Monday, November 19, 2012

Caring for Life's Golf Balls

Confused by the title of this blog post? I understand. I would be perplexed by its meaning as well. I'm hoping that after reading the following story, you will understand its meaning.

A friend on Facebook shared this story today and it's worth passing along to others here. While I tried to track down the source, I was unsuccessful so it will just be cited to Anonymous for now.
A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, he wordlessly picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous "yes."
The professor then produced two beers from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed.
"Now," said the professor as the laughter subsided. "I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things -- your family, your children, your health, your friends and your favorite passions -- and if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full. The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house and your car. The sand is everything else -- the small stuff.
"If you put the sand into the jar first," he continued. "There is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life.

"If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff you will never have room for the things that are important to you.

"Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness.

"Spend time with your children. Spend time with your parents. Visit with grandparents. Take your spouse out to dinner. Play another 18. There will always be time to clean the house and mow the lawn.

"Take care of the golf balls first -- the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand."

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the beer represented. The professor smiled and said, "I'm glad you asked. The beer just shows you that no matter how full your life may seem, there's always room for a couple of beers with a friend."
This photo was taken during one of my favorite days this year, the day I spent exploring Laguna Beach with parents and sister. It's a reminder that we all need to stop focusing on the sand and pebbles in our lives and make space and time for life's golf balls.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Saintly Giving

In St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City, there is a shrine to the first American-born saint, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton.

Born in 1774 in New York City, Seton's family was Episcopalian. After the early death of her husband, Seton converted to Catholicism and founded the first Catholic school in the United States, located in Emmitsburg, Maryland, to support herself and her five children. Later, she established the first congregation of religious sisters in the United States called the Sisters of Charity of St. Joseph.

Inspired by the works of St. Louise de Marillac and St. Vincent de Paul, Mother Seton as she became known tasked her religious community to the education and care of the children of the poor. Her canonization, or sainthood, is based on three miracles attributed to Seton's intercession healing three people with terminal illnesses.

After watching hours of footage of the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy in New York and New Jersey this week, I can't help but think of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton. Like her, we must care for those less fortunate, such as our East Coast neighbors who have lost their homes and businesses due to this destructive hurricane.

During tonight's telethon on the NBC network, singer Mary J. Blige moved me with her performance of the song, "The Living Proof." Let's help those struggling right now recover and rebuild. To help those impacted by Hurricane Sandy, visit this great resource page by NBC News for support and donation opportunities.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Presidential Gardening Wisdom

Among the vegetable plants and bushes of the White House kitchen garden, this plaque resides featuring a gardening pearl of wisdom from one of our nation's most innovative gardeners and President of the United States -- Thomas Jefferson.
...the failure of one thing repaired by the success of another; and instead of one harvest, a continued one throughout the year.
Here's another presidential garden-related pearl of wisdom from our 16th president, Abraham Lincoln:
We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.
Got to keep looking for the roses in the thorn bushes, instead of focusing on the rose's thorns.