Things Could Always Be Worse

Things Could Always Be Worse

“Friend, I am not cheating you! Did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage?”

You’ve been working for this landscaper for five summers now. You’re going back to school in a few weeks and you’ve asked for extra hours. The owner assures you he will do what he can. But one day a new guy shows up and starts work — and the pos­sibility of your working extra hours is out. “Guy’s wife just got laid off,” your boss says, introducing him. “I’m trying to help him and his family by taking him on for a few hours a week.” So much for loyalty, you think.

The task of taking care of your elderly parent falls pretty much on you. Your brothers and sisters live a distance away. They all call from time to time to see how Mom is doing and express their concern, but none of them are in any position to provide the necessary day-to-day help. “They all have problems of their own,” Mom says, “I just thank God for you.” Then mom dies and they all show up, grieving as if they’ve been there all along. And of course, Mom’s estate is divided equally “because I love all my children just the same— even though it’s your life that’s been turned upside down and you’ve borne the costs of caring for her. Though you would never say it, you seethe: It’s not fair. And you’re right. Continue reading

Keep Eyes Fixed on the Final Goal

Keep Eyes Fixed on the Final Goal

“Tell no one of this vision, until the son of man is raised from the dead.”

The late Itzhak Perlman was one of the great virtuoso violinists of the 20th century. Stricken with polio as a child, he wore large braces on both legs and maneuvered with the aid of two crutches.

Seeing him take the stage was an inspiring sight: painfully and slowly, but majestically and confidently, he would make his way to his chair. Then he would carefully lower himself into his chair, place his crutches on the floor, unfasten the braces on his legs, and tuck one foot back and extend the other foot forward; he would then bend down and pick up his violin, arrange it un­der his chin, and then nod to the conductor. It was a ritual that his audiences had come to respect and admire.

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