Stay Calm, Help Is On the Way

A yellow and black help sign on a pole

The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart.” â€” Helen Keller

She is absolutely right!  The other day I was trying to address a package bound for Russia.  My son, who passed away in June of last year, had someone who was very close to him and lived there.  I had an engraving on a glass ornament with a picture of him that I wanted to send to her. She gave me her address but my wife and I were having difficulty determining how to meet the US Post Office’s requirement for a package leaving the states.  I called the secretary of our church to see if anyone in our congregation could help and was told there was no one that she knew of.  I decided to ask for help on our local area website.   Within 30 minutes I got a response from someone that gave me an online website he thought would help.  I went there but still wasn’t able to figure it out.  Fifteen minutes later I received an email from a young lady named Andrea and she said that she had lived there for a year while attending a Russian university and she was more than willing to help us.  Shortly, she arrived at our home and set to work filling out the necessary paperwork that would satisfy the Postal Service and ensure our package would arrive safely. 

We had been struggling with this problem for quite a long time, and as I watched her diligently complete her task I was overwhelmed with gratitude.  She had gone out of her way to help a stranger that was struggling with a problem she could easily handle.  I believe that is something we all should strive to do at every opportunity.  I do not know this woman very well but I sure wish she and her family were our neighbors.  We already have wonderful neighbors, but she would certainly be a welcomed addition. As she left our home, we stood on the porch and waved goodbye and watched her drive away.  What a wonderful feeling it is to encounter kindness from a total stranger.

The world is divided into three kinds of nations: those that spend a lot of money to keep their weight down; those whose people eat to live; and those that don’t know where their next meal is coming from… David Landes

I think old David is right with his comment about there being three kinds of nations.  As for myself, I have experienced all three.  In the first five years of my life I never knew when I would have my next meal.  I remember picking up orange peels on the side of the road to eat and that would be all the food I had for that day.  I lived with my grandparents (McCoy’s) and their youngest son was only two years older than I was.  He was diagnosed with rickets (Childhood disease caused by a deficiency of vitamin D and sunlight) and wouldn’t take his medicine unless I took it with him, so I did (the doctor said it was ok).  When I was five, I moved in with Mom & Dad (WWII was over), and I started getting regular meals but there wasn’t an abundance of food in our home.  We got three meals a day, there was nothing to snack on except leftover biscuits and cornbread, and a lot of times we ate the same thing day after day (green beans and potatoes).  After graduating from high school and joining the US Air Force, food became more plentiful, and my weight started climbing.  I weighed 156 lbs when I left home, and within a year I was up to 190.  Food was everywhere, and I didn’t know how to say no to all those tasty things that constantly beckoned me.  After a few years of eating everything I wanted, I decided I needed to slim down, so I tried all kinds of diets and diet pills.  I remember one prescription the doctor gave me made me so high that I was waving my hands at complete strangers on my way to work.  I was probably around 25 at the time.

So yes, I have been thru the three stages that David talks about and it is easy to decide which is the best stage to be in.  Luckily, I have devised a plan to deal with it, and it is working 😊.    

Shakespeare added 1,700 words to the English language during his lifetime.  That seems unimaginable to me.  That would almost be enough words for a primitive culture.  We add a lot of new words to our dictionary each year but we never know who coined them. 

It has been estimated that an English-speaking adult has command of 42,000 words at age 20 and 48,000 at age 60.  In comparison, a 1-year-old knows 50 words, a 3-year-old 1,000, a 4-year-old 5,000 and an 8-year-old 10,000. 

Of course, these are only estimates.  I seriously doubt that I know 48,000 words, and I’ll bet you doubt that you know that many.  It was estimated that Shakespeare knew 35,000 words.  Yup!  The same guy credited with adding 1,700 words to our dictionary. 

I’m of the opinion that it’s not necessarily important how many words you have in your arsenal, but how well you use the ones you have.  Great speakers don’t impress us with the vastness of their vocabulary, but by the way they craft their words to illustrate grand ideas, convincing us to do something they consider extraordinary. 

On January 20th, 1961, Jack Kennedy said, “Ask, not what your country can do for you…† We were impressed with his plea to think of country first. 

We can’t all be great speakers, or great writers, but we can try harder to express our thoughts in a meaningful and clear manner.  We can strive to make The Bard of Avon proud of us 😊.

Of course, Benjamin Franklin would chime in with, “Well done is better than well said.”  He may also have a point.

I was listening to a talk by Ali Muldrow the other day and she said that as a child there was very little crying in her family.  She was determined that when she had children, she would encourage them to show their emotions.  One day she walked into her very young daughter’s bedroom and she was crying.  Upon seeing her mother, the young girl tried to stifle her tears.  Getting down on her knees and looking her in the eyes, Mom said to her, “Sweetheart, teddy bears only drink tears, and they are thirstyâ€.  The little girl promised her mother to cry more so her teddy bears would have something to drink. 

What a wonderful way to show our children that it’s ok to express how you feel.  I think most of us are guilty of hiding how we really feel.  When criticized, most of us walk away feeling the pain but seldom showing it.  When sad, we suffer internally, never letting it show to the ones we love.  But, if we remember that teddy bears can only drink our tears, then we won’t be reluctant to cry when we need to.  My wife has about 200 teddies so she and I need to cry a lot.

“God gave us crying so other folks could see when we needed help and help us.†― Joshilyn Jackson