to my roof. Mum stood beside the car.

“Well, you’re off on your own again.”

“This is it.” I smiled up at her. “I can’t believe I have my own house.”

“You’ll do fine, Michael.” Her eyes glistened. Tears threatened to spill down her cheeks.

“Thanks for everything, Mum. Without your support, I wouldn’t be going where I’m going today.” I pulled away and wiped my own tears from my eyes. I’d miss coming home to her, but there was another woman I’d be coming home to soon.

A few hours later, Georgia and I sat in the living room of my new home. I knelt on one knee and asked her to marry me. For many years, I came home from work to my wife. We had two children – a boy and a girl. Georgia and I shared our days and love. My home – my life – was full. I was happy.

Disaster struck. My manager announced major layoffs. Fifteen years of seniority were not enough to save me. A new job took me to another city. Georgia and our kids stayed behind to sell the house. I opened the door to a rented room. There were no hugs, no children yelling “Daddy”, and no one to share my day with. I was alone.

A year later they joined me. I opened a door to love and family again. The pattern continued: a new job, a move, a lonely room, and a family that followed later.

I came home one night to another empty room. My daughter didn’t move with us this time. She was on her own. My son was home, but he didn’t greet me. He wanted to be alone to deal with his feelings. Georgia died the week before.

I faced an empty room. I never understood what empty was. There were many empty rooms I cried in, but not one compared to the room Georgia never filled again.

A year later, I opened the door, and there was Ginny. Her arms reached out and pulled me close. Her lips met mine. Her loved soothed me. Ginny and I have been apart for a month or more a few times. She’s had to help her children in other states. I’d enter an empty room when I came home from work and hear my footsteps echo off the walls – the sound of alone. I was sad she wasn’t there, but I knew she’d be back.

Ginny knows an empty room. Her husband, Harvey, passed on and left her in one too. We keep those rooms behind closed doors. They remain empty. Like a photo album, we only go there when we want to remember the past.

Ginny and I live in the present room – the room filled.

by Michael Smith

Meditation: All the rivers run into the sea, Yet the sea is not full; To the place from which the rivers come, There they return again.Ecclesiastes 1:7

You will succeed because Jesus loves You!

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Are You a Bucket-Filler or a Dipper?

Are You a Bucket-Filler or a Dipper?

Are You a Bucket-Filler or a Dipper?

You have heard of the cup that overflowed. This is a story of a bucket that is like the cup, only larger, it is an invisible bucket. Everyone has one. It determines how we feel about ourselves, about others, and how we get along with people. Have you ever experienced a series of very favorable things which made you want to be good to people for a week? At that time, your bucket was full.

A bucket can be filled by a lot of things that happen. When a person speaks to you, recognizing you as a human being, your bucket is filled a little. Even more, if he calls you by name, especially if it is the name you like to be called. If he compliments you on your dress or on a job well done, the level in your bucket goes up still higher. There must be a million ways to raise the level in another’s bucket. Writing a friendly letter, remembering something that is special to him, knowing the names of his children, expressing sympathy for his loss, giving him a hand when his work is heavy, taking time for conversation, or, perhaps more important, listening to him.

When one’s bucket is full of this emotional support, one can express warmth and friendliness to people. But, remember, this is a theory about a bucket and a dipper. Other people have dippers and they can get their dippers in your bucket. This, too, can be done in a million ways.

Let’s say I am at a dinner and inadvertently upset a glass of thick, sticky chocolate milk that spills over the table cloth, on a lady’s skirt, down onto the carpet. I am embarrassed. “Bright Eyes” across the table says, “You upset that glass of chocolate milk.” I made a mistake, I know I did, and then he told me about it! He got his dipper in my bucket! Think of the times a person makes a mistake, feels terrible about it, only to have someone tell him about the known mistake (“Red pencil” mentality!)

Buckets are filled and buckets are emptied? Emptied many times because people don’t really think about what they are doing. When a person’s bucket is emptied, he is very different than when it is full. You say to a person whose bucket is empty, “That is a pretty tie you have,” and he may reply in a very irritated, defensive manner.

Although there is a limit to such an analogy, there are people who seem to have holes in their buckets. When a person has a hole in his bucket, he irritates lots of people by trying to get his dipper in their buckets. This is when he really needs somebody to pour it in his bucket because he keeps losing.

The story of our lives is the interplay of the bucket and the dipper. Everyone has both. The unyielding secret of the bucket and the dipper is that when you fill another’s bucket it does not take anything out of your own bucket. The level in our own bucket gets higher when we fill another’s, and, on the other hand, when we dip into another’s bucket we do not fill up our own; we only lose a little.

For a variety of reasons, people hesitate filling the bucket of another and consequently do not experience the fun, joy, happiness, fulfillment, and satisfaction connected with making another person happy. Some reasons for this hesitancy are that people think it sounds “fakey,” or the other person will be suspicious of the motive, or it is “brown-nosing.”

Therefore, let us put aside our dipper and resolve to touch someone’s life in order to fill their bucket.

Author Unknown

Meditation: He who gives a right answer kisses the lips.Proverbs 24:26

You will succeed because Jesus loves You!

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How to Treat People

How to Treat People

How to Treat People

A wise old man was sitting at the river bank when he saw a cat that had fallen into the water, flailing around, trying to save itself from drowning.

The man decided to save the cat. He stretched his hand out but was scratched by the cat. He pulled his hand back in pain.

However, a minute later he stretched his hand out again to save the cat, but it scratched him again, and again he pulled his hand back in pain.

Another minute later he was yet again trying for the third time!!

A man, who was nearby watching what was happening, yelled out: “O wise man, you have not learned your lesson the first time, nor the second time, and now you are trying to save the cat a third time?”

The wise man paid no heed to that man’s scolding and kept on trying until he managed to save the cat.

He then walked over to the man and patted his shoulder saying: “My son, it is in the cat’s nature to scratch, and it is in my nature to love and have sympathy. Why do you want me to let the cat’s nature overcome mine?

My son: Treat people according to your nature, not according to theirs, no matter what they are like and no matter how numerous are their actions that harm you and cause you hurt sometimes.

And do not pay heed to all the voices that loudly call out to you to leave behind your good qualities merely because the other party is not deserving of your noble actions.

When you live to give happiness to others, God will send you those who will live to give happiness to you.

“Is the reward for good anything but good?”

Be beautiful in character and hearts will love you.

So never regret the moments you gave happiness to someone, even if that person did not deserve it.

And suffice in the fact that you have a Lord Who will reward you for good with good.

“The entire lesson is (about) good character, so whoever exceeds you in good character, has exceeded you in the reward.”

— Author Unknown

Meditation: But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, – Matthew 5:44

You will succeed because Jesus loves You!

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Appreciation

Appreciation

Appreciation

One young academically excellent person went to apply for a managerial position in a big company.

He passed all the interviews until he needed to see the director who would make the final decision.

The director discovered from the CV that the youth’s academic achievements were excellent all the way, from secondary school and postgraduate studies.

The director asked, “Did you obtain any scholarships in school?”

“None,” the youth answered.

The director asked, “Was it your father who paid for your school fees?”

The youth answered, “My father passed away when I was one year old, it was my mother who paid for my school fees.”

The director asked, “Where did your mother work?”

“My mother worked as clothes cleaner.”

The director requested the youth to show his hands. The youth showed a pair of hands that were smooth and perfect.

The director asked, “Have you ever helped your mother wash the clothes before?”

The youth answered, “Never, my mother always wanted me to study and read more books. Besides, my mother can wash clothes faster than me.”

The director said, “I have a request. When you get home today, go and clean your mother’s hands, and then see me tomorrow morning.”

The youth felt that his chance of landing the job was high. When he went back, he happily requested his mother to let him clean her hands. His mother felt strange, happy but with mixed feelings, she showed her hands to the kid.

The youth cleaned his mother’s hands slowly. His tear fell as he did that. It was the first time he noticed that his mother’s hands were so wrinkled and there were so many bruises on her hands. Some bruises were so painful that his mother winced when they were cleaned with water.

This was the first time the youth realized that it was this pair of hands that washed the clothes every day to enable him to pay the school fees. The bruises in the mother’s hands were the price that the mother had to pay for his graduation, academic excellence and his future. After finishing the cleaning of his mother hands, the youth quietly washed all the remaining clothes for his mother.

That night, mother and son talked for a very long time. The next morning, the youth went to the director’s office.

The Director noticed the tears in the youth’s eyes, asked: “Can you tell me what have you done and learned yesterday in your house?”

The youth answered, “I cleaned my mother’s hand, and also finished cleaning all the remaining clothes.”

The Director asked, “Please tell me your feelings.”

The youth said, “Firstly, I know now what is appreciation. Without my mother, there would not be a successful me today. Secondly, by working together and helping my mother, only I now realize how difficult and tough it is to get something done. Thirdly, I have come to appreciate the importance and value of a family relationship.”

The director said, “This is what I am looking for in someone who is to be my manager. I want to recruit a person who can appreciate the help of others, a person who knows the sufferings of others to get things done, and a person who would not put money as his only goal in life. You are hired.”

— Author Unknown

Meditation: Giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. – Ephesians 5:20

You will succeed because Jesus loves You!

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Insights on Living from an Ancient

Insights on Living from an Ancient

Insights on Living from An Ancient

Come in,” he said to me, “So, you would like to interview Me?”

“If you have the time,” I said.

He smiled through his beard and said: “What questions do you have in mind to ask me?”

“None that are new to you. What’s the one thing that surprises you most about mankind?”

He answered: “That they get bored of being children, are in a rush to grow up, and then long to be children again.

That they lose their health to make money and then lose their money to restore their health.

That by thinking anxiously about the future, they forget the present, such that they live neither for the present nor the future.

That they live as if they will never die, and they die as if they had never lived…”

His hands took mine and we were silent. After a long period, I said, “May I ask you another question?”

He replied with a smile.

“As a father, what would you ask your children to do for the New Year?”

“To learn they cannot make anyone love them. What they can do is to let themselves be loved.

To learn that it takes years to build trust, and a few seconds to destroy it.

To learn that what is most valuable is not what they have in their lives, but who they have in their lives.

To learn that it is not good to compare themselves to others. There will be others better or worse than they are.

To learn that a rich person is not one who has the most, but is one who needs the least.

To learn that they should control their attitudes, otherwise their attitudes will control them. To learn that it only takes a few seconds to open profound wounds in persons we love and that it takes many years to heal them. To learn to forgive by practising forgiveness.

To learn that there are persons that love them dearly, but simply do not know how to show their feelings.

To learn that money can buy everything but happiness.

To learn that while at times they may be entitled to be upset, that does not give them the right to upset those around them.

To learn that great dreams do not require great wings, but landing gear to achieve.

To learn that true friends are scarce, he/she who has found one has found a true treasure.

To learn that it is not always enough that they be forgiven by others, but that they forgive themselves.

To learn that they are masters of what they keep to themselves and slaves of what they say.

To learn that they shall reap what they plant; if they plant gossip they will harvest intrigues, if they plant love they will harvest happiness.

To learn that true happiness is not to achieve their goals but to learn to be satisfied with what they already achieved. To learn that happiness is a decision. They decide to be happy with what they are and have, or die from envy and jealousy of what they lack.

To learn that two people can look at the same thing and see something totally different.

To learn that those who are honest with themselves without considering the consequences go far in life.

To learn that even though they may think they have nothing to give when a friend cries with them, they find the strength to appease the pain.

To learn that by trying to hold on to love ones, they very quickly push them away; and by letting go of those they love, they will be side by side forever.

To learn that even though the word “love” has many different meanings, it loses value when it is overstated.

To learn that they can never do something extraordinary for Me to love them; I simply do.

To learn that the shortest distance they could be from Me is the distance of a prayer.”

— Author Unknown

Meditation: For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. – 1 Corinthians 1:21

You will succeed in Jesus Name!

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The Tramp

The Tramp

The Tramp

It was a cold winter’s day that Sunday. The parking lot to the church was filling up quickly. I noticed as I got out of my car that fellow church members were whispering among themselves as they walked to the church. As I got closer I saw a man leaned up against the wall outside the church. He was almost lying down as if he was asleep. He had on a long trench coat that was almost in shreds and a hat topped his head, pulled down so you could not see his face.

He wore shoes that looked 30 years old, too small for his feet with holes all over them, his toes stuck out. I assumed this tramp was homeless, and asleep, so I walked on by through the doors of the church. We all fellowshipped for a few minutes, and someone brought up the man lying outside. People snickered and gossiped but no one bothered to ask him to come in, including me.

A few moments later church began. We all waited for the Preacher to take his place and to give us the Word, when the doors to the church opened. In came the homeless man walking down the aisle with his head down. People gasped and whispered and made faces. He made his way down the aisle and up onto the pulpit he took off his hat and coat.

My heart sank.

There stood our preacher…he was the “homeless man.”

No one said a word.

The preacher took his Bible and laid it on the stand. “Folks, I don’t think I have to tell you what I am preaching about today.”

Then he started singing the words to this song. “If I can help somebody as I pass along. If I can cheer somebody with a word or song. If I can show somebody that he’s traveling wrong. Then my living shall not be in vain.”

“Is your living in vain?”

— Author Unknown

Meditation: Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world. – James 1:27

You will succeed in Jesus Name!

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