Tag Archives: love

Small Victories

I don’t know much about love either,

except that it gets all mixed up with things

 that don’t have anything to do with it. 

And that it’s awfully hard to find.

                                                            Marita Golden

I recently read the story of an exceptional girl in Canada. Her name is Na’ama Uzan. She was born two years after her elder brother Nadav. She grew up seeing her brother suffer serious health challenges; from recurrent seizures to speech abnormalities and other neurological delays. Her brother has Angelman syndrome which is a rare Neuro-developmental disorder with no known cure. Knowing her brother sickness was incurable, she came up with a novel idea to raise $100 to contribute towards the research for a cure for the syndrome. To achieve this, in the spring of last year 2014 when she was still 4 years old, she started a lemonade stand in the community where they live hoping that by selling glasses of lemonade she can make up the money. Over the months the stand evolved to include muffins and chocolates among other things. This according to the little girl was all aimed at making a contribution to a research foundation for Angelman syndrome, so they can quickly find a cure for her brothers’ sickness.

When community members got to know the purpose of the lemonade stand they went out of their way to contribute to the fund and as of today she has raised a little over $25,000 for the foundation with another $21,000 raised on her behalf by parents of a boy who also has the disease in California, USA.

In respect of her contribution the Foundation For Angelman Syndrome Therapeutics (FAST) has been able to establish the Na’ama Uzan FAST-TRAC Award (Targeted Research to Advance a Cure),  and promised that every cent she raised is going to Angelman specific research.

She made a difference in the world and most importantly her brother’s life at age 5. She wasn’t a genius or an entrepreneur, or an athlete. She was just a little girl who wanted her brother to be better.

It is not by spectacular achievements 

that man can be transformed, but by will.

                                                               Henrik Ibsen

A lot of times we have been made to believe that it takes a lot to make a difference, that we need all the money in the world or all the talent in the world or that our little contributions will not matter, that only the big ones count. And that’s the malady of today’s society. So we grow up waiting to “make it” before we think of making a difference, we focus on acquisitions so that we can be better positioned to make a difference and yet the irony is that even with all we have and strive for, we still miss out on making a difference in the way that it counts.

The small things are the ones that matter a lot, the homeless man you pass on your way to work every day does not need you to build him a house, he just might need a warm meal, the destitute girl that greets you as you enter your office building may just need your advice and a listening ear. Small victories aggregate to become big ones.

If you cannot help in small measure, by what force do you think you can give when the measure is big. Charity has never been known to demand a lot from us it is always the least that it begs for, attention is what it screams for but never gets. Oftentimes we throw money at circumstances that we could have talked people out of, situations that a listening ear could have made a difference we write checks for.

Don’t get me wrong, money is good to solve problems and propagate charity and indeed make a difference, but paying attention is much better. Because it’s in paying attention that we can really know the problems money can solve and the ones human communication can solve.

How do you make a difference? There is no syllabus for this, and you can start from where you are presently. Do not look for recognition and awards because that is not the goal. You can volunteer to serve food in a soup kitchen near you; you can give out your used clothes to the homeless man on your street. You can offer conversation time to a destitute that seems to need it. It is endless the small things we can do to make a difference in somebody’s life. You might not be appreciated by the person or by society but you are laying a solid foundation to be a better you.

There was this single father who was left with his daughter after his divorce with his wife. As the girl was growing he found it hard to make her hair, as simple as that sounds to women. Eventually deciding he needed help he approached a cosmetologist colleague who gave him advice to get some training in hair dressing. He did, and today his daughter is the better for it, he has made tremendous difference in his daughters’ life. Even if she doesn’t appreciate the gesture now, in later years she will understand the sacrifice her dad made so he could make an awesome difference in her life.

Little things not big things.

As you reflect on these stories and the suggestions swirling in your mind about how best to make a difference, remember that it is about giving and not counting the cost, doing good without expecting a reward. Go out there and make a positive difference in your community.

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LOVE GRADIENT

How do we measure love?

Is it by its innocence or its naiveté?

Is it by its strengths or its weaknesses?

Is it by its optimism or its pessimism?

Is it by its warmth or its coldness?

How do we measure love?

Is it by its sacrifices or its gifts?

Is it by its professions or by its actions?

Is it by its hopes or its achievements?

Is it by its imaginations or its reality?

How do we measure love?

Is it by its dark nights or by its glorious mornings?

Is it by the heights it reaches or by the lows it descends to?

Is it by its adventurism or by its reservation?

Is it by its parochial views or its far reaching views on life?

How do we measure love?

Is it by its feelings or by its words?

Is it by its clichés or its uniqueness?

Is it by its sublime nature or its base nature?

Is it by its selflessness or its selfishness?

How do we measure love?

Is it by its spontaneity or its guarded approach?

Is it by its courage or its pride?

Is it by its simplicity or its complexity?

Is it by its speed to forgive or its choice to forget wrongs?

How do we measure love?

Is it by who we love or by who loves us?

Is it by who demands love or by who needs love?

Is it by its wisdom or by its foolishness?

Is it by its visions or its blindness?

How do we measure love?

Is it by how long it lasted or by how long it endured?

Is it by how it sustained or by how it encouraged.

How do we measure love?

The true measure of love is in loving without measure.

WORDS I LOVE

Words have always been of great value to my life and so today I invite you to reflect with me on some of the words that I love and what they remind me of.

Joy: when I think of my increasing sphere of influence

Amazing: when I consider where I am and where I am coming from.

Intriguing: when I consider the facets of my life

Unique: when I see me in relation to the rest 6.9999billion people on earth.

Impressive: when I see in my mind’s eye the future I hope for.

Hopeful: when I look at my today and consider my tomorrow.

Generosity: when I think of an act to keep me grounded and save me from pride.

Memorable: when I think of the day I become who I am meant to be.

Efficient: when I consider how my biological system functions without my help

Confidence: when I seek the nudge to take a bold step.

Leisure: what every family must have more of

Reference: when I think of what my family should be.

Beautiful: when I wake up in the morning to see my wife beside me.

Dependable: when I think of my friend who became my wife.

Mysterious: when I think of the bond between fathers and their sons

Forever: when I calculate how long a mother’s love lasts

Delicious: what I want my wife to say after eating a meal I struggled to prepare.

Ecstatic: when my baby smiles at me for the first time.

Brilliant: when I consider the world and the one who made it.

Goodness: when I think of the job description to overcome evil.

Resilience: when I think of the human spirit.

Divine: when I contemplate Gods love for me

Heaven: when I search for a reason to live right

Miracle: when I see terminal patients live a full span of life

Abundance: when I reflect on Gods store house of blessings

Colorful: when I consider the world and the people that populate it.

Absolute: when I consider Gods capacity for good

Approval: what everybody seeks but nobody talks about

Fun: what I consider when work becomes boring.

Valued: when I think of the readers that has made me a blogger

Skillful: when I consider the blogs I like and those on my blog roll

Eager: when I pause and wait to read the words that other people love.

Thankful: when I calculate the time you spent to read this.

Wow: when I stop and consider the words that you love.

Storm clouds

I grew up in my fathers’ stone house in a quiet area of the town. On evenings when usually there is no electricity we sit on mats outside the house to listen to an array of moonlight tales delivered by my mum but authored by those that came long before her. The stories were so engaging that you couldn’t leave without knowing the end, sending us on errands during these periods saw the fastest response time in history because nobody wants to miss a part of the story. After the stories we lay down looking at the skies and count the stars, noting the fading ones and the bright ones.

It is in this phase of our evening enjoyments that we usually notice that sometimes, white clouds cover up the stars and then the winds get cooler than before, when this happens, the adults will tell us to pack up and go inside because rain was a likely possibility. So the rain clouds obscure the beauty of the night sky even if just for a moment, the beauty is replaced by threatening, heavy and dark clouds that change the atmosphere from joy to terror.

This is not so different from our lives; the rain clouds are the threatening uncontrollable situations and environments we find ourselves in. It could be triggered by the people we work, live or interact with regularly, who cause us to react in ways that for an instant hide the beauty of our lives from us and from others that are looking. Have you seen a close friend in the heat of anger, righteous though the anger may be, but at that moment he looses every appearance of the human being you know. He is snarling like a dog and threatening fire and brimstone, he is shouting at the object of the anger and looking for what to destroy, he is uncontrollable, and you wonder, where the beauty is. Somebody described anger or more correctly fits of rage as moments of temporary insanity, is he far from the truth?

I was angry with my friend:
I told my wrath, my wrath did end.
I was angry with my foe:
I told it not, my wrath did grow.

William Blake

Sometimes the situations that we are thrown into trigger off severe emotional reactions that obscure for an instant the beauty we possess. You are trying your best to be tolerant in the office and so you complain less and overlook more, but a colleague sees it as an opportunity to ride roughshod over you because he feels you lack the capacity to respond to him as is necessary. But one day he does the one thing that is equivalent to the “last straw”: when you approach him you don’t shout, you don’t scream, you just sit him down and for thirty minutes you just dress him down, you assault him with words and when you finally let him go, you know within you that his perception of you has changed forever. Nobody will ever think your tolerance is borne out of cowardice or foolishness again, they will see you from a different perspective from henceforth.

There are not fifty ways of fighting, there’s only one,

 and that’s to win. Neither revolution

nor war consists in doing what one pleases.

André Malraux

Sometimes it is fair and trite to cover up your beauty roll up your sleeves and get in the mud. There are some things due you that you can’t get unless you fight for them. Not just fight but low down dirty brawling. In the words of the country musician Don Williams,” sometimes you have to fight to be a man”. The difficulty here is in choosing how and where to shield your delicate beauty so you can achieve your due reward.

Few things in life are worth fighting for and fewer yet are worth dying for. You should fight for your dreams, you should fight for your loved ones, you should fight for the things that you are passionate about, you should fight for your wife/husband, you should fight for your children, and you should fight for your tomorrow. Preserving the “beauty” of your character should not be important when there is a need to fight for what you hold dear, for instance : to liberate your child from forces you know you are stronger than and even if you are weaker than them beauty should not keep you from trying. Maintaining your demeanor before your boss as he demeans your wife may help keep your job but has definitely killed your marriage, love is worth fighting for.

Pick battles big enough to matter, small enough to win.

Jonathan Kozol

We are men and women not robots, our feelings don’t work on switches. Our feelings don’t have “feelostarts” so that when they reach a particular level they are automatically shut off. Our being intelligent beings allow us to make intelligent choices about emotional decisions especially ones that will change our lives.

A woman has been known to have singlehandedly lifted a Volkswagen beetle that ran her child over and the kid was trapped beneath the car. Fighting is our heritage but we have lost the sense of what to fight for.

It’s easier to see husband and wife fight over divorce settlements than fight to save their marriage, as siblings we fight over inheritances instead of unity, we fight over politicians instead of fighting for good governance, and we fight over who to worship instead of over how to live right. Misplaced priorities are what plague our lives in these days, we are all fighting for something, and the question is, are you fighting for the right thing?

Families ain’t just born; you got to work at ’em,

even when there ain’t much to work with.

Marsha Hunt

The rain clouds may eventually go away without bringing rain and sometimes it only goes away after a torrential downpour. But after the rain comes the sunshine, after the dark clouds comes the clear skies after the weeping comes the smile.

May our rain clouds prepare us to fight for the right things, things that will outlive us not things that will expire before us.