The Good Word; our power to surprise and delight

“He was conscious of a thousand odors floating in the air, each one connected with a thousand thoughts, and hopes, and joys, and cares, long, long, forgotten.” ~ Charles Dickens

According to the writer of St. Luke’s gospel, an angel appears to shepherds at night and said “Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all the people.”  It is difficult to imagine the awe and happiness that they must have experienced.  A Good Word suddenly dispelled the darkness of night with the light of hope.

Every year without fail, I watch the 1951 Alastair Sim version of Scrooge, A Christmas Carol.

I imagine that the shepherds must have had the same dumbfounded expression on their faces that Bob Cratchit had when his boss, Scrooge the miser, gave him a raise and told him that life was going to be different from that day forward.  What an incredible privilege it is to bring good tidings, to speak well and to carry a message of hope! The changes that such communication brings to the lives of those who receive it are instant and have a lasting impact. And almost everyone will receive it.

Most of us are hungry for good tidings, good news and hope. When we hear it our spirits are lifted, we rise from the funk and the day takes on a glow of possibilities. It is hard to be dragged down after heeding a message of joy.  The great change is evidenced in the words of Charles Dickens in the closing of A Christmas Carol when he states “He (Scrooge) became as good a friend, as good a master, and as good a man, as the good old city knew, or any other good old city, town, or borough, in the good old world.”

We all have the opportunity to bring good tidings and spread them wherever we go to whomever we meet. It is just as easy as carrying a downcast, forlorn, morose and melancholy demeanor. We can surprise and delight people with a different message. 

We can make the astonishing offer of Scrooge when he says, “I’ll raise your salary, and endeavor to assist your struggling family, and we will discuss your affairs this very afternoon, over a Christmas bowl of smoking bishop, Bob.”  Now is the time to make the change. What is your good word? Are you bringing hope or discouragement? What do you have to add to the positive flow of life? What personal benediction do you have for your fellow human beings? Find the answer and carry the message!

It is Christmas time. Life is good. By the way, it is always good…and always has been!

Full Steam Ahead

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“Life is like a book.  Some chapters are sad, some happy, and some exciting.  But if you never turn the page…you never know what the next chapter holds.” ~ Zig Ziglar

The newest chapter of your story just opened.  Much has happened so far.  There have been friends, lovers, drama, disappointment, tragedy, thrills and spills.  It has every element of a best-seller.  Looking over the pages already written, there are things we might have scripted differently.

Hope Outdoor Gallery, Austin, TX

But then the unfolding would have been altered, making it almost impossible to reach this part.  What a tale it is.  How interesting and compelling.  Wouldn’t it be sad if we made it boring and dull by sitting around, feeling sorry for ourselves, doing little or nothing?  This newest chapter could hold the climax to the whole thing.

Life is all about participating fully.  We might need time for rest, reflection and refueling, but never need to languish so long that the adventure goes on without us.  God has given us an amazing gift of here and now.  He puts a pen in our hands and asks us author this page.

He gives us everything we need, waits with us, prays with us, celebrates with us and grieves with us.  He delights in what we do just as a parent delights in the development of the growing toddler.  Every step and every move are a source of joy.  As a grandfather, I get to hear wonderful stories about the never-a-dull-moment lives our little kids are living.

This is the nature of full participation.  No dull moments.  No time for self-pity.  No more resentment.  Write your story well.  Move on.  Just like my Dad often said. ‘Damn the torpedoes, full steam ahead’.

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Photos by Phillip LeConte

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Robert Kenneth Jones is an innovator in the treatment of addiction and childhood abuse.

In a career spanning over four decades, his work helping people recover from childhood abuse and addiction has earned him the respect of his peers.

His blog, An Elephant for Breakfast, testifies to the power of the human spirit to overcome the worst of life’s difficulties. We encourage you to visit and share this rich source of healing, inspiration and meditation.

Contact Bob Jones on Linkedin

Bob Jones’ blog An Elephant for Breakfast

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Enjoy The Ride

“Life can be great…but not when you can’t see it. So, open your eyes to life: to see it in the vivid colors that God gave us as a precious gift to His children, to enjoy life to the fullest, and to make it count. Say yes to your life.” ~ Nancy Reagan

I propose that the best option we have is to enjoy life with every fiber of our being.  The alternatives are bleak really, but the choice is ours to make. My personal credo for the past decade has been this; Life is a celebration. You just have to decide whether you are coming to the party or not.

There is nothing in the past that can sneak back into the present and drag you into its’ distant murky caves.  There is nothing in the future that can lift you to its’ sunny shores either.  Say ‘Yes’ to this morning.  Say ‘Yes’ to this afternoon.  Say ‘Yes’ to this evening.  Say ‘Yes’ to Life. Then loosen your tight grip and let go.  It’s your chance to embrace the moment. What are you waiting for?

“Live! Live! Live! Life is a banquet and most of you suckers are starving to death” ~ From the movie Aunie Mame

This is how I learned about loosening my grip on life.  Several years ago I was asked to go with my best friend Steve and his nephew Greg to an old, rather run down amusement park in the Smokey Mountains. It was not what I had in mind, but the kid really wanted to ride the rides. One of them was an ancient wooden roller-coaster.  It reeked of danger. But, like a good sport, I got in the seat and was buckled in.  I was holding on to the safety bar with all my might before the thing ever took flight. When Greg saw my grip he asked why I was so freaked out while just sitting there.  I was embarrassed and let go.  He said that his Uncle Steve always told him to hold his hands up in the air during the ride and that I should try it.  Not wanting to appear a chicken, I took his suggestion. It turned out to be the best roller coaster experience of my life.

So let’s all hop in…let go…and enjoy the ride! Why not? Life is Good.