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Tonight I want to share a story about the wooden bowl. I want you to think about how you treat other people and about how they treat you as you read this. What 3572wood_bowlswe do affects those around us so we should always be aware of our actions, our words, out thoughts and our touch.

A frail old man went to live with his son, daughter-in-law, and four-year-old grandson. The old man’s hands trembled, his eyesight was blurred, and his step faltered. The family ate together at the table. Nevertheless, the elderly grandfather‘s shaky hands and failing sight made eating difficult. Peas rolled off his spoon onto the floor. When he grasped the glass, milk spilled on 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. Since Grandfather had broken a dish or two, his food was served in a wooden bowl. When the family glanced in Grandfather’s direction, sometimes he had a tear in his eye as he sat alone. 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. One evening before supper, the father noticed his son playing with 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 words so struck the parents so that they were speechless. Then tears started to stream down their cheeks. Though no word was spoken, 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 he ate every meal with the family. Moreover, for some reason, neither husband nor wife seemed to care any longer when a fork was dropped, milk spilled, or the tablecloth soiled.

You know, no matter what happens, how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow. You can tell a lot about a person by the way they handle four things: a rainy day, the elderly, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights. Know that making a ‘living’ is not the same thing as making a ‘life.’ Know that life sometimes gives you a second chance. Know that you should not go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands. You need to be able to throw something back sometimes.

Know that if you pursue happiness, it will elude you. If you focus on your family, your friends, the needs of others, your work and doing the very best you can, happiness will find you. Know that whenever you decide something with an open heart, you usually make the right decision. Know that even when you have pains, you do not have to be one.

Know that 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.

Know that we all still have a lot to learn.

 

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