Lead us, O God, from the sight of the lovely things of the world
To the thought of thee their Creator,
And grant that delighting in the beautiful things of the creation,
we may delight in thee, the first author of beauty
and the Sovereign Lord of all thy works, blessed for evermore.
You Over Me
Lord Jesus, let me know myself and know You,
and desire nothing save only You.
Let me hate myself and love You.
Let me do everything for the sake of You.
Let me humble myself and exalt You.
Let me think of nothing except You.
Let mem die to myself and live in You.
Let me accept whatever happens as from You.
Let me banish self and follow You, and even desire to follow You.
Let me fly from myself and take refuge in You.
That I may deserve to be defended by You.
Let me fear for myself.
Let me fear You, and let me be among those who are chosen by You.
Let me distrust myself and put my trust in HYou.
Let me be willing to obey for the sake of You.
Let me cling to nothing save only to You.
And let me be poor because of You.
Look upon me, that I may love You.
Call me that I may see You, and forever enjoy You. Amen
Be Happy (A True Story)
Around 20 years ago, I was living in Seattle and going through hard times. I could not satisfying work and I found this especially difficult as I had a lot of experience and a Masters degree. To my shame I was driving a school bus to make ends meet and living with friends. I had lost my apartment. I had been through five interviews with a company and one day between bus runs they called to say I did not get the job. I went to the bus barn like a zombie of disappointment. Later that afternoon, while doing my rounds through a quiet suburban neighborhood I had an inner wave - like a primal scream - arise from deep inside me and I thought "Why has my life become so hard? Give me a sign", I asked - a physical sign - not some inner voice type of thing." Immediately after this internal scream, I pulled the bus over to drop off a little girl and as she passed she handed me an earring say I should keep it in case somebody claimed it. The earring was stamped metal, painted black and said "BE HAPPY" At first I got angry - year, yeah, I thought. Then it hit me. I had been putting all of my energies into what was wrong with my life rather than what was right! I decided then and there to make a list of things I was grateful for. At first it was hard, and then it got easier. One day I decided to up it to 75. That night there was a phone call for me at my friend's house from a lady who was a manager at a large hospital. About a year earlier I had submitted a syllabus to a community college to teach a course on stress management (Yup, you heard me). She asked me if I would do a one-day seminar for 200 hospital workers. I say yes and got the job. My day with the hospital workers went very well. I got a standing ovation and many more days of work. To this day I KNOW that it was because I changed my attitude to gratitude. Incidentally, the day after I found the earring the girl asked me if anyone had claimed it. I told her no and she said "I guess it was meant for you then." I spent the next year conducting training workshops all around the Seattle area and then decided to risk everything and go back to Scotland where I had lived previously. I closed my one man business, bought a plane ticket and got a six month visa from immigration. One month later I met my wonderful English wife and best friend of 15 years now. We live in a small beautiful cottage two miles from a paved road in the highland of Scotland. "THE ONLY ARRITUDE IS GRATITUDE' has been , my motto for years now and yes, it completely changed my life.
Charles Plumb was a US Navy jet pilot in Vietnam. After 75 combat missions, his plane was destroyed by a surface-to-air missile. Plumb ejected and parachuted into enemy hands. He was captured and spent 6 years in a communist Vietnamese prison. He survived the ordeal and now lectures on lessons learned from that experience!
One day, when Plumb and his wife were sitting in a restaurant, a man at another table came up and said, "You're Plumb! You flew jet fighters in Vietnam from the aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk. You were shot down!"
"How in the world did you know that?" asked Plumb.
"I packed your parachute," the man replied. Plumb gasped in surprise and gratitude. The man pumped his hand and said, "I guess it worked!" Plumb assured him, "It sure did. If your chute hadn't worked, I wouldn't be here today."
Plumb couldn't sleep that night, thinking about that man. Plumb says, "I kept wondering what he had looked like in a Navy uniform: a white hat, a bib in the back, and bell-bottom trousers. I wonder how many times I might have seen him and not even said 'Good morning, how are you?"' or anything because, you see, I was a fighter pilot and he was just a sailor." Plumb thought of the many hours the sailor had spent at a long wooden table in the bowels of the ship, carefully weaving the shrouds and folding the silks of each chute, holding in his hands each time the fate of someone he didn't know.
Now, Plumb asks his audience, "Who's packing your parachute?" Everyone has some who provides what they need to make it through the day. He also points out that he needed many kinds of parachutes when his plane was shot down over enemy territory - he needed his physical parachute, his mental parachute, his emotional parachute, and his spiritual parachute. He called on all these supports before reaching safety.
Sometimes in the daily challenges that life gives us, we miss what is really important. We may fail to say hello, please, or thank you, congratulate someone on something wonderful that has happened to them, give a compliment, or just do something nice for no reason. As you go through this week, this month, this year, recognize people who pack your parachutes.
Who Packed Your Parachute?