Many people have been struggling financially during the economic decline of the past several years.  Additionally, I’ve read how during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays it can often be a very difficult emotional time for people:  they remember a special person (or group of people) whom they used to be involved with at various gatherings and celebrations; but now the special person(s) in no longer available  (death, divorce, moved-away, etc.)   As a result,  depression and the sense of loss become very heavy.  For some, unfortunately, easing the pain and misery seems only possible by ending their life!

I’m sharing “The Wooden Bowl” as a way to encourage you to think of someone you know who might need some help or kind words — something which you can give of yourself that wont cost more than a little time, and maybe some gasoline!  Perhaps, something as simple as a phone-call to a friend or family member you haven’t spoken with for awhile can BRIGHTEN their day, and LIGHTEN their mood!

The story came to me many months ago (I have no idea how long ago) in one of those emails encouraging people to forward it!  You’ve probably had lots of those kinda things forwarded to you in the past — I know I have!  But, this one touched me a great deal.  So, I kept it, and made a few  editing changes which suited me — Below is the result.

A frail old man went to live with his son, daughter-in-law, and four-year-old grandson;  his eyesight was blurred and his steps faltered.

The family ate together at the same table.  But, the elderly grandfather’s shaky hands and failing sight made eating difficult for him: Peas rolled off his spoon, onto the floor; When he grasped the glass, milk spilled onto the tablecloth.

The son and daughter-in-law became irritated with the mess — ‘We must do something about father,’ said the son. ‘I’ve had enough of his spilled milk, noisy eating and food on the floor!’

So, the husband and wife set a small table in the corner — There, Grandfather ate alone while the rest of the family enjoyed dinner together.  And, since Grandfather had broken a dish or two, his food was served in a wooden bowl.  Still, the only words the couple had for him were sharp admonitions when he dropped a fork or spilled food. The four-year-old watched it all in silence.

When the family glanced in Grandfather’s direction he sometimes had a tear in his eye, as he sat alone.

One evening, before the meal was served, the father noticed his son playing with some wood-scraps on the floor. He asked the child sweetly, ‘What are you making?’  Just as sweetly, the boy responded, ‘Oh, I am making a little bowl for you and Mama to eat your food in when I grow up.’  The four-year-old smiled and went back to work.

The child’s words so struck the parents that they were speechless.  Then, tears started to stream down their cheeks.  Though no word was spoken between them, they both knew what must be done. That evening, the husband took Grandfather’s hand and gently led him back to the family table. For the remainder of his days, GranPa ate every meal with the family.  And, for some reason, neither husband nor wife seemed to care any longer when a fork was dropped, milk was spilled or the tablecloth became soiled.

Things I’ve learned:

  • No matter what happens or how bad it seems today, life does go on — very soon we will likely forget the cares we had just a short time ago
  • You can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles four things: a rainy day, the elderly, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas Tree lights
  • Making a ‘living’ is not the same thing as making a ‘life’
  • Life sometimes gives you a second chance
  • You shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands — You need to be able to throw something back occasionally
  • If you pursue happiness it will elude you — But, if you focus on your family, your friends, the needs of others, and doing the very best you can, happiness will find you
  • Whenever I decide something with an open heart I usually make the right decision
  • Even when I have pains I don’t have to be one
  • Every day you should reach out and touch someone:  People love that human touch — holding hands; a warm hug; or just a friendly pat on the back

And, the most important thing I’ve learned (which I oft times forget) — I still have a lot to learn!

Happy Holidays to you ALL! And, to your Loved Ones also!

May the year 2010 bring you  — Health and Happiness, Peace and Tranquility, Joy and Abundance! 😎

Please leave a comment!  (You can find the comment button at the top of this posting.)  I look forward to reading your thoughts and feelings.