Monday, December 16, 2013

Time to Wake Up?

Image courtesy of Ilker

A Buddhist monk strode into a Zen pizza parlor and said, "Make me one with everything." The proprietor appreciated the Zen humor and, when the monk paid with $20 bill, the guy pocketed it. 

"Hey," asked the monk, "where's my change?"

"Change," replied the owner inscrutably, "must come from within."

And it's true: we can wait for things to change or we can change ourselves. One way rarely works while the other rarely fails.

I have a friend who used to teach literature to high school students. He once told me how maligned the name of Ebenezer Scrooge has become. “Dickens never meant for Scrooge to be a villain,” he once said, speaking of Charles Dickens' classic “Christmas Carol.” Yes, Scrooge was a miser and disliked by pretty much everybody. But my friend reminds me that the story doesn't end there. It doesn't end with Scrooge dying a miserable and lonely death. The point of the story is that Scrooge WAKES UP. After the restless night of ghost visitations, he wakes up and decides that things truly can be different. He can choose to be compassionate, generous and happy. He understands that he can behave toward others in a different way. He can look at things differently. His miserable past does not need to determine his future. His life story illustrates the words of George Elliot: “It is never too late to be what you might have been.”

“To this day,” my friend says, “the name of Scrooge is synonymous with somebody stingy and selfish when it should be just the opposite. Scrooge woke up and made different decisions. He lived the rest of his life a model of generosity and joy and goodwill toward all. Nobody ever “kept Christmas,” Dickens tells us, like Ebenezer Scrooge.

I regularly remind myself that it is not too late to be what I might have been. And I'm learning that anything can happen...when I wake up and make different decisions.

-- Steve Goodier



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4 comments:

Marilyn said...

14 years ago I shared My life was Life Love and Laughter after being diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer. I have been very active in live with Cancer. I hit a wall and tried to write you once about it...but was too tired to fight with the computer. Today You talk about change again.. and there is Life love and Laughter.. How do I get it back? or Change when the door is closed to find knew meaning?

Susan L. States said...

Thank you for sharing I now see Scrooge in a different light just as Scrooge found himself seeing with different eyes. That is what I get when I read in scripture how Jesus restored sight to the blind. Christmas Blessings to all who read this message about Scrooge.

Shan said...

Just yesterday, I chose to do some things different to help improve my relationship with my adult daughter. Immediatly, my daughter felt so much better and we're on our way to recovery!

Steve Goodier said...

Marilyn, as you no doubt discovered with your illness, some problems cannot be fixed -- they must be managed. Your cancer may be one of those. And huge problems like that can steal life, love and laughter. I work hard to stay on top emotionally and I DON'T have cancer; your battle is even more difficult. You may need to embrace the little victories...a good day, a letter from a friend, a stranger's smile. In the end, I think life is really about the little things. They become the big things and in them we find meaning. I hope this helps...please don't walk this road alone.