I could not sleep. I was not worried or stressed out. I just could not sleep. When this happens, I take advantage to pray. Sometimes prayer cuddles me gradually in a sweet slumber. I read some psalms. I said the rosary. Nothing. My brain was as alert as ever.
I remembered I had still some phone calls to make. Living on this side of the world while some of my friends live on the other side has its advantages! My night is their day. So I spoke with one, and then with the other. Nothing! Wide awake I was. Wide awake I remained
Then, I remembered! My provincial had recommended a webpage that for some reason or another I never found the time to see. I surfed in and discovered it was a page full of inspirational stories, fun pages, Bible quotes and uplifting quotes…
I liked what I saw and what I read. And excited, I decided to jot down and share a number of them. Who knows, I said to myself… all this inability to sleep has all been caused by a guardian angel who wanted me to refer these quotes on PONDERINGS. Perhaps someone reading them may be helped… They may stir someone out of depression or enrich someone spiritually, or who knows?, educate someone into joy…. Many times it is the simple things in life that make a difference…
One page was full of teddy bears. The heading was Thoughts For Life. It was made of a series of remarkable one-liners. They said… The greatest handicap: Fear. The best day: Today. The easiest thing to do: Find a fault. The most useless asset: Pride. The greatest mistake: Giving up.
The biggest stumbling block: Egotism. The most disagreeable person: The complainer. The worst bankruptcy: Loss of enthusiasm. The greatest need: Common sense. The meanest feeling: Regret at another’s success. The best gift: Forgiveness. The greatest moment: Death. The greatest knowledge: God. The greatest thing in the world: Love
Then on a beautiful background full of doves, this web page spoke of three things of every kind: Three things of life that once gone, never come back: Time, Words and Opportunity. Three things of life that must not be lost: Peace, Hope and God. Three things of life that are most valuable: Love, Self confidence and Friends. Three things of life that are never sure: Dreams, Success and Fortune. Three things that make a man: Hard Work, Sincerity and Commitment. Three things of life that destroy a man: Wine, Pride and Anger.
This other page, that gave a simple estimate of how we spend our lives, may help some of us to put life in perspective. It said that if God were to grant us 70 years of your life… we would spend: 24 years sleeping (well, in my case somewhat less!!), 14 years working, 8 years in amusement, 6 years at table (Chamorro and Carolinians somewhat more!!), 5 years in transportation, 4 years in conversation, 3 years in education, 3 years reading or in front of a computer, 3 years watching television AND …. here is the punch line: If you went to church every Sunday and prayed 5 minutes every morning and every night, you would be spending 5 months of your life directly with God. Just five months!!
Since sleep was far far away, I surfed in to this page full of witty Church signs. Here are some of them. A church that had problems with outsiders parking in its parking lot put up this sign: CHURCH CAR PARK – FOR MEMBERS ONLY, TRESPASSERS WILL BE BAPTIZED! That took care of the problem!
Others were energizing . “No God – No Peace? Know God – Know Peace.” Or, “Free Trip to heaven. Details Inside!” This one was exciting: “Searching for a new look? Have your faith lifted here!”
A sign at one of the Church’s door had a picture of two hands holding stone tablets on which the Ten Commandments were inscribed and a headline that read: “For fast, fast, fast relief, take two tablets.” This one was ingenious : When the restaurant next to the Church put out a sign with big red letters that said, “Open Sundays,” the church reciprocated with its own message: “We are open on Sundays, too.”
Then there were the ‘promotional’ signs “Fight truth decay – study the Bible daily.” “Come work for the Lord. The work is hard, the hours are long and the pay is low. But the retirement benefits are out of this world.” And this one, how true, “It is unlikely there’ll be a reduction in the wages of sin.”
Going around in circles does not help. We need directions. So these signs… “If you’re headed in the wrong direction, God allows U-turns.” “If you don’t like the way you were born, try being born again.” “Running low on faith? Step in for a fill-up.”
Finally my head started becoming heavy. I had to go to bed now. But before switching the computer, I could not help smiling at this evocative avowal, “Here is the test to find out whether or not your mission on Earth is finished: if you’re alive, it isn’t.”
(c) Fr. Pius Sammut, OCD. Permission is hereby granted for any non-commercial use, provided that the content is unaltered from its original state, if this copyright notice is included.