FIVE GREAT LESSONS OF LIFE
- Most Important Question ** During my second month of nursing
school, our professor gave us a pop quiz. I was a conscientious
student and had breezed through the questions, until I read the
last one: "What is the first name of the woman who cleans the school?"
Surely this was some kind of joke. I had seen the cleaning woman
several times. She was tall, dark-haired and in her 50s, but how
would I know her name? I handed in my paper, leaving the last question
blank. Before class ended, one student asked if the last question
would count toward our quiz grade. "Absolutely," said the professor.
"In your careers you will meet many people. All are significant.
They deserve your attention and care, even if all you do is smile
and say 'hello'." I've never forgotten that lesson. I also learned
her name was Dorothy.
- Remember those who serve ** In the days when an ice cream
sundae cost much less, a 10 year old boy entered a hotel coffee
shop and sat at a table. A waitress put a glass of water in front
of him. "How much is an ice cream sundae?" "Fifty cents," replied
the waitress. The little boy pulled his hand out of his pocket
and studied a number of coins in it. "How much is a dish of plain
ice cream?" he inquired. Some people were now waiting or a table
and the waitress was a bit impatient. "Thirty-five cents," she
said brusquely. The little boy again counted the coins. "I'll have
the plain ice cream," he said. The waitress brought the ice cream,
put the bill on the table and walked away. The boy finished the
ice cream, paid the cashier and departed. When the waitress came
back, she began wiping down the table and then swallowed hard at
what she saw. There, placed neatly beside the empty dish, were
two nickels and five pennies - her tip.
- The Obstacle in Our Path ** In ancient times, a king had
a boulder placed on a roadway. Then he hid himself and watched
to see if anyone would remove the huge rock. Some of the king's
wealthiest merchants and courtiers came by and simply walked around
it. Many loudly blamed the king for not keeping the roads clear,
but none did anything about getting the big stone out of the way.
Then a peasant came along carrying a load of vegetables. On approaching
the boulder, the peasant laid down his burden and tried to move
the stone to the side of the road. After much pushing and straining,
he finally succeeded. As the peasant picked up his load of vegetables,
he noticed a purse lying in the road where the boulder had been.
The purse contained many gold coins and a note from the king indicating
that the gold was for the person who removed the boulder from the
roadway. The peasant learned what many others never understand.
Every obstacle presents an opportunity to improve one's condition.
- Pickup in the Rain ** One night, at 11:30 PM, an older African
American woman was standing on the side of an Alabama highway trying
to endure a lashing rain storm. Her car had broken down and she
desperately needed a ride. Soaking wet, she decided to flag down
the next car. A young white man stopped to help her - generally
unheard of in those conflict-filled 1960s. The man took her to
safety, helped her get assistance and put her into a taxi cab.
She seemed to be in a big hurry! She wrote down his address, thanked
him and drove away. Seven days went by and a knock came on the
man's door. To his surprise, a giant console color TV was delivered
to his home. A special note was attached. It read: "Thank you so
much for assisting me on the highway the other night. The rain
drenched not only my clothes but my spirits. Then you came along.
Because of you, I was able to make it to my dying husband's bedside
just before he passed away. God bless you for helping me and unselfishly
serving others." Sincerely, Mrs. Nat King Cole
- Giving Blood ** Many years ago, when I worked as a volunteer
at Stanford Hospital, I got to know a little girl named Liz who
was suffering from a rare and serious disease. Her only chance
of recovery appeared to be a blood transfusion from her 5-year
old brother, who had miraculously survived the same disease and
had developed the antibodies needed to combat the illness. The
doctor explained the situation to her little brother, and asked
the boy if he would be willing to give his blood to his sister.
I saw him hesitate for only a moment before taking a deep breath
and saying, "Yes, I'll do it if it will save Liz." As the transfusion
progressed, he lay in bed next to his sister and smiled, as we
all did, seeing the color returning to her cheeks. Then his face
grew pale and his smile faded. He looked up at the doctor and asked
with a trembling voice, "Will I start to die right away?" Being
young, the boy had misunderstood the doctor; he thought he was
going to have to give his sister all of his blood.