Generous Gratitude

The date was July 16, 2008.  I was a little “down in the dumps.”  I hadn’t exercised lately because of my travelling schedule and recently I’d experienced some mild bouts of vertigo (that inner ear condition that can cause the room to start spinning.  My presentation was scheduled for 7:00 PM, but I had been invited to show up at 6:00 to see a performance they said I’d enjoy.  Little did I know I was about to see something I would never forget.

They introduced the young musician.  Welcome…Mr. Patrick Henry Hughes.  He was rolled onto the stage in his wheelchair, and began to play the piano.  His fingers danced across the keys as he made beautiful music.He then began to sing as he played, and it was even more beautiful.  For some reason, however, I knew that I was seeing something special.  There was this aura about him that I really can’t explain and the smile…his smile was magic!About ten minutes into Patrick’s performance, someone came on the stage and said…”I’d like to share a 7-minute video titled, The Patrick Henry Hughes story.”  And the lights went dim.

Patrick Henry Hughes was born with no eyes, and a tightening of the joints which left him crippled for life.  However, as a child, he was fitted with artificial eyes and placed in a wheelchair.  Before his first birthday, he discovered the piano.  His mom said, “I could hit any note on the piano, and within one or two tries, he’d get it.”  By his second birthday, he was playing requests (You Are My Sunshine, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star).  His father was ecstatic.  “We might not play baseball, but we can play music together.”Today, Patrick is a junior at the University of Louisville.  His father attends classes with him and he’s made nearly all A’s, with the exception of 3 B’s.  He’s also a part of the 214 member marching band.  You read it right…the marching band!  He’s a blind, wheelchair-bound trumpet player; and he and his father do it together.  They attend all the band practices and the half-time performance in front of thousands.  His father rolls and rotates his son around the field to the cheers of Patrick’s fans. In order to attend Patrick’s classes and every band practice, his father works the graveyard shift at UPS.  Patrick said…”My dad’s my hero.”

But even more than his unbelievable musical talent, it was Patrick’s “attitude of gratitude” that touched my soul.  On stage, between songs, he would talk to the audience about his life and about how blessed he was.  He said, “God made me blind and unable to walk.  BIG DEAL!  He gave me the ability…the musical gifts I have…the great opportunity to meet new people.”When his performance was over, Patrick and his father were on the stage together.  The crowd rose to their feet and cheered for over five minutes.  It gave me giant goose bumps!My life was ready to meet Patrick Henry Hughes.  I needed a hero, and I found one for the ages.  If I live to be a hundred, I’ll never forget that night, that smile, that music, but most importantly, that wonderful “attitude of gratitude.”I returned to Chicago and shared Patrick’s story with my wife, my friends, and our team at Simple Truths.  About two weeks later, I received a letter from a friend.  He said, “Mac, I don’t know who said it, but I think you’ll love this quote.”“Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass…it’s about learning how to dance in the rain!”I thought- that’s it!  We all face adversity in our life.  However, it’s not the adversity, but how we react to it that will determine the joy and happiness in our life.  During tough times, do we spend too much time feeling sorry for ourselves, or, can we, with gratitude…learn how to dance in the rain?It almost sounds too simple to feel important, but one word…gratitude, can change your attitude, thus, your life, forever.  Sarah Breathnack said it best…

“When we choose not to focus on what is missing from our lives but are grateful for the abundance that’s present….we experience heaven on earth.”

Learning to Dance in the Rain [Excerpts from a book by Mac Anderson and BJ Gallagher] Global Nomad24th August 2009

Generous Trust

A public holiday was fast approaching and the owner of a hardware store was concerned how he could best serve his many loyal customers. He had a challenging situation. For the weekend leading to a key holiday, when many folk would be shopping for gifts, he realised that he would not have sufficient staff to keep the store open. Should he close or was there another way.

Wrestling with this unique situation, he felt he must keep it open, even if noone was there to supervise it. There was no other way. He had urgent business elsewhere. So he went ahead, drafted some special notices explaining the situation, opened the store  and left it without anyone in charge. What generous trust in the local community. What would he find on his return to close up the store in the evening.

Amazingly he found everything in order, many good sales with people leaving the payment in a box for him and even some special “tokens of appreciation” from very satisfied customers. Nothing had been stolen or damaged. This was a tremendous tesimonial for the community and for the client/manager realtionship that had been built up over the years.

Generous trust had been honoured to the full…..

Global Nomad
14 August 2009

Generosity in the park

What a wonderful surprise to meet up with an ingenious mother and her youngsters in our local park. It is an intriguing area that has been reclaimed and redsigned from the local railway track to a discovery experience extending up into the small valleys that are part of a the low hills surrounding the town.

The youngsters looked really  comfortable in their modern two-tier push-chair but I also noticed that the mother had a folder open across the basket section of the pushchair. Being curious, I enquired about the mystery activity. I discovered that they were on a “nature discovery” trip. Mum had thoughtfully downloaded and printed sheet of photos with brief descriptions of the main animals, trees and plants that they might encounter in the area. As a plant, tree or animal was spotted excitedly, then a sticker was placed on the photo in the album.

This was a tremendous joy for me to see. A family learning together. A mum taking time and thought to choose, download and present in a fun way –  the various materials as part of the exploration.The latest byte technology was being used to the full.   I’m sure that the youngsters will remember such events with pleasure and appreciation in the years ahead.

Be creative!

Global Nomad

08 August 2009

Business Generosity

When one encounters excellence in business, it is refreshing and inspiring. This can happen in the seemingly insignificant areas of life such as travel and tourism or in major contracts and mega business deals. The principles are there actively working in the minds, hearts and spirits of those orchestrating the deals. Individuals and companies who charters of operation embrace the ancient principles from the People of the Book both then and now, show resulots that are impacting and often astounding.

With most applicances and even living objects it is good to obtain a Maker’s Manual and to consult it regularly.  The Creator’s Manual has so much to say about business and the interaction of individual with individual, family with family, community with communtiy. Some of these foundational principles are worth re-visiting:

Kindness for  the poor
Generosity towards the client
Integrity in negotiation and business transactions
Extra mile philosphy
Caring for the disadvantaged
Fairness towards the employee
Provision for the travellers

We have highlighted in previous posts about the immense generosity in Creation. The sun shines on all of creation.  Thus the principle of kindness to those who are facing challenges or hardship is inherant in the Creator’s thoughts. It does seem that in His original plan  there would be adequate if not generous provision for all His Creation. The verse in the His Music Manual says that He opens His hands and supplies the needs of every living creature, so that is pretty generous and fairly comprehensive in coverage….

More later….

Global Hand

07 August 2009