Wisdom from Charlie Brown

Charlie Brown

Today marks the end of eight consecutive years of weekly Perspectives articles. I don’t recall having missed a single week of these articles. That’s not intended to be braggadocios, just factual.

Frankly, every year at this time I ask myself whether I should keep writing. Just about the time I’m inclined to stop, I bump into or hear from someone who expresses heartfelt appreciation for an article he or she just read. That’s usually enough to keep me going. Time will tell.

In the meantime, this week I thought I’d share some wisdom from our friend Charlie Brown:

  • Life isn’t meant to be easy, it’s meant to be lived. Sometimes happy, other times rough. But with every up and down you learn lessons that make you strong.
  • As we grow up we realize it is less important to have lots of friends and more important to have real ones.
  • The smile on my face doesn’t mean my life is perfect. It means I appreciate what I have and what I have been blessed with. I choose to be happy.
  • There are moments in life when you miss someone so much you just want to pick them from your dreams and hug them for real.
  • The less you respond to rude, critical, argumentative people, the more peaceful your life will become.
  • I don’t have time to worry about who doesn’t like me. I’m too busy loving the people who love me.
  • A good laugh and a long sleep are the two best cures for anything.
  • Worrying won’t stop the bad stuff from happening. It just stops you from enjoying the good stuff.
  • You may feel lost and alone but God knows exactly where you are and he has a plan for your life.

Petrol Pump Wisdom

A_gas_pump,_Jacksonville,_FL

A Johannesburg South Africa filling station has become quite a landmark in Gauteng with its daily Petrol Pump Wisdom – uplifting quotes written on a chalkboard. Some motorists say they deliberately travel this route just to read the quote which brightens their day. Here are some:

  • Stop trying to make everybody happy. You’re not tequila.
  • Don’t do something permanently stupid because you’re temporarily upset.
  • Be who you needed when you were younger.
  • It’s better to walk alone than with a crowd going in the wrong direction.
  • If you have to choose between drinking wine or being skinny would you choose red or white?
  • When you forgive you heal. When you let go you grow.
  • Forgiveness does not change the past but it does enlarge the future.
  • In a world where you can be anything, be kind.
  • When you make a commitment you build hope. When you keep it you build trust.
  • May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears –Nelson Mandela
  • The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.
  • Why do we only rest in peace? Why don’t we live in peace also?

God bless your day!

Lessons Learned

My family and many of my friends know that although my taste in music is a bit eclectic, I mostly favor country and western and love songs. When I’m in the car on the road I pick my favorite Sirius channel, turn up the volume a bit, and sing to my heart’s content. I don’t know all the words to all the songs but that doesn’t stop me from trying to sing along.

One recent morning on the way to my office at Legacy Deo I was listening to Prime Country, mostly C&W songs I’ve known for years. That particular morning I heard Tracy Lawrence’s rendition of Lessons Learned. I thought the words worth sharing, so here we go:

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I was ten years old the day I got caught with some dime store candy that I never bought.
I hung my head and I faced the wall as Daddy showed me wrong from right.
He said this hurts me more than it does you. There’s just some things son, that you just don’t do.
Is anything I’m sayin’ gettin’ through? Daddy, I can see the light.

Oh lessons learned, man they sure run deep. They don’t go away and they don’t come cheap.
Oh, there’s no way around it, cause this world turns … on lessons learned.

Granddaddy was a man I loved. He bought me my first ball and glove,
Even taught me how to drive his old truck, circling that ol’ town square.
He spoke of life with a slow southern drawl. I never heard him cause I knew it all.
But I sure listened when I got the call … that he was no longer there.

Oh, lessons learned, man they sure run deep. They don’t go away and they don’t come cheap.
Oh, there’s no way around it, cause this world turns … on lessons learned.

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Many of us have learned lessons similar to those articulated in this song. Whether doing the stuff we knew was wrong or taking loved ones for granted or maybe even things that could be considered much more serious, lessons were learned, sometimes the hard way.

My father taught me many lessons during his lifetime of 66 years, six months, and four days. I also learned many lessons from my mother, still living today at the tender age of 101 years, two months, and five days. Lessons learned also came from my dear wife, children, grandchildren, pastors, teachers, peers, and friends. I thank God for all these special people in my life!

Even more significantly, I have learned lessons from the pages of Holy Scripture, many from the red-lettered words of Jesus himself such as these from his Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5:3-10):

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Aging

Elderly

Today’s quotes:

“It is not by the gray of the hair that one knows the age of the heart.”
– Edward R. Bulwer-Lytton

“To be 70 years young is sometime far more cheerful and hopeful than to be 40 years old.”
– Oliver Wendell Holmes

This week Terry and I are attending a conference on aging. We’re spending three days with a number of pastors and their spouses, all within a few years of my age. Some are a bit younger but all of us are at or near the three score plus ten number.

Most people who reach that age have experienced their share of joys and sorrows, victories and defeats, difficulties and blessings. That’s the stuff of which life is made.

Sorrows, defeats, and difficulties tend to accelerate the aging process, sometimes leading to pessimism, depression, or despair. Joys, victories, and blessings often delay the obvious signs of age and produce a greater sense of optimism, appreciation, and generosity.

Physical health, emotional wellbeing, and spiritual maturity are very significant factors in the onset, delay, and effect of the aging process. Those qualities matter at all times, especially in the last quarter of life, particularly for those who may already have heard the two minute warning.

Regardless of your age or attitude toward life, consider God’s message to the people of Israel through the prophet Isaiah: “Even when you’re old, I’ll take care of you. Even when your hair turns gray, I’ll support you.” Is. 46:4

Here’s to happy and graceful aging!

Sufficiency

bernard-baruchFor centuries many famous and quite a few not-so-famous people have uttered words of wisdom. At least several weeks I plan to share with you some of their observations, counsel, humor, and musings. At times I might offer a specific application that connects these words to a scriptural or spiritual principle. On other occasions I may simply let the quote speak for itself.

Some but not necessarily all of those I’ll be quoting are Christian. Wisdom and common sense are not possessed only by those who confess the Christian faith. Here’s today’s quote:

“There is not much difference, really, between the squirrel laying up nuts and the man laying up money. Like the squirrel, the man—at least at the start—is trying to provide for his basic needs. I don’t know much about squirrels, but I think they know when they have enough nuts. In this way they are superior to men, who often don’t know when they have enough, and frequently gamble away what they have in the empty hope of getting more.” Bernard M. Baruch (1870-1965)

Baruch also said: “To me, old age is always fifteen years older than I am.”

God bless your day!

Old Farmer’s Advice II

windmill-182287_1280Following last week’s first installment of Old Farmer’s Advice, I received many expressions of appreciation. Sometimes the simplest truisms hit home more precisely than lengthy profundities.

So here we go with the second installment of simple but true bits of wisdom from an old farmer:

• Live a good and honorable life, then when you get older and think back, you’ll enjoy it a second time.
• The biggest troublemaker you’ll probably ever have to deal with watches you from the mirror every mornin’.
• If you get to thinkin’ you’re a person of some influence, try orderin’ somebody else’s dog around.
• Good judgment comes from experience, and a lotta that comes from bad judgment.
• Live simply, love generously, care deeply, speak kindly, and enjoy the ride.
• Most of the stuff people worry about, ain’t never gonna happen anyway.
• Lettin’ the cat outta the bag is a whole lot easier than puttin’ it back in.
• If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop diggin’.
• Don’t interfere with somethin’ that ain’t bothering you none.
• Timing has a lot to do with the outcome of a rain dance.
• Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.
• Sometimes you get, and sometimes you get got.
• Always drink upstream from the herd.
• Don’t judge folks by their relatives.

Bet you can’t guess what I’ll write about next week! Stay tuned. Until then and even after then, I pray that God will bless you with both wit and wisdom!

Old Farmer’s Advice I

Credit: Robert S. Donovan / photo on flickr

Thanks to the many of you who responded to last week’s “I’m Ticked!” article. While I’d love to reply to each of you who went to the trouble to write, other responsibilities simply won’t allow that. Nevertheless, if you replied to last week’s article, thank you for doing so!

The one thing that was crystal clear in your responses is that, indeed, a bunch of folks have felt my pain when trying to conduct business over the phone by communicating with an automated response system. Some told me just to throw the useless statements in the trash. Others told me to cool it. One said I was overreacting. A few said cold beer would help!

This week and next week I plan to share some stuff I first saw several years ago. It’s not particularly theologically profound. Yet often practical theology is manifested in the common sense way of how and why we do some things and how and why we don’t do other things. So here we go, with the first installment of an old farmer’s advice:

A bumble bee is considerably faster than a John Deere tractor.
Your fences need to be horse-high, pig-tight and bull-strong.
Don’t corner something that you know is meaner than you.
Words that soak into your ears are whispered, not yelled.
Life is simpler when you plow around the stump.
It don’t take a very big person to carry a grudge.
Forgive your enemies; it messes up their heads.
When you wallow with pigs, expect to get dirty.
The best sermons are lived, not preached.
Keep skunks and bankers at a distance.
Meanness don’t just happen overnight.
You cannot unsay a cruel word.
Every path has a few puddles.

More advice from an old farmer will be added next time. God bless your week!