You won’t believe whom he pulled out of that crumpled car.
It all started when he was in elementary school.
“I always wanted to be a fireman,” he said. “In elementary school it was a problem because at that age everyone wanted to be a fireman. But I really did want to be a fireman. As I grew up I couldn’t wait to leave school to join the fire service.”
In his senior year of high school one of his teachers asked the class what they were all planning to do when they left. Almost everyone talked about going to college. He said he was applying to join the fire service.
Everyone gets burned in life. But there are different ways we can get burned, and our burns can cause vastly different effects.
Forest fires destroy everything in their path. But after the fire has passed, a miraculous thing happens: new, vibrant green growth bursts through the black ash and charred earth.
Fires return nutrients to the soil. They also disinfect the forest of disease-ridden plants and harmful insects. They allow sunlight to reach the forest floor, thus spurring new growth.
Believe it or not, there’s an even more depressing and contemptible law than Murphy’s Law:
All good things must come to an end.”
Who would possibly believe or say such a thing, and why?
I wonder why we resist hope so much and embrace cynicism so readily.
Hope is risky; it sets us up for possible pain and disappointment when things don’t work out the way we had hoped.
Cynicism, therefore, is a defensive mechanism; we use it to avoid being hurt and disappointed.
Do you ever struggle with trusting your intuition? Second-guess yourself? Talk yourself out of taking bold action because you can’t logically explain or justify it?
Yeah, me too.
In one of my all-time favorite books, Self-Reliance, Ralph Waldo Emerson says,
Let’s compare two excursions:
The first is a spontaneous picnic and play day in the valley.
You toss a bunch of stuff into the car and take off. Much of the stuff is unnecessary, but it doesn’t matter since conservation of space isn’t an issue.
You’ve got plenty of room in your car, you’re not hiking anywhere, so hey, throw it all in. If you don’t use it, no problem.
The second is a meticulously-planned summit of Mount McKinley in Alaska. Standing at 20,237 feet above sea level, it’s the highest peak in North America.
A father and his seven-year-old son spent the day exploring the Arizona desert, driving in an old truck down dusty back roads to overlook the Grand Canyon.
At dusk, they turned around and used their crude, homemade map to navigate the back roads home.
After a couple miles, they reached an unfamiliar fork in the road. The father was not certain which way they had come. He felt nervous as the darkness began to fall, knowing he would need light to make it home.
“Why are you so emotional?” nine-year-old Libby moans. “Just keep reading!”
I fight to gain my composure. Deep breaths. I pick up the book again and continue:
Just as I took hold of the halter rope to be on my way again, I heard Daisy humming. She was in her playhouse up on the hillside…
“As I stood there listening to her clear voice ring out over the valley, I happened to glance down at the raw, red wound in my pony’s leg. Like a bolt of lightning, it hit me.
One line in a short film I watched this week thwacked my consciousness and plunged me deep into thought.
A teenager is hitchhiking on a quest to meet his birth mother for the first time.
After a long and frustrating walk, he is finally offered a ride. But he reconsiders when he sees the shady character in the car sporting frightening tattoos all over his face and hands.
Tell me if you can relate to this: You want to make a difference in the world. You’re willing to do hard work and persist through thick and thin.
In short, you have the desire and willingness to live a great purpose — if you only knew what to do.
You hear people talking about living their “Soul Purpose” or fulfilling their “Life’s Task.”
But you don’t feel like you know yourself enough to know what your true purpose is. You’re still trying to figure out what your talents and gifts are.
Caesar Barber didn’t want to die. So he filed a lawsuit.
Barber, a maintenance supervisor, weighs 272 pounds. He has diabetes and high blood pressure and cholesterol, and he suffered two heart attacks before the age of fifty-six.
Barber’s health problems, he claimed in his lawsuit, were caused by fast-food corporations. He said,