Food for Thought · Life in General

The Old, Rusty Bucket

THE OLD DENTED, RUSTY BUCKET
FAITH IS NOT ABOUT EVERYTHING TURNING OUT OK; IT’S ABOUT BEING OK NO MATTER HOW THINGS TURN OUT.

OUR HOUSE WAS DIRECTLY ACROSS THE STREET FROM THE CLINIC ENTRANCE OF JOHNS HOPKINS HOSPITAL IN BALTIMORE. WE LIVED DOWNSTAIRS AND RENTED THE UPSTAIRS ROOMS TO OUT-PATIENTS AT THE CLINIC.
ONE SUMMER EVENING AS I WAS FIXING SUPPER, THERE WAS A KNOCK AT THE DOOR. I OPENED IT TO SEE A TRULY AWFUL LOOKING MAN. “WHY, HE’S HARDLY TALLER THAN MY 8-YEAR-OLD,” I THOUGHT AS I STARED AT THE STOOPED, SHRIVELED BODY. BUT THE APPALLING THING WAS HIS FACE, LOPSIDED FROM SWELLING, RED AND RAW.
YET HIS VOICE WAS PLEASANT AS HE SAID, “GOOD EVENING. I’VE COME TO SEE IF YOU’VE A ROOM FOR JUST ONE NIGHT. I CAME FOR A TREATMENT THIS MORNING FROM THE EASTERN SHORE, AND THERE’S NO BUS ‘TIL MORNING.”
HE TOLD ME HE’D BEEN HUNTING FOR A ROOM SINCE NOON BUT WITH NO SUCCESS, NO ONE SEEMED TO HAVE A ROOM. “I GUESS IT’S MY FACE …. I KNOW IT LOOKS TERRIBLE, BUT MY DOCTOR SAYS WITH A FEW MORE TREATMENTS…”
FOR A MOMENT I HESITATED, BUT HIS NEXT WORDS CONVINCED ME: “I COULD SLEEP IN THIS ROCKING CHAIR ON THE PORCH. MY BUS LEAVES EARLY IN THE MORNING.”
I TOLD HIM WE WOULD FIND HIM A BED, BUT TO REST ON THE PORCH.. I WENT INSIDE AND FINISHED GETTING SUPPER. WHEN WE WERE READY, I ASKED THE OLD MAN IF HE WOULD JOIN US. “NO, THANK YOU. I HAVE PLENTY.” AND HE HELD UP A BROWN PAPER BAG.
WHEN I HAD FINISHED THE DISHES, I WENT OUT ON THE PORCH TO TALK WITH HIM A FEW MINUTES. IT DIDN’T TAKE A LONG TIME TO SEE THAT THIS OLD MAN HAD AN OVERSIZED HEART CROWDED INTO THAT TINY BODY. HE TOLD ME HE FISHED FOR A LIVING TO SUPPORT HIS DAUGHTER, HER 5 CHILDREN, AND HER HUSBAND, WHO WAS HOPELESSLY CRIPPLED FROM A BACK INJURY.
HE DIDN’T TELL IT BY WAY OF COMPLAINT; IN FACT, EVERY OTHER SENTENCE WAS PREFACE WITH A THANKS TO GOD FOR A BLESSING. HE WAS GRATEFUL THAT NO PAIN ACCOMPANIED HIS DISEASE, WHICH WAS APPARENTLY A FORM OF SKIN CANCER. HE THANKED GOD FOR GIVING HIM THE STRENGTH TO KEEP GOING…
AT BEDTIME, WE PUT A CAMP COT IN THE CHILDREN’S ROOM FOR HIM. WHEN I GOT UP IN THE MORNING, THE BED LINENS WERE NEATLY FOLDED AND THE LITTLE MAN WAS OUT ON THE PORCH.
HE REFUSED BREAKFAST, BUT JUST BEFORE HE LEFT FOR HIS BUS, HALTINGLY, AS IF ASKING A GREAT FAVOR, HE SAID, “COULD I PLEASE COME BACK AND STAY THE NEXT TIME I HAVE A TREATMENT? I WON’T PUT YOU OUT A BIT. I CAN SLEEP FINE IN A CHAIR.” HE PAUSED A MOMENT AND THEN ADDED, “YOUR CHILDREN MADE ME FEEL AT HOME. GROWNUPS ARE BOTHERED BY MY FACE, BUT CHILDREN DON’T SEEM TO MIND.”
I TOLD HIM HE WAS WELCOME TO COME AGAIN.
AND, ON HIS NEXT TRIP, HE ARRIVED A LITTLE AFTER 7 IN THE MORNING. AS A GIFT, HE BROUGHT A BIG FISH AND A QUART OF THE LARGEST OYSTERS I HAD EVER SEEN! HE SAID HE HAD SHUCKED THEM THAT MORNING BEFORE HE LEFT SO THAT THEY’D BE NICE AND FRESH. I KNEW HIS BUS LEFT AT 4:00 A.M. AND I WONDERED WHAT TIME HE HAD TO GET UP IN ORDER TO DO THIS FOR US.
 
IN THE YEARS HE CAME TO STAY OVERNIGHT WITH US, THERE WAS NEVER A TIME THAT HE DID NOT BRING US FISH OR OYSTERS OR VEGETABLES FROM HIS GARDEN. OTHER TIMES WE RECEIVED PACKAGES IN THE MAIL, ALWAYS BY SPECIAL DELIVERY; FISH AND OYSTERS PACKED IN A BOX OF FRESH YOUNG SPINACH OR KALE, EVERY LEAF CAREFULLY WASHED. KNOWING THAT HE MUST WALK 3 MILES TO MAIL THESE, AND KNOWING HOW LITTLE MONEY HE HAD MADE THE GIFTS DOUBLY PRECIOUS.
WHEN I RECEIVED THESE LITTLE REMEMBRANCES, I OFTEN THOUGHT OF A COMMENT OUR NEXT-DOOR NEIGHBOR MADE AFTER HE LEFT THAT FIRST MORNING. “DID YOU KEEP THAT AWFUL LOOKING MAN LAST NIGHT? I TURNED HIM AWAY! YOU CAN LOSE ROOMERS BY PUTTING UP SUCH PEOPLE!”
MAYBE WE DID LOSE ROOMERS ONCE OR TWICE. BUT, OH!, IF ONLY THEY COULD HAVE KNOWN HIM, PERHAPS THEIR ILLNESSES WOULD HAVE BEEN EASIER TO BEAR. I KNOW OUR FAMILY ALWAYS WILL BE GRATEFUL TO HAVE KNOWN HIM; FROM HIM WE LEARNED WHAT IT WAS TO ACCEPT THE BAD WITHOUT COMPLAINT AND THE GOOD WITH GRATITUDE TO GOD.
RECENTLY WHILE VISITING A FRIEND, WHO HAS A GREENHOUSE, AS SHE SHOWED ME HER FLOWERS, WE CAME TO THE MOST BEAUTIFUL ONE OF ALL, A GOLDEN CHRYSANTHEMUM, BURSTING WITH BLOOMS. BUT TO MY GREAT SURPRISE, IT WAS GROWING IN AN OLD DENTED, RUSTY BUCKET. I THOUGHT TO MYSELF, “IF THIS WERE MY PLANT, I’D PUT IT IN THE LOVELIEST CONTAINER I HAD!”
MY FRIEND CHANGED MY MIND. “I RAN SHORT OF FLOWER POTS,” SHE EXPLAINED, “AND KNOWING HOW BEAUTIFUL THIS ONE WOULD BE, I THOUGHT IT WOULDN’T MIND STARTING OUT IN THIS OLD PAIL. IT’S JUST FOR A LITTLE WHILE, TILL I CAN PUT IT OUT IN THE GARDEN.”
SHE MUST HAVE WONDERED WHY I LAUGHED SO DELIGHTEDLY, BUT I WAS IMAGINING JUST SUCH A SCENE IN HEAVEN.
“HERE’S AN ESPECIALLY BEAUTIFUL ONE,” GOD MIGHT HAVE SAID WHEN HE CAME TO THE SOUL OF THE SWEET OLD FISHERMAN. “HE WON’T MIND STARTING IN THIS SMALL BODY.”
ALL THIS HAPPENED LONG AGO – AND NOW, IN GOD’S GARDEN, HOW TALL THIS LOVELY SOUL MUST STAND. THE LORD DOES NOT LOOK AT THE THINGS MAN LOOKS AT. MAN LOOKS AT THE OUTWARD APPEARANCE, BUT THE LORD LOOKS AT THE HEART.” (1 SAMUEL 16:7B)
FRIENDS ARE VERY SPECIAL. THEY MAKE YOU SMILE AND ENCOURAGE YOU TO SUCCEED. THEY LEND AN EAR AND THEY SHARE A WORD OF PRAISE.
 
SHOW YOUR FRIENDS HOW MUCH YOU CARE. PASS THIS ON, AND BRIGHTEN SOMEONE’S DAY. NOTHING WILL HAPPEN IF YOU DO NOT DECIDE TO PASS IT ALONG. THE ONLY THING THAT WILL HAPPEN IF YOU DO PASS IT ON IS THAT SOMEONE MIGHT SMILE (BECAUSE OF YOU).
FROM AN OLD RUSTY BUCKET – HAVE A WONDERFUL DAY!!!!
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Blogging · Food for Thought · Life in General · Personal · Random Thoughts · Tales from the Dark Side · Updates

Obsession

I have recently discovered a love for Filofax binders, and planners in general.  Printing my own inserts for them, decorating, writing in many colors, stickers, and more.  It’s really FUN, but wow……I’ve come to realize that I move from one obsession to the next….seeking something….but never finding it.  Or, finding it briefly and then moving on again.

Previous loves include photography, shoes, making candles and soaps, handbags and……shoes.  I don’t love the past obsessions any less, but once I’ve moved on, I don’t usually return.  Except for the shoes, of course, ’cause c’mon…..SHOES.  I’m also a long-time lover of pens and paper….the nicer, the better.  Smooth Levenger and Rhodia paper are my favorites, and I’m currently in love with my Lamy fountain pen.  Especially since I just put a purple cartridge in it!

What is it that I’m looking for, though?  I can’t help wondering what kind of fulfillment I’m missing that I have to fill it with a string of, “currently obsessing over…” items.  It seems some deep soul-searching might be in my near future.

Meanwhile…..I’ll be at my desk….doodling in my planners.  🙂

brigitte

Blogging · Food for Thought · Personal · Shit that Bugs Me!

Cocoa’s Last Day

I’m reblogging this from A Day In The Life of Lunchy.  It’s SO heartwarming to see good, caring people out there.  It restores my faith in humanity.  Thanks to God that Cocoa got to spend her final days with someone who loved and cared for her, like every living being should.

An Open Letter to Jean

RIP, sweet Cocoa!  I’m sure your spirit is shining brightly in Heaven.

Food for Thought · History · Quotes

I Have a Dream…..50 Years Later

i-have-a-dream-word-cloud

In honor of the march on Washington, here’s Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech.  We’ve come a long way since then, but we still have a loooong way to go!

I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of captivity.

But one hundred years later, we must face the tragic fact that the Negro is still not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. So we have come here today to dramatize an appalling condition.

In a sense we have come to our nation’s capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men would be guaranteed the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check which has come back marked “insufficient funds.” But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. So we have come to cash this check — a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice. We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now.

This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to open the doors of opportunity to all of God’s children. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment and to underestimate the determination of the Negro. This sweltering summer of the Negro’s legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.

We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny and their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.

And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, “When will you be satisfied?” We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro’s basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.

Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair.

I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.”

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a desert state, sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day the state of Alabama, whose governor’s lips are presently dripping with the words of interposition and nullification, will be transformed into a situation where little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls and walk together as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.

This is our hope. This is the faith with which I return to the South. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

This will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with a new meaning, “My country, ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim’s pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring.”

And if America is to be a great nation this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!

Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado!

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California!

But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia!

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee!

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, “Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”

 This speech is taken from ABC via the National Archives.