Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Captain McDanial

The twenty year old soldier, recently reduced in rank from buck sergeant to buck private, stood outside base headquarters and read his orders again. "Report to Captain McDanial at..."
        No doubt this Captain McDanial would know of the private’s recent release from the base stockade at Fukuoka after serving five months of a six months sentence for stealing $420.00 of military script money and a .45 caliber pistol from the 2nd Airdrome Squadron’s post office.
        Might as well get ready for a nasty chewing out, he mumbled to himself as he hoisted his duffle bag to his shoulder and climbed the steps to the entryway. After stepping inside and setting his belongings down in an out of the way spot, he surveyed the orderly room. The first sergeant was sitting at a desk near the wooden railing and three other clerical types were beyond him, two seated at desks, and one at a filing cabinet.
        The private nervously handed over his orders to the first sergeant and said, "I am to report to Captain McDanial."
        "Oh, you’re private _____. The captain said he wants to see you the moment you got here. He has a special assignment for you. Door on your left at the end of the room. Knock three times and wait until he says, 'come in,' before you enter, then march up to his desk, come to attention and salute."
        Yikes, the private said to himself, as he headed toward the Captain's door. A special assignment? Looks like I’m in for it now!
        The 'come in,' command was sharp and authoritative. The private braced himself for the ordeal and taking a deep breath opened the door and strode to within three paces of the captain’s desk where he saluted and said, "Private _______ reporting as ordered sir."
        "Stand at ease, private. I’ve read the transcript of your courts martial. That, and a copy of your conduct while in the stockade were forwarded to me by your commanding officer. I note that you achieved trustee status after two months, and that your conduct was that of a model soldier in confinement. Because of this, I’ve decided to give you a special assignment. Perhaps the first sergeant mentioned this to you?"
        "Yes sir. He did."
        "Good," he said, as he got to his feet while opening and reaching inside the top drawer of his desk.
        "Here," the Captain said, as he stretched out his hand toward the private. "Here is $420.00 in military script. Go to the base post office and buy a money order with it. On your way, get your barracks assignment from the first sergeant, then report to me tomorrow morning at 0800 hours with the money order. Any questions?"
        The private was too astounded to formulate a question! Here was this captain, who only knew of him what he had read in the courts martial transcript, entrusting him with $420.00 in military script money - the exact amount he and his partner in crime had stolen. By giving him until tomorrow morning to complete the special assignment, the captain had created the opportunity for the private to get a great head start if he decided to go AWOL with it. Why was the captain doing this?
        "No questions, sir."
        "Good. Dismissed."
        The private came to attention, saluted, did an about-face and strode briskly to the door. He turned the knob, pulled the door towards him and while momentarily facing the captain said, "Sir?"
        The captain looked up.
        "Thank-you, sir," the private sang in a joyous voice!
        The captain waved him out.
        The private almost skipped down the street towards the base post office he was so thrilled at the trust this Captain McDanial had placed in him. How could the private do anything else when the captain had so clearly demonstrated his faith in him?
        Captain McDanial's 'special assignment' was much more than a routine chore. It was an opportunity for the private to restore his dignity.
        Postscript: Later in that month of April 1948, Captain McDanial arranged a thirty day emergency leave for the private when the private received news that his older sister had been involved in an automobile accident and was not expected to live.
        It has been said that people come into our lives for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. Captain McDanial (his real name) was one of those persons that come into our lives for a reason. The private has never seen, or heard, from the captain again; but he has never forgotten him and what he did for the private with his 'Special Assignment.'

Thursday, 4 January 2018



As Gandhi stepped aboard a train one day, one of his shoes slipped off and landed on the track. He was unable to retrieve it as the train was moving. To the amazement of his companions, Gandhi calmly took off his other shoe and threw it back along the track to land close to the first. Asked by a fellow passenger why he did so, Gandhi smiled. "The poor man who finds the shoes lying on the track," he replied, "will now have a pair he can use."

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

Stone Soup

Stone Soup

Many years ago three soldiers, hungry and weary of battle, came upon a small village. The villagers, suffering a meager harvest and the many years of war, quickly hid what little they had to eat and met the three at the village square, wringing their hands and bemoaning the lack of anything to eat.
        The soldiers spoke quietly among themselves and the first soldier then turned to the village elders. "Your tired fields have left you nothing to share, so we will share what little we have: the secret of how to make soup from stones."
        Naturally the villagers were intrigued and soon a fire was put to the town's greatest kettle as the soldiers dropped in three smooth stones. "Now this will be a fine soup", said the second soldier; "but a pinch of salt and some parsley would make it wonderful!" Up jumped a villager, crying "What luck! I've just remembered where some's been left!" And off she ran, returning with an apronful of parsley and a turnip. As the kettle boiled on, the memory of the village improved: soon barley, carrots, beef and cream had found their way into the great pot, and a cask of wine was rolled into the square as all sat down to feast.
        They ate and danced and sang well into the night, refreshed by the feast and their new-found friends. In the morning the three soldiers awoke to find the entire village standing before them. At their feet lay a satchel of the village's best breads and cheese. "You have given us the greatest of gifts: the secret of how to make soup from stones", said an elder, "and we shall never forget." The third soldier turned to the crowd, and said: "There is no secret, but this is certain: it is only by sharing that we may make a feast". And off the soldiers wandered, down the road.
        - Aesop
        "The miracle is this - the more we share, the more we have." - Leonard Nimoy

Saturday, 30 December 2017

The Wise Sage

The Wise Sage

There once was a wise sage who wandered the countryside. One day, as he passed near a village, he was approached by a woman who told him of a sick child nearby. She beseeched him to help this child.

        So the sage came to the village, and a crowd gathered around him, for such a man was a rare sight. One woman brought the sick child to him, and he said a prayer over her.

        "Do you really think your prayer will help her, when medicine has failed?" yelled a man from the crowd.

        "You know nothing of such things! You are a stupid fool!" said the sage to the man.

        The man became very angry with these words and his face grew hot and red. He was about to say something, or perhaps strike out, when the sage walked over to him and said: "If one word has such power as to make you so angry and hot, may not another have the power to heal?"

        And thus, the sage healed two people that day.

        "Language does have the power to change reality. Therefore, treat your words as the mighty instruments they are - to heal, to bring into being, to nurture, to cherish, to bless, to forgive." - Daphne Rose Kingma

Sunday, 24 December 2017

The beautiful flower in the broken pot

The Beautiful Flower In The Broken Pot

Our house was directly across the street from the clinic entrance of Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. We lived downstairs and rented the upstairs rooms to out patients at the clinic.

        One summer evening as I was fixing supper, there was a knock at the door. I opened it to see a truly awful looking man. "Why, he's hardly taller than my eight-year-old," I thought as I stared at the stooped, shriveled body. But the appalling thing was his face, lopsided from swelling, red and raw.

        Yet his voice was pleasant as he said, "Good evening. I've come to see if you've a room for just one night. I came for a treatment this morning from the eastern shore, and there's no bus 'til morning."

        He told me he'd been hunting for a room since noon but with no success, no one seemed to have a room. "I guess it's my face... I know it looks terrible, but my doctor says with a few more treatments..."

        For a moment I hesitated, but his next words convinced me: "I could sleep in this rocking chair on the porch. My bus leaves early in the morning."

        I told him we would find him a bed, but to rest on the porch. I went inside and finished getting supper. When we were ready, I asked the old man if he would join us. "No thank you. I have plenty." And he held up a brown paper bag.

        When I had finished the dishes, I went out on the porch to talk with him a few minutes. It didn't take a long time to see that this old man had an oversized heart crowded into that tiny body. He told me he fished for a living to support his daughter, her five children, and her husband, who was hopelessly crippled from a back injury.

        He didn't tell it by way of complaint; in fact, every other sentence was preface with a thanks to God for a blessing. He was grateful that no pain accompanied his disease, which was apparently a form of skin cancer. He thanked God for giving him the strength to keep going.

        At bedtime, we put a camp cot in the children's room for him. When I got up in the morning, the bed linens were neatly folded and the little man was out on the porch.

        He refused breakfast, but just before he left for his bus, haltingly, as if asking a great favor, he said, Could I please come back and stay the next time I have a treatment? I won't put you out a bit. I can sleep fine in a chair." He paused a moment and then added, "Your children made me feel at home. Grownups are bothered by my face, but children don't seem to mind." I told him he was welcome to come again.

        And on his next trip he arrived a little after seven in the morning.

        As a gift, he brought a big fish and a quart of the largest oysters I had ever seen. He said he had shucked them that morning before he left so that they'd be nice and fresh. I knew his bus left at 4:00 a.m. and I wondered what time he had to get up in order to do this for us.

        In the years he came to stay overnight with us there was never a time that he did not bring us fish or oysters or vegetables from his garden.

        Other times we received packages in the mail, always by special delivery; fish and oysters packed in a box of fresh young spinach or kale, every leaf carefully washed. Knowing that he must walk three miles to mail these, and knowing how little money he had made the gifts doubly preciou s.

        When I received these little remembrances, I often thought of a comment our next-door neighbor made after he left that first morning.

        "Did you keep that awful looking man last night? I turned him away! You can lose roomers by putting up such people!"

        Maybe we did lose roomers once or twice. But oh! If only they could have known him, perhaps their illnesses would have been easier to bear.

        I know our family always will be grateful to have known him; from him we learned what it was to accept the bad without complaint and the good with gratitude to God.

        Recently I was visiting a friend, who has a greenhouse, as she showed me her flowers, we came to the most beautiful one of all, a golden chrysanthemum, bursting with blooms. But to my great surprise, it was growing in an old dented, rusty bucket. I thought to myself, "If this were my plant, I'd put it in the loveliest container I had!"

        My friend changed my mind. "I ran short of pots," she explained, and knowing how beautiful this one would be, I thought it wouldn't mind starting out in this old pail. It's just for a little while, till I can put it out in the garden."

        She must have wondered why I laughed so delightedly, but I was imagining just such a scene in heaven. "Here's an especially beautiful one," God might have said when he came to the soul of the sweet old fisherman. "He won't mind starting in this small body."

        All this happened long ago - and now, in God's garden, how tall this lovely soul must stand.

- Sent from Inspirational Short Stories

Saturday, 23 December 2017

The painter and the child

The Painter and The Child

Centuries ago a great artist was engaged to paint a mural for the cathedral in a Sicilian town. The subject was the life of Christ. For many years the artist labored diligently, and finally the painting was finished except for the two most important figures: the Christ Child and Judas Iscariot. He searched far and wide for suitable models.

        One day while walking in the city he came upon some children playing in the street. Among them was a 12-year-old boy whose face stirred the painter's heart. The artist took the child home with him, and day after day the boy sat patiently until the face of the Christ Child was finished. But the painter still had found no model for the portrait of Judas.

        The story of the unfinished masterpiece spread afar, and many men, fancying themselves of wicked countenance, offered to pose for Judas. But in vain the old painter looked for Judas, as he envisioned him-a man warped by life, enfeebled by surrender to greed and lust.

        Then one afternoon as he sat in a tavern, a gaunt and tattered figure staggered across the threshold. 'Wine, wine,' he begged. The startled painter looked into a face that seemed to bear the marks of every sin of mankind. "Greatly excited, the old painter said, 'Come with me, and I will give you wine.'

        For many days the painter worked feverishly to complete his masterpiece. As the work went on, a change came over the model. A strange tension replaced the stuporous languor, and his bloodshot eyes were fixed with horror on the painted likeness of himself.

        One day, perceiving his subject's agitation, the painter paused in his work. "My son," he said, "what troubles you so?"

        The man buried his face in his hands, sobbing. After a long moment he lifted pleading eyes to the old painter's face. "Do you not then remember me? Years ago I was your model for the Christ Child.'"

        - Hugh B. Brown

- Sent from Inspirational Short Stories

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

You are my Life

You Are My Life

There was a boy in India who was sent by his parents to a boarding school. Before being sent away this boy was the brightest student in his class. He was at the top in every competition. He was a champion.

        But the boy changed after leaving home and attending the boarding school. His grades started dropping. He hated being in a group. He was lonely all the time. And there were especially dark times when he felt like committing suicide. All of this because he felt worthless and that no one loved him.

        His parents started worrying about the boy. But even they did not know what was wrong with him. So his dad decided to travel to the boarding school and talk with him.

        They sat on the bank of the lake near the school. The father started asking him casual questions about his classes, teachers and sports. After some time his dad said, 'Do you know son, why I am here today?"

        The boy answered back, "to check my grades?"

        "No, no" his dad replied, "I am here to tell you that you are the most important person for me. I want to see you happy. I don't care about grades. I care about you. I care about your happiness. YOU ARE MY LIFE."

        These words caused the boy's eyes to fill with tears. He hugged his dad. They didn't say anything to each other for a long time.

        Now the boy had everything he wanted. He knew there was someone on this earth who cared for him deeply. He meant the world to someone. And today this young man is in college at the top of his class and no one has ever seen him sad!

        Thanks a lot dad. YOU ARE MY LIFE.

        - Viraj Bhandare

        "Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around." - Leo Buscaglia

- Sent from Inspirational Short Stories App

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Who is There?

Someone knocked at the door of the Beloved and a voice from within inquired: "Who is there?" He answered, "It is I." And the voice said, "This house will not hold me and thee." So the door remained closed.

        Then the lover sped away into the wilderness and fasted and prayed. After a year he returned and knocked again at the door and the voice again demanded: "Who is there?" And the lover said, "It is thou."

        The door was opened.

        - Jalal ad-Din Rumi

Monday, 11 December 2017

Last Respects

One day not too long ago the employees of a large company in St. Louis, Missouri returned from their lunch break and were greeted with a sign on the front door. The sign said: "Yesterday the person who has been hindering your growth in this company passed away. We invite you to join the funeral in the room that has been prepared in the gym."

        At first everyone was sad to hear that one of their colleagues had died, but after a while they started getting curious about who this person might be.

        The excitement grew as the employees arrived at the gym to pay their last respects. Everyone wondered: "Who is this person who was hindering my progress? Well, at least he's no longer here!"

        One by one the employees got closer to the coffin and when they looked inside it they suddenly became speechless. They stood over the coffin, shocked and in silence, as if someone had touched the deepest part of their soul.

        There was a mirror inside the coffin: everyone who looked inside it could see himself. There was also a sign next to the mirror that said: "There is only one person who is capable to set limits to your growth: it is YOU.

        You are the only person who can revolutionize your life. You are the only person who can influence your happiness, your realization and your success. You are the only person who can help yourself.

        Your life does not change when your boss changes, when your friends change, when your parents change, when your partner changes, when your company changes. Your life changes when YOU change, when you go beyond your limiting beliefs, when you realize that you are the only one responsible for your life.

        "The most important relationship you can have, is the one you have with yourself."

- Sent from Inspirational Short Stories

Saturday, 9 December 2017

Good People

An old man sat outside the walls of a great city. When travelers approached, they would ask the old man, "What kind of people live in this city?" The old man would answer, "What kind of people live in the place where you came from?" If the travelers answered, "Only bad people live in the place where we came from," the old man would reply, "Continue on; you will find only bad people here."

        But if the travelers answered, "Good people live in the place where we came from," then the old man would say, "Enter, for here too, you will find only good people."
        - A Yiddish Folk Tale

- Sent from Inspirational Short Stories (android app)