10 June 2012

posted 10 Jun 2012, 00:48 by C S Paul

10 June 2012

The Mask

 -Author Unknown

Don't be fooled by the face I wear, for I wear a thousand masks, And none of them are me.  

Don't be fooled, for goodness sake, don't be fooled.

I give you the impression that I'm secure, that confidence is my name and coolness is my game, And that I need no one.  But don't believe me.

Beneath dwells the real me in confusion, in aloneness, in fear. That's why I create a mask to hide behind, to shield me from the glance that knows, But such a glance is precisely my salvation.

That is, if it's followed by acceptance, if it's followed by love. It's the only thing that can liberate me from my own self-built prison walls. I'm afraid that deep down I'm nothing and that I'm just no good, And that you will reject me.

And so begins the parade of masks. I idly chatter to you. I tell you everything that's really nothing and Nothing of what's everything, of what's crying within me.

Please listen carefully and try to hear what I'm not saying. I'd really like to be genuine and spontaneous, and me. But you've got to help me. You've got to hold out your hand.

Each time you're kind and gentle, and encouraging, Each time you try to understand because you really care, My heart begins to grow wings, feeble wings, but wings.

With your sensitivity and sympathy, and your power of understanding, 
You alone can release me from my shallow world of uncertainty.
It will not be easy for you. The nearer you approach me, The blinder I may strike back.
But I'm told that Love is stronger than strong walls, And in this lies my only hope.
Please try to beat down these walls with firm hands, 
But gentle hands, for a child is very sensitive.
Who am I, you wonder. I am every man you meet, and also every woman that you meet,
And I am you, also.
Ears

"Can I see my baby?" the happy new mother asked. When the bundle was nestled in her arms and she moved the fold of cloth to look upon his tiny face, she gasped. The doctor turned quickly and looked out the tall hospital window. The baby had been born without ears. Time proved that the baby's hearing was perfect. It was only his appearance that was marred.

When he rushed home from school one day and flung himself into his mother's arms, she sighed, knowing that his life was to be a succession of heartbreaks.

He blurted out the tragedy. "A boy, a big boy ... called me a freak."

He grew up, handsome for his misfortune. A favorite with his fellow students, he might have been class president, but for that. He developed a gift, a talent for literature and music. "But you might mingle with other young people," his mother reproved him, but felt a kindness in her heart.

The boy's father had a session with the family physician. Could nothing be done? "I believe I could graft on a pair of outer ears, if they could be procured," the doctor decided.

Whereupon the search began for a person who would make such a sacrifice for a young man. Two years went by.

Then, "You are going to the hospital, Son. Mother and I have someone who will donate the ears you need. But it's a secret," said the father. The operation was a brilliant success, and a new person emerged. His talents blossomed into genius, and school and college became a series of triumphs. Later he married and entered the diplomatic service. "But I must know!" He urged his father, "Who gave so much for me? I
could never do enough for him." "I do not believe you could," said the father, "but the agreement was that you are not to know ... not yet."

The years kept their profound secret, but the day did come ... one of the darkest days that a son must endure. He stood with his father over his mother's casket. Slowly, tenderly, the father stretched forth a hand and raised the thick, reddish-brown hair to reveal that the mother -- had no outer ears.

"Mother said she was glad she never let her hair be cut," he whispered gently, "and nobody ever thought Mother less beautiful, did they?" Real beauty lies not in the physical appearance, but in the heart. Real treasure lies not in what that can be seen, but what that cannot be seen. Real love lies not in what is done and known, but in what that is done but not known.


BEN-HUR: A TALE OF THE CHRIST 

by Lew Wallace


Part Three

In Italy, Greek pirate-ships have been looting Roman vessels in the Aegean Sea. The prefect Sejanus orders the Roman Quintus Arrius to take warships to combat the pirates. 

Judah is a galley slave rowing chained on one of the Roman warships. He had survived three hard years, fueled by his passion for vengeance. Arrius is impressed by Judah and finds out more about his life and his story. 

The ship is attacked by pirates and the ship is sunk. Judah uses a plank as a raft. Arrius surfaces besides him and the two of them hold on until a Roman ship appears and rescues them. They return to Misenum and Judah is adopted by the influential Arrius, becoming a Roman citizen.

Part three - Chapter 1 continued

The hundred and twenty oaken blades, kept white and shining by pumice and the constant wash of the waves, rose and fell as if operated by the same hand, and drove the galley forward with a speed rivalling that of a modern steamer.

So rapidly, and apparently, so rashly, did she come that the landsmen of the tribune's party were alarmed. Suddenly the man by the prow raised his hand with a peculiar gesture; whereupon all the oars flew up, poised a moment in air, then fell straight down. The water boiled and bubbled about them; the galley shook in every timber, and stopped as if scared. 

Another gesture of the hand, and again the oars arose, feathered, and fell; but this time those on the right, dropping towards the stern, pushed forward; while those on the left, dropping towards the bow, pulled backwards. Three times the oars thus pushed and pulled against each other. Round to the right the ship swung as upon a pivot; then, caught by the wind, she settled gently broadside to the mole.

The movement brought the stern to view, with all its garniture--Tritons like those at the bow; name in large raised letters; the rudder at the side; the elevated platform upon which the helmsman sat, a stately figure in full armor, his hand upon the rudder-rope; and the aplustre, high, gilt, carved, and bent over the helmsman like a great runcinate leaf. 

In the midst of the rounding-to, a trumpet was blown brief and shrill, and from the hatchways out poured the marines, all in superb equipment, brazen helms, burnished shields and javelins. 

While the fighting-men thus went to quarters as for action, the sailors proper climbed the shrouds and perched themselves along the yard. The officers and musicians took their posts. There was no shouting or needless noise. When the oars touched the mole, a bridge was sent out from the helmsman's deck. Then the tribune turned to his party and said, with a gravity he had not before shown:

"Duty now, O my friends."

He took the chaplet from his head and gave it to the dice-player.

"Take thou the myrtle, O favorite of the tesserae!" he said. "If I return, I will seek my sestertii again; if I am not victor, I will not return. Hang the crown in thy atrium."

To the company he opened his arms, and they came one by one and received his parting embrace.

"The gods go with thee, O Quintus!" they said.

"Farewell," he replied.

To the slaves waving their torches he waved his hand; then he turned to the waiting ship, beautiful with ordered ranks and crested helms, and shields and javelins. As he stepped upon the bridge, the trumpets sounded, and over the aplustre rose the vexillum purpureum, or pennant of a commander of a fleet.

(to be continued)

Did You Know ?

  • TIP is the acronym for “To Insure Promptness.”
  • In gambling language, for a gambling house a “sure-thing” is a wager that a player has little chance of winning; “easy money” is their profit from an inexperienced bettor, an unlucky player is called a “stiff.”
  • Jean Genevieve Garnerin was the first female parachutists, jumping from a hot air balloon in 1799.
  • In 1975 Junko Tabei from Japan became the first woman to reach the top of Everest.
  • The record for the most Olympic medals ever won is held by Soviet gymnast Larissa Latynina. Competing in three Olympics, between 1956 and 1964, she won 18 medals.
  • On average, you speak almost 5,000 words a day – although almost 80% of speaking is self-talk (talking to yourself).
  • Over the last 150 years the average height of people in industrialized nations increased by 10 cm (4 in).
  • In the 19th century, American men were the tallest in the world, averaging 1,71 metres (5’6?). Today, the average height for American men is 1,763 m (5 feet 9-and-half inches), compared to 1,815 m (5’10?) for Swedes, and 1,843 m (5’11?) for the Dutch, the tallest Caucasians.

The Old Mule in the Well

A parable is told of a farmer who owned an old mule. The mule fell into the farmer's well. The farmer heard the mule 'braying' -or-whatever mules do when they fall into wells. After carefully assessing the situation, the farmer sympathized with the mule, but decided that neither the mule nor the well was worth the trouble of saving. Instead, he called his neighbors together and told them what had happened ...and enlisted them to help haul dirt to bury the old mule in the well and put him out of his misery.

Initially, the old mule was hysterical! But as the farmer and his neighbors continued shoveling and the dirt hit his back ... a thought struck him. It suddenly dawned on him that every time a shovel load of dirt landed on his back, he should shake it off and step up! This he did, blow after blow. "Shake it off and step up...shake it off and step up...shake it off and step up!" He repeated to encourage himself. No matter how painful the blows, or how distressing the situation seemed the old mule fought "panic" and just kept right on shaking it off and stepping up!

It wasn't long before the old mule, battered and exhausted, stepped triumphantly over the wall of that well! What seemed like it would bury him, actually blessed him...all because of the manner in which he handled his adversity. If we face our problems, respond to them positively, and refuse to give in to panic, bitterness, or self-pity, the adversities that come along to bury us usually have within them the potential to benefit and bless us. 

May God bless us this week as we, "shake off the shackles and step up out of the wells" in which we find ourselves! "I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me." - Phil. 4:13

Just for Laughs

"I've never had major knee surgery on any other part of my body." 
--Winston Bennett, University of Kentucky basketball forward

"Outside of the killings, Washington has one of the lowest crime rates in the country." 
--Mayor Marion Barry, Washington, DC

Question:  If you could live forever, would you and why?  Answer:  "I would not live forever, because we should not live forever, because if we were supposed to live forever, then we would live forever, but we cannot live forever, which is why I would not live forever."


Power of Positive Thinking

 by Norman Vincent Peale


Chapter 6 (continued)

In attaining emotional control the daily practice of healing techniques is of first importance. Emotional control cannot be gained in any magical or easy way. You cannot develop it by merely reading a book, although that is often helpful. The only sure method is by working at it regularly, persistently, scientifically, and by developing creative faith.

I suggest that you begin with such a primary procedure as simply the practice of keeping physically still. Don't pace the floor. Don't wring your hands. Don't pound or shout or argue or walk up and down. Don't let yourself get worked up into a dither. In excitement one's physical movements become accentuated.

Therefore begin at the simplest place, that is by ceasing physical movement. Stand still, sit down, lie down. Certainly keep the voice down to a low pitch.

In developing a calm control it is necessary to think calmness, for the body responds sensitively to the type of thoughts that pass through the mind. It is also true that the mind can be quieted by first making the body quiet. That is to say, a physical attitude can induce desired mental attitudes.

In a speech I related the following incident which occurred in a committee meeting I attended. A gentleman who heard me tell this story was greatly impressed by it and took its truth to heart. He tried the technique suggested and reports that it has been very effective in controlling his fuming and fretting.

I was in a meeting where a discussion was going on which finally became rather bitter. Tempers were becoming frayed and some of the participants were decidedly on edge. Sharp remarks were passed. Suddenly one man arose, deliberately took off his coat, opened his collar, and lay down upon a couch. All were astonished, and someone asked if he felt ill.

"No," he said, "I feel fine, but I am beginning to get mad,

and I have learned that it is difficult to get mad lying down."

We all laughed, and the tension was broken. Then our whimsical friend went on to explain that he had "tried a little trick" with himself. He had a quick temper, and when he felt himself getting mad he found that he was clenching his fist and raising his voice, so he deliberately extended his fingers, not allowing them to form into a fist. In proportion to the rising of his tension or anger, he depressed his voice and talked in exaggerated low tones. "You cannot carry on an argument in a whisper," he said with a grin.

This principle can be effective in controlling emotional excitements, fretting, and tension, as many have discovered by experimentation. A beginning step, therefore, in achieving calmness is to discipline your physical reactions. You will be surprised at how quickly this can reduce the heat of your emotions, and when emotional heat is driven off, fuming and fretting subside. You will be amazed at the energy and power you will save. You will be much less tired.

It is, moreover, a good procedure to practice being phlegmatic or apathetic, even indifferent. To a certain extent even practice being sluggish. People thus constituted are less likely to emotional breaks. Highly organized individuals may do well to cultivate these reactions to a degree at least.

Naturally one does not want to lose the keen, sensitive responsiveness characteristic of the highly organized individual. But the practice of being phlegmatic tends to bring such a keyed-up personality to a balanced emotional position.


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