Thursday, April 07, 2011

Winning Words 4/7/11
“The main events of life are mainly small events. They only seem large when we are close to them.” (Mark Twain) One of my favorite poets is Robert Frost. I especially like his poem, The Road Less Travelled, which describes the adventure of taking a path that others have ignored. Think of the events and choices in your life that have “made all the difference” as you have walked through the years. ;-) Jack

FROM PASTY PAT IN THE WEST BANK: This must certainly be one of them. I'm a Finn from a small copper mining community in the U.P. for heavens sake. FROM JACK: Yep...a Yooper leaving one Holy Land for another. Strange!

FROM HS IN MICHIGAN: Excellent. FROM JACK: I know that you've experienced both, the big and the small events. Isn't it interesting how a small event can occupy a big place in our memory?

FROM MOLINER CF: Our day is one big event, starting with the sunrise. FROM JACK: Mine begins even before sunrise, when I go to the computer at 5 am to begin sending out Winning Words to my friends. Every day is full of opportunity for those who seek it. MORE FROM CF: Why don't you program your computer to send out WW at 5 and stay in bed? FROM JACK: You may have a hard time believing this, but sending out WWs is a personal thing with me, and I often think of someone (even you) when I press, "SEND." I won't trade that for an extra hour or two of sleep.

FROM TAMPA SHIRL: I wonder if it is just our generation which isn't influenced very much by what everyone else is doing. When we first moved Florida, if someone was doing something-like putting little air pipes on the roof to make the attics cooler-everyone did it. The little pipes did nothing and are all down now. Anyway, we have to all think for ourselves and be individualists and enjoy each day. FROM JACK: Persuading us to buy certain things is really BIG business these days. TV ads seem to go on and on and on. Grocery stores place items in places that catch our eye. Consciously or sub-consciously, we buy things because of ads. I don't know if I'd buy roof pipes, although I did have an attic fan installed, which we never use. MORE FROM SHIRL: Do you remember being taught the techniques of propaganda during The War? It seems that that is what is being used to sell products these days. It is a good thing that God gave us all a brain. FROM JACK: A minister friend of mine once told a nuclear physicist: "When you come to church, you don't have to leave your brain with your car in the parking lot."

FROM EMT SINGS IN MICHIGAN: My daughter was driving to work this morning when she called me. While we were talking she happened to to be following a semi with a bumper sticker on the back that said: Three things matter for eternity: Location, Location, Location--GOD We both enjoyed the sentiment and I said I would share it with you. Messages are all around us. FROM JACK: I like it. Messages from God are all around us. Some of them show that he/she has a sense of humor.

MORE FROM CF: Why don't you program your computer to send out WW at 5 and stay in bed?

FROM MOLINER TG: I continue to enjoy your daily Winning Words. Robert Frost was an inspiration. He had a long relationship with Amherst College and the "new" library there (a couple of decades ago) is named for him. He was still a visiting fellow at Amherst when I was there as a student in the late forties and had the pleasure of hearing him reflect on life and poetry in an English class and also hearing him a couple of times at our morning chapel service - (which they no longer have today!) My last image of Frost was him trying to read his notes in the cold bright noontime sun in D.C. at the JFK inauguration. What a frustrating time for him at a widely watched event. He was 86 at the time. "And miles to go before I sleep". A beautiful poem. FROM JACK: How great to be able to say: "I remember Robert Frost." Augustana College no longer has chapel services. We heard some really great messages when they were "mandatory." It was interesting when some would connect the mysterious with life. Frost's poetry is more than words. Carl Sandburg is like that for me. My father grew up in Galesburg when Sandburg lived there.

FROM TS IN MICHIGAN: Ya know, I always handle bad situations like that and tell people to do the same thing -- "This will only look like a minor bump in the road when you look at it in the rear view mirror several years from now." Great advice. FROM JACK: Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer were philosophers, too. I enjoyed the stories when I was young, and I like them even better now.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY: Some of the smallest events in our lives are the ones which leave the biggest impact. FROM JACK: A phone call changed life's direction for me.

FROM BLAZING OAKS: I taught Robert Frost in my Lit classes, and required each of my students to memorize one of his poems to recite to the class. The Road Less Traveled is a very good one! We certainly don't realize when we are young, how seemingly innocuous decisions will impact our lives forever. I tried to impress on my children, that decisions they were making as young people was going to affect the direction of their lives. Mostly they did listen...Bill used to say, "At first you may be faced with a good choice and a bad choice. But once you have made a bad choice, you are usually facing two bad choices, and it spirals from there..." Pretty true. Better to choose wisely in the first place. But sometimes not nearly as seductive and exciting as the less wise choice. HA! Small things DO seem very large sometimes when we are dealing with
them, but from the perspective of Old Age Twain is right. "Don't Sweat The Small Stuff...P.S. It's all small stuff!" Is a good book on that! FROM JACK: What an honor to have been Robert Frost's teacher. He must have been one of your older students. BTW, another piece of good advice from Bill.

FROM PEPPERMINT MARY: there is a proposed plan by mercy housing, (affordable senior housing), facility in our neighborhood. today i had a visit by a concerned citizen, telling me that the people moving in may be from chicago housing developments and would taint our community. i told her that i am an advocate of the new affordable housing. she warned me that i will be calling the police to report crime. as i hugged her, i told her that we must think kindly of those in need and if we think the best of humanity, perhaps we will receive the best in return. i read your ww's after speaking with her. i feel the presence of god in mark twains quote. again, thank you. maybe other's will not get the connection. i know you will. FROM JACK: I'm proud of you, Mary. Some people wear wrist bands that read: W.W.J.D. You've done something better than that. You did what Jesus would do.

FROM SG IN MICHIGAN: This is my favorite poem, as well. And choices do make all the difference!

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