I was inspired by many of John F. Kennedy’s stories and speeches so I was surprised I hadn’t heard a certain story involving him before. It was the story about when he visited NASA and saw a janitor mopping up the floor. JFK asked him what his job was at NASA and the man said, “I’m helping send a man to the moon.”
Talk about understanding the big picture. The idea of teamwork. How each small act adds up to something extraordinary.
We can all use that message in our lives every day. Are we always focused on the destination or do we enjoy the journey? Do we crumble when things don’t go our way, or do we think about what we can learn from a setback? How it will allow us to grow?
Another parable I heard on this topic was the one about the three bricklayers. A traveller came upon three men working. He asked the first man what he was doing and the man said he was laying bricks. He asked the second man the same question and he said he was putting up a wall. When he got to the third man and asked him what he was doing he said he was building a cathedral.
They were all doing the same thing. The first man had a job. The second man had a career. The third man had a calling.
Do you look at what you do every day as a calling? It doesn’t necessarily have to be the job of your dreams, but can you see the big picture in your daily actions? Do you realize what a difference you are making?
Each one of us may be laying bricks every day, but if we can envision the cathedral and move through our days with intention and passion, we are living our best life.
Twenty five years ago, at the end of September, Dr. Seuss passed away. We all know his many children’s books, and he inspired me as a writer when I heard that he got 43 rejection letters for his first story. So I made a goal of 100 rejections for my first book and I’m up to 32.
I read an article the other day that talked about his 1954 book, Horton Hears a Who! When Horton the elephant protects the Whos and tells them to speak up so everyone can hear them. Some may not believe the Whos are important, or even real people, but Horton does. And when the Whos make enough noise, the jungle animals hear them and they survive.
The article explained that this is a parable for speaking up for those who are downtrodden, for calling out bigotry and for ensuring that all people are treated equally, regardless of their race, religion, sexual orientation, weight or bank account.
A lot of wisdom in a children’s book from 62 years ago. And quite timely today.
We can raise our voices with how we shop, with what we teach our children, with how we treat our neighbours. We can raise our voices by standing up for someone who is being bullied or mistreated. We can raise our voices by voting.
Dr. Seuss wrote in Horton Hears a Who!, “We’ve GOT to make noises in greater amounts! So, open your mouth lad! For every voice counts!”
Never stop speaking up for what you believe in. Your voice can make all the difference.
I heard a priest who works at a homeless shelter in a big city speak recently. He asked the audience to raise their hands if they were rich.
Very few people raised their hands. Because most folks define the word rich in terms of money.
But he reminded us how rich we all really are. Rich in blessings and family and health and passion.
We have so much to give.
He said he remembers giving a man on the street two dollars a few years back. Some time later, that same man showed up at the homeless shelter and said to the priest, “I remember you. I used your two dollars to take a bus to a rehab centre and I’m doing much better now.”
Both men were rich in that moment.
Do we realize how much we have? Do we know the kind of difference we can make?
Benjamin Disraeli once said, “The greatest good you can do for another is not just to share your riches but to reveal to him his own.”
Before we judge our success by our bank account or our belongings, may we remember the priceless, unique gifts we have inside.
Oscar Wilde said, “Ordinary riches can be stolen; real riches cannot. In your soul are infinitely precious things that cannot be taken from you.”
Reach inside and share them with the world. You are so much richer than you know.