Let There Be Light!

Until a few years ago, I failed to appreciate the bright lights illuminating stores, streets, and homes in the cities of the United States. Working in Thailand, Malaysia, and Brazil on mission projects over the last decade, I discovered that lights are not as abundant or as bright as they are in our cities.

Here, we go in a Kroger store day or night and the lighting is about the same. Lots of lights, extremely bright. This is not true in similarly busy groceries stores in those countries.

When we were driven down a primary artery in Kuala Lumpur after dark, we first thought there must have been a loss of power because the lights were dim. But we soon realized this is a way of life there. Streets off the main highways are dark in many parts of cities in these countries. Personal safety is at risk if you choose to walk or drive on such streets at night.

When I come home after these projects, I look forward to bright lights and a more comfortable feeling as I walk the streets and drive the interstate highways.

Which Wolf Do You Feed?

Here is a powerful Cherokee legend about two wolves.

An elderly chief was teaching his grandson about life. “A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy. “It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves.

“One is evil. He is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, self-doubt, and ego.

“The other is good. He is joy, peace, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you, and inside every other person, too.”

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked the grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”

The chief simply replied, “The one you feed.”

I always have a choice how I will react to an event or action. It is determined by whichever wolf I feed.

Follow Your Own Advice

One of my most frequent admonitions in my communication seminars is that it never hurts to ask questions for you never know unless you ask. Recently I was checking into the Grove Park Inn to present one of my seminars. There was a gatekeeper stopping all cars and giving them instructions on where to go so that the bellmen could help them and park their cars. I did not want to get that involved in simply parking my car and getting my luggage to my room.

I looked around and saw a parking lot to my right. I wondered why people were not simply turning right and parking in some of the open spaces. When it came my turn and the young man was preparing to give me the same instructions as he had everyone before me, I simply asked, “Is it all right for me to park myself in the parking lot to my right?”

His response was, “Sure, that’s fine.”  I quickly found an empty space, parked my car, and carried my suitcase to check-in. Within minutes I was happily set in my room.

As I was checking in, I found that by parking myself I saved seven dollars. Actually, when I checked out the next day, the lady at the registration desk simply said, “Oh, just forget it. No charge.”

There is a statement in Alice in Wonderland that applies to this story. She said, “I give myself very good advice…but I very seldom follow it. That explains the trouble I’m always in.”  This is one of the few times that I was able to accept my own advice as well as give it.


Too Old for Mt. LeConte

I have often thought of climbing Mount LeConte in the Smokies. But as I have gotten older, the thought seems less realistic. The hike to the top of Mount LeConte is eight miles in length and reaches an elevation of nearly 7,000 feet. You can access the peak only by hiking. I realized that was not a good excuse when we met a gentleman on Little River Trail this past weekend.

As we chatted we found that he was a native of the area and that hiking the Smoky Mountains was one of his favorite pastimes. I asked him if he had ever hiked to the top of Mount LeConte. His response was “Seventy-eight times.”

My reaction was one of wonder and I said, “That is a lot for a lifetime.”

“No,” he replied, “that was last year. Usually I hike that trail about 100 times per year.”  I was completely flummoxed by that piece of information. Then he added, “I’m eighty years old.”

That changed my perspective on my own expectations. When you meet someone like this retired businessman, you may find a different standard of measurement of what you can or cannot do.