Posts Tagged life

Susan Sparks: An experiment conducted by the Washington Post.

Hi y’all, welcome to the Shiny Side Up! A journal of infectious inspiration that will lift you up, make you smile and leave you stronger.

I heard a story recently about an experiment conducted by the Washington Post. On a cold January morning in 2007, a man posing as a street musician played for commuters in a Washington D.C. Metro Station. Over one thousand people passed by. Six people stopped momentarily. About twenty gave him money. In total, he collected $32. He finished playing and silence took over. No one noticed. No one applauded.

Here’s the irony: the man playing was Joshua Bell, one of the world’s most renowned violinists, playing a complex concerto on a $3.5 million dollar Stradivarius.

In life, it is so easy to rush by our blessings. They are all around us — everyday — yet we miss them because we’re focused on our iPhones, our watches, or our to-do lists. We choose busyness over blessings. We would do well to remember the old saying: “Even if you win the rat race, you’re still just a rat in first place.”

This week when you are rushing about, make yourself stop for a moment and look around. Who do you see? What do you hear?  The odds are someone around you is playing beautiful music. The question is . . . will you notice?

Susan is a Baptist minister and the author of, Laugh Your Way to Grace.

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The Shiny Side Up – Rev. Susan Sparks

Hi y’all, welcome to the Shiny Side Up! This is the fifth week in our nine-part series on change:

The real you
Risk
Us versus the world
Shake it up
Too late? Never

Letting go
Earned respect.
A break. Take it
Possibilities

It’s a classic excuse: “it’s too late.”  It comes clothed in many versions: I’m too old, the opportunity has past, I’m just not up to it, I don’t want to learn something new, people would think I’m crazy, I’m scared.

We’ve all done it.

But here’s the truth of the matter: to refuse an opportunity saying “it’s too late” is a choice. You can chase your dreams at any age, at any time.  For example, F.X. Toole made his literary debut at 70 years old, his first novel being the basis for the movie Million Dollar Baby.

Many of us tend to think that we can’t change, saying things like “chasing this dream doesn’t make sense at my age,” or “I’ve already started down one road, I don’t want to have to start over again.”

No one said the path to your dream would be a straight line. Look at my road: trial lawyer to standup comedian and Baptist minister. In fact, one of the things I’ve learned as a performer and comedian is that the ending of your act is the most important part. Even if you bombed in the beginning of the set, if you give them your best material at the end, that’s what they will remember.

In life it’s the same thing. Even if you messed up in the beginning, or made choices you regret, or let opportunities pass you by, it’s not too late. If you give the world your best stuff at the end, that’s what they’ll remember.

Below you will find videos, my blog and a press piece that offer additional inspiration. Until next week when we talk about Letting go, keep the shiny side up and the rubber side down! –Susan

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The Unexpected – The Daily Cup – St Alban’s Church

 
By Anonymous on Aug 04, 2016 11:38 am

Last Friday night, I received a call that none of us want to get. An ambulance driver was calling me to tell me that my friend and neighbor had been in a very serious car accident. They suggested I come to the hospital. The accident could easily have been a fatal one for her.

As I drove to the hospital to be with her, I thought how precious, and yet how fragile, our lives are. And how unexpected events can end our lives as we know them. Events like car accidents, unanticipated and life-threatening illnesses, and wars that destroy people’s lives as they knew them; all these events can alter our lives and the lives of those around us.   My heart ached for my friend, but I also rejoiced in her survival, just as my heart went out to the refugees who shared their story with us on Sunday.

My friend today told me that she feels more alive now that she has in a very long time. She is grateful for the people in her life that that bring her joy. She’s focusing now on a “new normal” that is less focused on day to day worries and tasks–and more focused the people around her and on the positive aspects of her life that light up her life and the lives of those around her.

We heard on Sunday about the devastations of war that leave countries, cultures, and human lives changed forever. But we also heard the optimism of survival and intentionally going forward with courage and making new beginnings. In the refugee story and my friend’s story, I hear gratefulness for life and for communities of kindness and sharing.

One of my favorite books and a source for daily prayers is Celtic Benedictions by J. Philip Newell. The Thursday prayers include the following:

The vitality of God be mine this day

the vitality of the God of life.

The passion of Christ be mine this day

the passion of the Christ of love.

The wakefulness of the Spirit be mine this day

the wakefulness of the Spirit of justice.

The vitality and passion and wakefulness of God be mine

that I may be fully alive this day

the vitality and passion and wakefulness of

that I may be fully alive.

That we all may be fully alive to love and to life.    Que así sea.  (That it might be so.)

 

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Thankful Thursday – Love

On this Thankful Thursday, which is also Valentine’s Day I am thankful for love. One of the first things I learned growing up in a loving family is that God is love. Several decades of life have simply strengthened that early belief. As an adult I have learned that where love is God is. We are bathed in love by family and friends. God continues to shower us with blessings. Of course, there are the trials of daily living, but they are miniscule when compared to the constant flow of blessings. Life is a gift. Love is a gift. Today is a gift. Today let someone know how much you care for her or him and express your thanks to God for the presence of that person in your life. Paul Bear Bryant speaking about the importance of relationships said, “Imagine that the person with whom you are speaking will not live past midnight. How would you treat her or him?” The people in our lives are gifts. The wonderful thing about love is that the more you love the more you have the capacity to love. You cannot exhaust the supply of love. Thankful Thursday is a day set a part to recognize the importance of someone to our lives and to let her or him know of our gratitude. Develop and attitude of gratitude. Say Something Nice; Be a Lifter. You will be glad that you did.

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