The Tests We Take
Act of Kindness
There are tests that come unexpected in life, and in many ways those are the tests that determine the quality of our lives and their substance.
There will be tests of courage and patience and loyalty, tests that measure the kindness in our hearts, and the strength of our characters, and the depth of our emotions
This is a story about 4 college students who decided to take a weekend road trip, planning (well, maybe not) to return to campus for an exam they had Monday morning.
About an hour or so before the exam was about to begin that Monday, the Professor received a phone call from one of the students, explaining that on their way back to town they had run into a bit of trouble - they had a flat tire - and they were waiting for AAA, and were not going to make it back to campus in time to take the test.
The professor said, “oh, no problem, I understand - you’ll come in tomorrow morning - Tuesday morning - and take the test then.”
Well, Tuesday morning arrived, the students promptly showed up at the proper room, and they found that the teacher had already set up the room in strange fashion - there were only 4 desks in the room - one for each of the students - and each desk was placed in one of the room’s corners.
On top of each desk was a blue book, and one single sheet of paper face down. The students sat at the desks, the teacher watched the clock, and precisely at 9 he said “you may turn over your papers and begin.”
As the students turned the papers over, they each gasped audibly - there was only one question on the exam, and it was this: which tire was flat?
Some of our tests are anticipated and planned for, others unexpected and unsought. They reflect what we’ve learned during our lifetime and who we’ve become.
Some of the tests will be personal, some professional. Some will have to do with family, others with faith.
Will we be ready?
Two Traveling Angels
Act of Kindness
One day, a poor boy who was selling goods from door to door to pay his way through school, found he had only one thin dime left, and he was hungry.
He decided he would ask for a meal at the next house. However, he lost his nerve when a lovely young woman opened the door.
Instead of a meal he asked for a drink of water. She thought he looked hungry so brought him a large glass of milk.
He drank it so slowly, and then asked, How much do I owe you?”
You don’t owe me anything,” she replied. “Mother has taught us never to accept pay for a kindness.”
He said … “Then I thank you from my heart.”
As Howard Kelly left that house, he not only felt stronger physically, but his faith in God and man was strong also. He had been ready to give up and quit.
Many year’s later that same young woman became critically ill. The local doctors were baffled.
They finally sent her to the big city, where they called in specialists to study her rare disease.
Dr. Howard Kelly was called in for the consultation. When he heard the name of the town she came from, a strange light filled his eyes.
Immediately he rose and went down the hall of the hospital to her room.
Dressed in his doctor’s gown he went in to see her. He recognized her at once.
He went back to the consultation room determined to do his best to save her life. From that day he gave special attention to her case.
After a long struggle, the battle was won.
Dr. Kelly requested the business office to pass the final bill to him for approval. He looked at it, then wrote something on the edge and the bill was sent to her room.
She feared to open it, for she was sure it would take the rest of her life to pay for it all. Finally she looked, and something caught her attention on the side of the bill. She read these words …
"Paid in full with one glass of milk"
****(Signed) Dr. Howard Kelly.
Tears of joy flooded her eyes as her happy heart prayed: “Thank You, God, that Your love has spread broad through human hearts and hands.”
****Dr. Howard Kelly (1858-1943) was a distinguished physician who was one of the four founding doctors of Johns Hopkins, the first medical research university in the U.S. and arguably one of the finest hospitals anywhere.
"Remember there’s no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end…"
Build A Fire
Two traveling angels stopped to spend the night in the home of a wealthy family.
The family was rude and refused to let the angels stay in the mansion’s guest room. Instead the angels were given a small space in the cold basement.
As they made their bed on the hard floor, the older angel saw a hole in the wall and repaired it.
When the younger angel asked why, the older angel replied, “Things aren’t always what they seem.”
The next night the pair came to rest at the house of a very poor, but very hospitable farmer and his wife.
After sharing what little food they had the couple let the angels sleep in their bed where they could have a good night’s rest.
When the sun came up the next morning the angels found the farmer and his wife in tears. Their only cow, whose milk had been their sole income, lay dead in the field.
The younger angel was infuriated and asked the older angel, “How could you have let this happen? The first man had everything, yet you helped him.” – she accused.
“The second family had little but was willing to share everything, and you let the cow die.”
“Things aren’t always what they seem.” – the older angel replied.
“When we stayed in the basement of the mansion, I noticed there was gold stored in that hole in the wall.
Since the owner was so obsessed with greed and unwilling to share his good fortune, I sealed the wall so he wouldn’t find it.
Then last night as we slept in the farmers bed, the angel of death came for his wife. I gave him the cow instead. Things aren’t always what they seem.”
Sometimes that is exactly what happens when things don’t turn out the way they should. If you have faith, you just need to trust that every outcome is always to your advantage.
You might not know it until some time later…
Should you find it hard to get to sleep tonight, remember the homeless family who has no bed to lie in.
Should you find yourself stuck in traffic, don’t despair, there are people in this world for whom driving is an unheard-of privilege.
Should you have a bad day at work, think of the man who has been out of work for many months struggling to feed his family.
Should you notice a new gray hair in the mirror, think of the cancer patient in chemo who wishes she had hair to examine.
Should you find yourself at a loss and pondering what is life all about, asking, “What is my purpose?”, be thankful, there are those who didn’t live long enough to get the opportunity.
- author unknown
The older and wiser holy man was very much impressed by the young protégée total immersion in prayer and study and asked the secret of his unwavering piety.
The younger man replied that by concentrating completely on his studies, he was able to ignore any outside influences that might distract him.
The older man said to the younger man, “When it is very cold, there are two ways to warm yourself.
One is by putting on a coat; the other is by lighting a fire.
The difference is that the coat warms only the person wearing it, while the fire warms anyone who comes near.”
We come to realize in our lives, it is up to us to take responsibility for ourselves.
Once we leave our parent’s home that is our responsibility.
The question is, how far does that responsibility go?
Are we only responsible for ourselves, our welfare, and our personal success?
Do we have a responsibility to insure for the personal welfare and success of others at the same time?
In other words, do we provide only a coat for ourselves or take the greater effort to build a fire?
Emily Dickinson’s wrote:
If I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain:
If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one’s pain,
Or help one lonely person
Into happiness again,
I shall not live in vain.
Blessings In Disguise. A Conversation with God
A man once became rich and his lifestyle changed.
Previously, he gave charity, cared for others and helped them as much as he could. Now he had become hard-hearted and miserable.
He cared only for himself and never had time for others.
One day, he was visited by his wise old professor who had taught him in college about acts of kindness.
The rich man showed off his beautiful home and boasted to the professor about his wealth.
Perceiving the change in his former student, the professor called him to the window.
Pointing to the outside, he asked, “What do you see?”
"I see poor people passing to and fro trying to earn a living," he
Walking over to a large mirror the professor told his rich student to look in.
"Now what do you see?"
"Myself, of course."
"I don’t understand," said the professor. "Both the window and the mirror are made of glass.
Yet when you look through the window, you see the poor people outside but when you look at the mirror, you see only yourself!”
"The reason is simple!" said the rich man. "The mirror has a silver coating which prevents you from seeing through.
However, the window has no silver coating, so you can see through”
“Interesting,” the professor said, “Both the window and the mirror have glass.
But the glass of the mirror is covered with a little bit of silver. And no sooner is the silver added than you cease to see others, and you see only yourself.”
Maybe you’d be better off without the silver!”
Sometimes our troubles begin when a bit of silver was added into our lives, and we start looking at and stop looking through.
God, can I ask You a question?
Me: Promise You won’t get mad.
God: I promise.
Me: Why did You let so much stuff
happen to me today?
God: What do u mean?
Me: Well, I woke up late.
Me: My car took forever to start.
Me: At lunch they made my sandwich wrong and I had to wait.
Me: On the way home, my phone went dead, just as I picked up a call.
God: All right.
Me: And on top of it all off, when I got home, I just wanted to soak my feet in my new foot massager and relax. But it wouldn’t work!!! Nothing went right today! Why did You do that?
God: Let me see, the death angel was at your bed this morning and I had to send one of My Angels to battle him for your life. I let you sleep through that.
I didn’t let your car start because there was a drunk driver on your route that would have hit you if you were on the road.
The first person who made your sandwich today was sick and I didn’t want you to catch what they have, I knew you couldn’t afford to miss work.
Your phone went dead because the person that was calling was going to give false witness about what you said on that call, I didn’t even let you talk to them so you would be covered.
Oh and that foot massager, it had a shortage that was going to throw out all of the power in your house tonight. I didn’t think you wanted to be in the dark.
Me: I’m Sorry, God.
God: Don’t be sorry, just learn to trust Me…. in all things , the good and the bad.
Me: I will trust You.
God: And don’t doubt that My plan for your day is always better than your plan.
Me: I won’t God. And let me just tell you God, thank You for everything today.
God: You’re welcome child. It was just another day being your God and I love looking after My children.
What Matters in Life
I’ve learned… That life is like a roll of toilet paper. The closer it gets to the end, the faster it goes.
That we should be glad God doesn’t give us everything we ask for.
That money doesn’t buy class.
That it’s those small daily happenings that make life so spectacular.
That under everyone’s hard shell is someone who wants to be appreciated and loved.
That to ignore the facts does not change the facts.
That when you plan to get even with someone, you are only letting that person continue to hurt you.
That love, not time, heals all wounds.
That the easiest way for me to grow as a person is to surround myself with people smarter than I am.
That everyone you meet deserves to be greeted with a smile.
That no one is perfect until you fall in love with them.
That life is tough, but I’m tougher.
That opportunities are never lost; someone will take the ones you miss.
That when you harbor bitterness, happiness will dock elsewhere.
That I wish I could have told those I cared about that I love them one more time before they passed away.
That one should keep his words both soft and tender because tomorrow he may have to eat them.
That a smile is an inexpensive way to improve your looks.
That I can’t choose how I feel, but I can choose what I do about it.
That everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs while you’re climbing it.
That the less time I have to work, the more things I get done.
Five More Minutes
A story tells that two friends were walking through the desert. During some point of the journey they had an argument, and one friend slapped the other one in the face.
The one who got slapped was hurt, but without saying anything, wrote in the sand “Today my best friend slapped me in the face”.
They kept on walking until they found an oasis, where they decided to take a bath.
The one who had been slapped got stuck in the mire and started drowning, but the friend saved him.
After he recovered from the near drowning, he wrote on a stone “Today my best friend saved my life”.
The friend who had slapped and saved his best friend asked him, “After I hurt you, you wrote in the sand and now, you write on a stone, why?”
The other friend replied “When someone hurts us we should write it down in sand where winds of forgiveness can erase it away.
But, when someone does something good for us, we must engrave it in stone where no wind can ever erase it.”
Baby Camel and Mother
While at the park one day, a woman sat down next to a man on a bench near a playground.
"That’s my son over there,” she said, pointing to a little boy in a red sweater who was gliding down the slide.
“He’s a fine looking boy” the man said. “That’s my daughter on the bike in the white dress.”
Then, looking at his watch, he called to his daughter. “What do you say we go, Melissa?”
Melissa pleaded, “Just five more minutes, Dad. Please? Just five more minutes.”
The man nodded and Melissa continued to ride her bike to her heart’s content. Minutes passed and the father stood and called again to his daughter. “Time to go now?”
Again Melissa pleaded, “Five more minutes, Dad. Just five more minutes.”
The man smiled and said, “OK.” “My, you certainly are a patient father,” the woman responded.
The man smiled and then said, “Her older brother Tommy was killed by a drunk driver last year while he was riding his bike near here.
I never spent much time with Tommy and now I’d give anything for just five more minutes with him.
I’ve vowed not to make the same mistake with Melissa. She thinks she has five more minutes to ride her bike.
The truth is, I get Five more minutes to watch her play.”
A mother and a baby camel were lying around, and suddenly the baby camel asked, “mother, may I ask you some questions?
Mother said, “Sure! Why son, is there something bothering you?”
Baby said, “Why do camels have humps?”
Mother said “Well son, we are desert animals, we need the humps to store water and we are known to survive without water”.
Baby said, “Okay, then why are our legs long and our feet rounded?”
Mother said, “Son, obviously they are meant for walking in the desert. You know with these legs I can move around the desert better than anyone does!”
Baby said, “Okay, then why are our eyelashes long? Sometimes it bothers my sight”.
Mother with pride said, “My son, those long thick eyelashes are your protective cover. They help to protect your eyes from the desert sand and wind”.
Baby after thinking said, “I see. So the hump is to store water when we are in the desert, the legs are for walking through the desert and these eye lashes protect my eyes from the desert then what we doing here in the Zoo!?”
Moral: Skills, knowledge, abilities and experiences are only useful if you are at the right place.