The Praying Hands

 

Back in the fifteenth century, in a tiny village near Nuremberg, lived a family with eighteen children. Eighteen! In order merely to keep food on the table for this mob, the father and head of the household, a goldsmith by profession, worked almost eighteen hours a day at his trade and any other paying chore he could find in the neighborhood.
Despite their seemingly hopeless condition, two of Albrecht Durer the Elder’s children had a dream. They both wanted to pursue their talent for art, but they knew full well that their father would never be financially able to send either of them to Nuremberg to study at the Academy.

Continue reading “The Praying Hands”

THE PARADOX OF OUR TIME

 

1. *We live in times where we see many humans, but not enough humanity;*

 

2. *We live in times where the rich has more rooms than children and the poor has more children than rooms.*

 

3. *We live in times where Smart Phones bring you closer to those who are far, but distance you from those who are close;*

 

4. *We live in times where we open Facebook, more than the Holy Book;*

 

5. *We live in times where a single mother can look after 10 children, but 10 children can’t look after a single mother;*

 

6. *We live in times where the rich walk miles to digest food, while the poor walk miles to obtain food;*

 

7. *We live in times where our contact lists are huge, but our relationships are poor;*

 

8. *We live in times where our possessions are more, but our contentment is less;*

 

9 *We live in times where we know how to earn a good living, but somehow forget how to live a good life;*

 

 

 

10 *We live in times where many know the price of everything, but the value of nothing;*

 

Indeed, we live in a strange world.

 

The Beauty and Mystery of Love from a wise Elder

It hurts to love someone and not be loved in return but what is more painful is to love someone and never find the courage to let that person know how you feel.

Maybe God wants us to meet a few wrong people before meeting the right one so that when we finally meet the right person we will know how to be grateful for the gift.
Love is when you take away the feeling of the romance in the relationship but you still care for that person.
A sad thing in life is when you meet someone who means a lot to you only to find out in the end that it was never meant to be and you just have to let go.

 

When the door of happiness closes another opens, but often times we look so long at the closed door that we don’t see the one which has been opened for us.

 

The best kind of friend is the kind you can just be with, never say a word and then walk away feeling like it was the best conversation you’ve ever had.

 

It is true that we don’t know what we’ve got until we lose it but it is also true that we don’t know what we have been missing until it arrives.
Giving someone all your love is never an assurance that they love you back. Don’t expect love in return, just wait for it to grow in their heart but, if it doesn’t, be content it grew in yours.
There are things you’d love to hear that you would never hear from the person whom you would like to hear them from but don’t be so deaf as not to hear it from the one who says it from their heart.

Never say good bye if you still want to try. Never give up if you still feel you can go on. Never say you don’t love a person anymore if you can’t let go.
Love comes to those who still hope, although they have been disappointed. To those who still believe, although they have been betrayed.

To those who still need to love, although they have been hurt before and to those that have the courage and faith to build trust again.
It takes only a minute to get a crush on someone, an hour to like someone and a day to love someone, but it takes a lifetime to forget someone.

 

Don’t go for looks, they can deceive. Don’t go for wealth, even that fades away. Go for someone who makes you smile because it takes only a smile to make a dark day seem bright.

 

 

 

 

 

Thief rewarded. Victim punished. WHY???


In the 1930’s, a rather unusual court case came to pass…

A woman was being charged with stealing a loaf of bread. She seemed to have good cause. She was poor and taking care of her daughter and two grandchildren after their father had abandoned them.


Unfortunately, the shop-keeper refused to
drop charges. He felt that because it was a bad neighborhood, if one person stole and got away with it, then it would encourage more to do so. He feared for his safety and his business, and he wanted to teach all the other people in the neighborhood a lesson.

And he certainly did do that, though not in the way he had envisnioned…


See, the Mayor of New York, Fiorello LaGuardia, was known for occasionally stepping in as a magistrate of the court. He would preside over certain cases of special interest. He was well-loved by many and known for being a firm yet fair mayor.

In this instance, Mayor LaGuardia stepped to the front of the courtroom, placed his famous hat down, and prepared his ruling:

“The shop-keeper is correct that you have broken the law and that you must be punished. You will spend 10 days in jail or pay a fine of ten dollars.”


Back then, $10 was a hefty sum of money. The woman knew she was going to jail, and the shop-keeper was quite happy with this outcome.


But nobody could have imagined what would happen next…

Something interesting was brewing inside Mayor LaGuardia’s head.


And as he spoke the woman’s sentence out loud, he slowly pulled from his pocket a $10 bill. He placed it into his famous hat and stated that her fine was now paid.


The look of shock on the shop-keepers face was priceless!


How could the mayor betray his people like that? The businesses who paid the taxes of the city and helped keep it running? Meanwhile a poor, law-breaking, thieving woman was being let off scott-free without any punishment whatsoever?


Nobody understood that, until Mayor LaGuardia issued his second sentence for the afternoon:


“In addition to the $10 fine this woman has now paid, I fine everybody else in this courtroom fifty cents.”


The room gasped in shock as he continued…

“For living in a town where a grandmother must steal bread just so that her daughter and grandchildren would not starve to death.


Bailiff, please collect the fines right now…”


“And give them to the defendent.”



It’s a great story though. It teaches us some valuable lessons about compassion, our interconnectedness , and taking responsibility for the entirety of human lives.

Atiku and Buhari and The Space In The Middle


In the hearts of every young man and woman reading this, who mean well for our country; in the hearts of men and women devoid of sentiments: tribes, religion and selfish gains — We not only have a clear idea of the Nigeria of our dream, but more importantly the leaders that will make that dream a reality.



We know in all sincerity that Buhari does not only represent the impossibility of that dream coming to pass but the possibility that with him we may not even be alive in the first place to even dream. He is like the thief at the left hand. To some, he is not just the thief, he is the “Bad” thief.

Still in the spirit of being sincere to ourselves. That people shout #Atikulated all over social media does not mean that they trust Atiku hundred percent to be that leader that will make those dreams come true. One of the reasons for all the #Atikulation is primarily because of the presence of the ‘Bad thief’. Most #Atikulators are simply operating on the principle that: the person who will be able to catch the bad thief, must at least be a thief. Atiku is the thief, he stands at the right hand. To some, he is not just the thief, he is the “good” thief. He is considered so because there is nothing more urgent now than unseating the “bad” thief to a peaceful rest in Daura, and Atiku seems to have the potentials to do so.

The choice before us for 2019 is standing at the right, while the other is at the left. This is where our greatest problem lies: almost in all our elections, we are always “blessed” with the one at the left and the one at the right to choose from, but often NO ONE AT THE MIDDLE. This type of blessing needs to be rejected.


To all the presidential candidates from other up-and-coming parties, this MESSAGE is from our hearts.


To Kingsley Moghalu – who is 55 years old, Fela Durotoye – who is 46 years old, Donald Duke – who is 56 years, Omoyele Sowore — who is 47 years old, Oby Ezekwesili – 55 years old etc there is always a space missing anytime we are ready to vote. The space is wider this time. That space keeps begging to be filled. THE SPACE IS AT THE MIDDLE .

This is the time to do something. Desperate times need desperate people. The president of our dreams will never win any election in this present Nigeria as long as they do not do something beyond the usual of simply creating a party, declare themselves as presidential candidates and start writing beautiful ideas via social media.

Don’t pretend that you are not seeing what is happening in PDP and APC and the fact that no one even remembers that your parties are even existing. Okay sorry, I just lied… At least your family members will remember. Unfortunately, this is not family members election.

The truth is that Nigerians love you and see something great in each of you, but now is the time to show us that you truly qualify as leaders that can see the signs of the time and find an immediate solution to it.

Now, what stops you all from calling yourselves for a serious meeting? Merge your parties as one. Synthesis your ideas into one. Create something unique, something we have never seen before. Make Nigeria feel that you all are a team, working for a common goal. Choose among yourselves who will be president, vice, Senate, party Chiarman etc. Since your aim of going for the post is primarily to put Nigeria where it belongs, it should not matter in your team who is the president, minister etc. Make your salaries equal since it is not about money you want to be president, unless you are thieves In disguise.

Imagine a situation in which voting for Kingsley Moghalu is also voting for Donald Duke and Fela Durotoye and Ezekwezili together. . . Awesome isn’t it?

If by now, you all still think that individually you have a chance of winning the election, then I am sorry to say that you are not only unfit to even be compound caretakers in a house in Ilaje Lagos, but Buhari even in his ‘lifelessness’ is far better than all of you put together.


If you all cannot read this simple sign that concerns your own career and think of something to do about it, how can we even entrust our lives to you when we know we have BokoHaram on one hand, Fulani terrorists herdsmen on another? How will you be able to read the signs as presidents and take proactive steps to defend us?

Did you notice the overwhelming support Atiku started gaining for simply picking Peter Obi as vice president? The reason is because, Obi has something that represent the type of leadership we look for, that same thing that you all have and even more. Left for many, Peter Obi is better qualified to be the president than Atiku.

I know you all tried this meeting once but it did not work out, but that was then when things were not clear like now. Try again! If you cannot unite together when your common goal is to give Nigerians a better leadership, then how can you unite all Nigerians that do not even have same goals. Show us an example to convince us that you are the one “in the middle of the two thieves”.

Even if you don’t make it in this coming election, watch how you would have succeeded in buying every one over to yourselves for next election, and even put those who were elected on their toes since they know there is a coordinated team of leaders loved by Nigerians. With this, indirectly, you have even started solving the Nigeria problem.
Make no mistake about this, Nigerians will not stick their heads for you even in 2023 unless you give them enough reason today. Until you do this, let the “good thief” wins.

Now that I have finished preaching, can someone help me Atikulate it to them???


Written by Ugwu Kelvin


Image by Uche Asogwa

Do you have the Heart of a Mouse?

A mouse was in constant distress because of its fear of the cat. A magician took pity on it and turned it into a cat. But then it became afraid of the dog.

So the magician turned it into a dog. Then it began to fear the panther, so the magician turned it into a panther. Whereupon it was full of fear for the hunter.

At this point, the magician gave up. He turned it into a mouse again saying, “Nothing I do for you is going to be of any help because you have the heart of a mouse.”

What it means to be “poor”


One day, the father of a very wealthy family took his son on a trip to the country with the express purpose of showing him how poor people live. They spent a couple of days and nights on the farm of what would be considered a very poor family.


On their return from their trip, the father asked his son, “How was the trip?”


It was great, Dad.”


“Did you see how poor people live?” the father asked.


“Oh yeah,” said the son.


“So, tell me, what did you learn from the trip?”, asked the father


The son answered:


“I saw that we have one dog and they had four.


We have a pool that reaches to the middle of our garden and they have a creek that has no end.


We have imported lanterns in our garden and they have the stars at night.


Our patio reaches to the front yard and they have the whole horizon.


We have a small piece of land to live on and they have fields that go beyond our sight.


We have servants who serve us, but they serve others.


We buy our food, but they grow theirs.


We have walls around our property to protect us, they have friends to protect them.”


The boy’s father was speechless. Then his son added…


“Thanks Dad for showing me how poor we are.”



“How you see the world. How you deal with it. That determines your real wealth.”

– God (from the ‘Joan of Arcadia’ TV series)



INSIGHTS


One aspect about this story is that it holds two messages simultaneously: One is that we can feel abundant no matter what we have, and two, that we all deserve abundance however we define that to be.


HAPPINESS IS FACTORY FITTED

Some of the most profound lessons I had learnt in life came from my interactions with children and the probing questions they asked. That was the case on this Sunday. I was approached after Mass by a little girl. What i recall about her was that she was smart, bold, confident and precocious. She said to me, ‘Please Fr. I need you to do me a favour. I need you to pray for my parents to become as rich as our neighbour, so that my daddy too can be happy. I love daddy but he is not always happy’. Need I say I was shocked? Just as I was about to engage her in a

more elaborate discussion, a couple approached and excused her. They said they needed to say hello to Fr. What began as simple greeting snowballed into a conversation. Before I turned, my little girl was gone. I felt bad. Let me digress a bit.



My reason for feeling bad wasn’t far fetched. A study was carried out on some children, the results showed that children up until the age of 4 are operating at the genius level. The same group of children were studied in their early 20’s and only 10% were still operating at the genius and brilliance level. Finally, in their late 20’s and early 30’s only 2% were still operating at the genius and brilliance level. The fundamental question now is, where did the brilliance and genius go?
It got buried in the society that snobs children. The society that constantly tells children that you can’t do this, you can’t do that. Consequently, by the time the child is 17 years of age they would have heard ‘NO’ 150,000 times and ‘YES’ only 5,000 times.

Now, this is the biggest issue. Psychologically, the more the child continues to hear what they can’t do, who they can’t become, there is a neurological path that is created in the brain of such a child that causes the child or the individual to shut down.

Now you see what happens to the genius and brilliance in the later lives of many a child? Jesus was indeed a child psychologist, that was why he cautioned his disciples who chased children away from him. ‘Suffer not the little ones to come to me’ (Mtt 19:14).



Now back to the issue the little girl brought. Would becoming rich make her dad happy? Well, let’s see how it goes. Look at it this way.


Haven’t you wondered why your classmate who finished top of the class isn’t necessarily the happiest today? Haven’t you wondered why your colleague with the choicest and juiciest position isn’t the happiest in the ministry? Haven’t you also wondered why your girlfriend who married the most eligible and charming bachelor isn’t the happiest wife today? The question then is, how do people derive happiness?


Some years ago Fela Kuti sang a song thus; ‘Human rights na my property, so you can’t dash me my property’. In the same vein, happiness is an intrinsic part of our human nature. It came fitted from the creator’s factory. Thus, no created one or thing can give you happiness. Everyone was born and wired with the capacity to be happy. Our default setting by our creator is to be happy people, but how we emerge happy or not from life’s experiences is a function of mindset. Little wonder scripture says, ‘for those who believe, everything works for good’ (Rm 8:28).




Finally, researcher and psychologist Carol Dweck found that there are generally two types of mindset that impact the way a person responds to challenges: Fixed mindset and growth mindset. A person with fixed mindset believes that when they don’t succeed at something such as missed job opportunity, they assume there is nothing they can do and the road stops there. They become unhappy.

On the other hand, a person with growth mindset sees the set back as learning experience, providing them with the feedback they need to evolve. Thus, they perform better and are happier. What type of mindset do you have right now? The important thing is that anyone can develop growth mindset with practice.

It is not too late to press the reset button and go back to your default setting because happiness is factory fitted. The choice is yours to make.



BE HAPPY.



By Isaac Shemang


Image Courtesy: quirkybyte.com


The Prince and the Dark Horse

There was once a young prince who, having reached the age of majority, left home to live on a grand estate given to him by his father. He was told that if he ever needed help he was to put a light in the uppermost tower window, and his father would send a special horse and carriage to carry him to safety.


However, his father also warned him that an evil wizard, an enemy of the kingdom, lived not too far from his new home. The prince was told to be wary when setting his signal, for this wizard would also see this light and might himself send his own horse and carriage to carry the prince off to who knows what kind of danger.


Of course, this frightened the young ruler-to-be. After all, how would he be able to tell the difference? His father assured him there was a foolproof measure. Each time, before entering the rescue carriage, he was to closely examine the horse pulling it. A light-colored horse would always take him to safety, but a dark horse would always take him to danger.


As one might imagine, many of the ordeals that come with the ruling life befell the prince, each one causing him to put a light in the window. And for many months, because he was in such a rush to escape his castle when he felt in danger, he failed to heed his father’s warning; time and time again he neglected to examine the horse that came to get him. As a result he often found himself on one painful wild ride after another where, too late, he realized his inattentiveness was causing him as much distress as the condition he was trying to escape.


Eventually, he found the presence of mind-before he would get into the carriage that had come for him-to see if the horse pulling it had been sent by the evil wizard or by his father.


by Guy Finley

Reflection Questions

When you feel scared or distressed, who or what is your ‘dark horse’?

What usually happens to you (internally or externally) when you go with that ‘dark horse’?

Imagine that every time you instead choose to go with the ‘white horse.’ How might your life look and feel differently?

Every Drop Matters

Recently, when I was going to bed after using my bathroom, I started hearing sound of drops of water from the tap in slow successions, but since it was dropping into an empty bucket, I decided to let it be.

But, alas! When I woke up the next morning, around 5am, the bucket was almost full! I was surprised that just drops even in such slow successions could produce that much. I couldn’t help it, ‘Just drops?!’ I questioned rhetorically.


But the following night, I made sure that the tap in my bathroom was locked completely and I checked the bucket and saw that it was empty, though wet. Then I went to sleep.


I guess you already know what I saw the next morning. The bucket was not wet as I had left it, but it was now dry!


Then I realized the importance of a drop and how much difference it can make in all ramifications of one’s life compared to a dry tap.


Imagine letting the drops be for a year, I would be scooping with drums at the end of the year!


So, how about that drop of savings?


How about that drop of kindness and love everyday?


How about a drop of reading useful books today and every day?


How about that drop of a verse of the scripture today and every day?


How about that drop of prayer today and every day?


How about a drop of worship today and every day?


How about a drop of step towards your God-given dream today and every day?


How about a drop of giving into your heavenly account?


What virtue and discipline will you start today in little drops?


Never neglect the importance of a drop, for when the harvest time comes, you would have made a big difference.


*……Ponder on these thoughts*