My life changed when I read Dr. Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search For Meaning for the first time. Dr. Frankl’s work inspired my dissertation and changed how I viewed life. When my wife died, I turned to Frankl’s work and sought to find meaning in my personal tragedy. I found a path when I reread his book and focused on his words, “What is life asking of you?” I knew I had to answer the question if i was to move on. It is a question I pose to you, “What is life asking of you?”
Don’t pass it by–the immediate, the real, the only, the yours. -Henry James
The college campus was near the center of town. The boys walked past a fire station, a Unitarian church, a small hardware store until they reached a road that circled a large green area in the center of town that served as a rotary for traffic. In Massachusetts, the green is known as a common. Small stores lined the street on both sides of the common. One of the stores was Martini’s Deli.
The boys crossed the street, walked across the green, and crossed the street on the other side of the green. Nick tapped Buttons on the arm, “How about a meatball sub?”
Buttons nodded, and pointed to an old guy fishing in a trash can outside of Martini’s Deli. “I can’t stand that guy. Look at him. He disgusting. He carries a trash bag with cans and who knows what else in it. I bet he eats road kill.”
“Do you know him?” asked Nick.
“No, but my dad said stay away from him, he’s no good,” said Buttons.
“I know him. His name is Johnny, Johnny Balboni. He’s a nice guy,” said Nick.
“He’s dressed like a homeless bum. Look at his clothes, even the Salvation Army wouldn’t take them. I bet he hasn’t had a shower in years,” said Buttons.
Nick ignored Buttons, as the boys passed Johnny, Nick said, “Hi Johnny, how’s it going?”
Johnny looked up from the trash can, and gave a smile. His beaming smile opened a mouth with four teeth on top and three on the bottom. He tipped his worn old gray fedora to Nick, and said, “It’s a going okay. I find maybe twenty cans. They a nickel each. So far I make a buck.”
“Good luck, Johnny,” said Nick as he opened the door to Martini’s.
Nick ordered the meatball sub. The boys ordered Cokes and took their order to a booth near a window. Nick gave half of the sub to Buttons, who unwrapped and bit into it as if he hadn’t eaten for a week.
Nick took a sip of his Coke and said, “You can’t judge a guy by how he dresses, Buttons. Johnny does the yardwork around our house in the summer. He doesn’t charge much. Mom gives him a sandwich and some money when he’s done. He never counts the money. He stuffs it in his pocket, tips his hat and takes off until the next week.”
Buttons wiped his mouth on a napkin, “What’s with him and that hat? I never seen him without it. You think he’s hiding something inside it?”
Nick didn’t answer. He slid out of the booth, “I’ll be right back.”
“Where you going?” asked Buttons but Nick was already at the door.
Buttons looked out the window. Two guys from their class were hassling Johnny. He saw Nick talking to them. One of the guys pushed Nick. Nick stumbled backward and fell. As he was getting up, the other guy hit him in the face bloodying Nick’s nose. Nick got up and charged into the guy that hit him, wrestling him to the ground. The other guy was pulling Nick off his friend when Tino Martini came out and broke it up.
Nick brushed himself off. He went back into the deli. He returned to the booth but didn’t sit. He reached for some napkins and wiped his nose and the blood off his chin and hoodie.
“What happened?” asked Buttons.
“They were bullying Johnny and taking cans out of his bag and tossing them back in the trash. They thought it was funny. I didn’t. I don’t feel like eating, let’s go,” said Nick, grabbing his sandwich and Coke.
“Look what it got you, a bloody nose,” said Buttons.
“If you don’t stand up to a bully, they’ll never stop, said Nick.
“Yah, but they weren’t bullying you. You made it your fight,” said Buttons.
“Johnny’s old and can’t fight back. Somebody had to stick up for him,”said Nick pressing the cold can of Coke aside his nose.
The boys left Martini’s. Nick walked over to Johnny and handed him sub. Johnny took the sub and tipped his hat to Nick.
“I have to find a way to go to college anyplace but here,” said Nick.
Buttons didn’t say anything. The subject changed to sports, girls, and Christmas. By the time they got home, the fight was forgotten.
Nick has a good heart. Come by tomorrow and see where our story is headed.
We are all a part of every person we have ever met. – Alfred Lord Tennyson
Life comes at us in strange ways. It often comes at us in unexpected ways we never saw coming. When we recognize the gift life offers in the moment, I call it grace. To accept the gift and be grateful for it, is an ever greater outpouring of grace. Be inspired by this woman’s brief story of her gift. It may change your life.
All that happens to us, including our humiliations, our misfortunes, our embarrassments, all is given to us as raw material, as clay, so that we may shape our art – Jorge Luis Borges
Practicing gratefulness changes us. It opens our eyes and hearts to the small and large gifts life offers us at every moment. We can be grateful for the sun, run, or snow. We can be grateful for a friend, job, or shower. We can be grateful for our morning coffee, ballgames won, or a family member. The list is endless. In the following video see how this woman decided to place gratitude into the center of her life.
<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/121724954″>Lori's story – Gratitude Grows.</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/user612630″>hailey bartholomew</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a>.</p>
One can choose to go back toward safety or forward toward growth. Growth must be chosen again and again; fear must be overcome again and again. ~ Abraham Maslow
Good morning writers. It’s time to be inspired by Stephen King. When we keep our bucket empty, there is always room for more. This rule applies to all aspects of life. No one has all the answers. No one has the singular true perspective of life. We need each others. We are a community. When we are a community of learners, we become each other’s teacher and student. Today, Stephen King is our teacher. Get Inspired.
Sometimes life’s problems weigh us down. Sometimes the struggle to go on may overwhelm us. But through it all, life is a gift, it is a wonderful, amazing, awesome gift. It’s beauty is in those we love and in those who love us. It’s in a blue sky, the winter’s first snow, or spring’s first flower. It surrounds us. It never leave us. Today I will open my eyes and my heart to this wonderful gift of life – I hope you do the same.