Sunday, December 11, 2011

BITS AND PIECES


There is a poem that often comes to mind - Bits and Pieces. When I look back on my life, I can see the bits and pieces that have combined to make me who I am.


"Bits and pieces, bits and pieces.
People. 
People important to you, 
People unimportant to you cross your life, 
touch it with love and move on.
There are people who leave you and you breathe a sigh of relief
and wonder why you ever came in contact with them.
There are people who leave you, and you breathe a sigh of remorse
and wonder why they had to go and leave such a gaping hole.
Children leave parents,
Friends leave friends.
Acquaintances move on.
People change homes.
People grow apart.
Enemies hate and move on.
Friends love and move on.
You think of the many people who have moved in and out of your hazy memory.
You look at those present and wonder.
I believe in God's master plan in lives.
He moves people in and out of each other's lives,
and each leaves a mark on the other.
You find that you are made up of bits and pieces of all who
have ever touched your life.
You are more because of them, and would be less 
if they had not touched you.
Pray that you accept the bits and pieces in humility and wonder,
and never question and never regret.
Bits and pieces,
Bits and pieces"
~ God is No Fool
Lou Cheney


Along with people who have made me who I am, there are also the gifts and wounds that have shaped me. In many ways our lives are all unique. We have all had various bits and pieces that have made us who we are today. This process will continue throughout our lives. I am now 59, I am nothing like I was at 19, 29, 39 or even 49, as so many more bits and pieces have been added to the mosaic of my life. I am the composite of all the bits and pieces that have touched my life. While at Abilene Christian University, in the early 1970's, I would sit every Wednesday night with nearly a thousand people listening to Landon Saunders. Landon seemed to have his finger firmly planted on the pulse of what people, in general, were feeling. He is still around today and I would recommend you explore his website, http://www.heartbeat.org and get to know him. He and Mike Cope may be helpful to some of you.


So, where do we go from here? I would say we should embrace and reflect on our gifts, wounds, failures, successes and all the people who have touched our lives -- All of those combined made you who you are today. I could look back and wish I had been born into a wealthy family, outside of the inner-city, with ideal parents, a wonderful education and not made all of the screw-ups at which I excelled, BUT - I wouldn't be who I am today. I am thankful I grew up in Richmond, California. I am thankful I had to read more to catch up with those kids in the suburbs. I am even thankful for the failures in my life. If I had been raised in a wealthy family, etc... I wouldn't be able to empathize with people who are truly in pain. I have known pain and I have come out of it stronger than before. I have seen the bottom of what my life has shown me, (so far), and I know the exhilaration and joy of crawling out of that hole.

These are tough times and they call for tough people.

J.K. Rowling spoke at the Harvard Commencement in 2008. She spoke as a successful author of the Harry Potter series and the richest woman in Great Britain, (Even richer than the Queen). Yet, when she started writing about Harry, she was on welfare. Below are some excerpts followed by part of her address (Video at the bottom):

"You might never fail on the scale I did, but sometimes failure in life is inevitable. It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all - in which case, you fail by default.

'Failure gave me an inner security that I had never attained by passing examinations. Failure taught me things about myself that I could have learned no other way. I discovered that I had a strong will, and more discipline than I suspected; I also found out that I had friends whose value was truly above the price of rubies.

'The knowledge that you have emerged wiser and stronger from setbacks means that you are, ever after, secure in your ability to survive. You will never truly know yourself, or the strength of your relationships, until both have been tested by adversity. Such knowledge is a true gift, for all that it is painfully won and it has been worth more than any qualification I have ever earned."

So, I leave you with bits and pieces. The bits and pieces that have made up your life. Embrace who you are and look deep within to find the uniqueness that sets you apart. Take the things you have learned in your successes and failures and move forward. It time time for you to seize the day! 

Peace,
~Al