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It’s Raining Inside

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Landon Saunders

            I received a letter from a sensitive woman who expressed her thoughts in a way that touched me. She wrote: “It’s raining outside. A tornado ripped through Missouri and Kansas. News reports said the damage would run into the millions of dollars. The governor has declared a state of emergency.”

         Then she shifted her thoughts. “It’s raining inside too,” she wrote. “The storm hit and no one was around to estimate the damage. I’m too scared to look. How do you assess the wreckage of your life? How do I declare a state of emergency?”

         Does that speak to you? Is it raining inside your life? Sometimes the awareness of what’s happening is all that we need to begin dealing with our problems. Sometimes it’s enough just to know that it’s raining inside.

         I’ve seen what often happens in the rain—friends, and sometimes total strangers will share an umbrella with each other.

            Is it raining inside your life? Take a risk. Let someone know. It could be the first step to coming in out of the rain.

            There is an old proverb that says, “Rain does not fall on one roof alone.” You are not alone.

            And it’s good to be reminded that it’s not weakness to say: I hurt. I need help. It’s a beautiful expression of our humanity.

            I like Marion Wright Edelman’s thought: “Be kind. Everyone is fighting a secret battle.”

            We can start by being kind to ourselves. And then extending that kindness to someone else who seems to be having a hard time in life.

            Again I’m reminded of a powerful thought: “We’re all on the same boat in a storm-tossed sea, and we owe each other a terrible loyalty.”

COMING MONDAY: Build a Bridge Out of Loneliness

[This is an excerpt from, How To Win 7 Out Of 8 Days A Week by Landon Saunders which is out of print and used by permission. In 2024 we will work through the entire book, with posts two or three times a week. – Geoffery Moore, Editor]

The Far Side of Pain: Joy

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Landon Saunders

            I’ve spent a lot of time trying to avoid pain.

            Sometimes this meant I had to avoid people, including my friends. I was afraid to get too close to them, but on the other hand, there was always the danger of getting hurt.

            Any friendship that can bring a lot of pleasure can also bring a lot of pain.

            But the cost of this kind of life—the life of avoiding pain—was too great. Along with Norman Cousins, I discovered that death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies within us while we live.

            In trying so hard to avoid pain, something was dying inside me.

            Norman Brown said, “To be is to be vulnerable.” I had to become more. vulnerable. I could either avoid pain and suffer a kind of death inside me, or I could open myself to others, knowing it would mean some pain and struggle.

            I made my decision, and I found that facing pain, working with it, making my way to the far side of it, is to find great joy.

            I know it’s a great paradox. The most truthful things always are. Yet, the joy that comes from being with others is finally all we have. To find it is to remain open to the power and meaning of suffering. It’s to discover that wounds can work wonders.

            For example, what do you do if you’re handicapped. I want to tell you what one person did.

            Her name is Marion, and she’s had arthritis for forty years. She has the stiff joints and the stiff neck, and she can’t walk except with the aid of crutches and a few friends. But she’s lived a really great life. She’s written one book and she’s writing another one She’s taught in summer youth camps. She’s become quite an authority on finger play—of all things—for children.

            How does she do it? Simply put, Marion realized the difference between a deformed body and a crippled person.

            You see, the truth is, we’re all handicapped; we’re all wounded. Being wounded is part of being human.

            So the question is not how I get rid of my wounds, but what I do with my woundedness. Do I become a victim of my wounds, a victim of self-pity? Or do I try to wall myself off from getting hurt? There’s no future in that. It would only leave me crippled inside.

            The future is in trying to work with my wounds. I try to view my wounds as tools. As stepping-stones to the person I most want to become.

             And here’s a bonus: our woundedness helps us make contact with others who are also wounded.

COMING FRIDAY: It’s Raining Inside

[This is an excerpt from, How To Win 7 Out Of 8 Days A Week by Landon Saunders which is out of print and used by permission. In 2024 we will work through the entire book, with posts two or three times a week. – Geoffery Moore, Editor]

Finding The Right Coin

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 Landon Saunders

            You are full of valuable things. Is any of it being spent?

           Alan had been hurt. He built walls around himself for protection. He lived in fear behind his defenses.

            The problem was, Alan had a little boy. His relationship with his son was damaged because the little boy would look into his daddy’s eyes with the eyes of a little boy looking into a candy machine. The boy could see all those colors and sweet things. He knew that if he could somehow get the right coin in the right slot, some of it would come out.

            But his father didn’t notice any of that.

            The little boy grew up never having found the coin that would unlock what he knew had to be in his father.

            Once, a king had much the same problem. He wanted to know how to be happy. But he hadn’t found the right combination to unlock happiness.

            He heard that in a faraway land there was a wise man who carried with him a little book about how to live and be happy.

            The king sent his soldiers to find the wise man and the book. When they found him, they roughed him up, hit him on the head, and the old man died.

            The soldiers brought the book to the king, who was very excited. His hands trembled as he opened the book of one hundred pages. He began to leaf through. The first page was blank. The second page was blank. And the third and the fourth. He leafed through ninety-nine pages, every one of them blank.

            On the last page, the old man had written one word: LOVE.

            Do you know how much you can do with love?

            James Taylor gives us a way to start:

Shower the people you love with love,

Show them the way that you feel.

You know that things are going to work out better

If you only will.

COMING MONDAY: The Far Side of Pain: Joy

[This is an excerpt from, How To Win 7 Out Of 8 Days A Week by Landon Saunders which is out of print and used by permission. In 2024 we will work through the entire book, with posts two or three times a week. – Geoffery Moore, Editor]

The Heart of the Fighter

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Landon Saunders

            Sometimes it’s so easy to feel as if you’re down for the count. Alone. Face on the mat…you’ve been dealt one of life’s toughest blows.

            I’ve felt this more than once. And in the daze I’ve heard the count: four…five…six…And something in me says, “Get up! This is no way to go out…face down…without a fight.”

            You’ve been there too, haven’t you? So, what can you do?

            I like to think of a little child whose heart motivates him to get up again and again, fall after fall, determined to stand again and learn to walk.

            The heart of a child…That’s the heart needed to handle what life throws your way. That heart enables you to stand once again in the center of the ring.

            If you’re ever on the mat, feeling alone, remember the little child. That stirring you feel is the heart of the child within you…just waiting for another chance to take on the world.

            I like these lines from William James: “If this life be not a real fight in which something is eternally gained for the universe by success, it is no better than a game of private theatricals from which one may withdraw at will. But it feels like a real fight.”

            And Paul Simon’s song describes the heart we sometimes need in life:

“In the clearing stands a boxer and a fighter by his trade

And he carries the reminder of every glove that that laid him down

Or cut him ‘till he cried out in his anger and his shame,

‘I am leaving. I am leaving.’ But the fighter still remains.

              At the height of the bombing in London in World War II, Churchill spoke to his people, saying: “Never, never, never, never, never, never give up.”

COMING FRIDAY: Finding The Right Coin

[This is an excerpt from, How To Win 7 Out Of 8 Days A Week by Landon Saunders which is out of print and used by permission. In 2024 we will work through the entire book, with posts two or three times a week. – Geoffery Moore, Editor]

The Genius of Patience

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Landon Saunders

            Was there ever a time in your life when you felt stuck? When your life was mired down with no way to move forward? What did you do?

            Well, most of us respond with frustration and anger, whether it’s a car in the mud, a life put on hold or a relationship on the rocks. When we get frustrated, we reduce our options to one: force. So we jam our foot on the accelerator and lunge ahead with all our might—and succeed only in digging a deeper hole.

            There is another way to handle the obstacles in our lives and that’s to have the patience to keep trying something different.

            Patience involves courage—the courage to back off, to keep looking for a more creative solution to the problem. Patience means you can—and you will—endure whatever you must to accomplish your task. Patience means you will not allow any frustration to deprive you of reaching your goal.

            An assistant came to Thomas Edison, discouraged at his lack of progress on a research problem.

            “How often have you tried?” asked Edison.

            “At least two thousand times,” the assistant explained.

            “Don’t give up now,” said Edison. “You have already found two thousand ways in which it cannot be done.”

            Comte de Buffon said, “Never think that God’s delays are God’s denials. Hold on; hold fast; hold out. Patience is genius.”

COMING MONDAY: The Heart of the Fighter

[This is an excerpt from, How To Win 7 Out Of 8 Days A Week by Landon Saunders which is out of print and used by permission. In 2024 we will work through the entire book, with posts two or three times a week. – Geoffery Moore, Editor]

“At Last We Came Out Entirely Right”

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Landon Saunders

 

            He’s crying because he’s alone in the woods and it’s dark and he’s lost. But he’s not a little boy. He’s one of those people the poet Dante described in the words, “Midway in the highway of life, I came to myself in a dark wood where the straight road was lost.”

            How about you? Has the midlife crisis hit you yet? It’s that crushing feeling that you aren’t where you thought you’d be or who you thought you’d be—and there’s not enough time or energy left for your to reach your goals. Gradually, the straight road you started on so many years ago has led you into a dark wood.

            Just about everyone gets lost in the forest of midlife doubts, at one time or another. Let me give you a way to think about this moment in your life.

           William James, in describing the wonderful stream of our inner life, noted that one of the first things that strikes us is that, “Like a bird’s life, it [our inner life] seems to be made of an alternation of flights and perchings.”

            Yes, you may momentarily feel out on a limb. You may feel that your flying days are over. Why not take advantage of this pause, take this moment of perching to think, to plan, to rekindle your dreams. And when you do, you’ll find yourself again ready to take up flight, ready to soar to new heights.

            Don’t give up your dreams, your deeper yearnings. Don’t’ give up on the things that matter most to you. Maturity is a gift that is being given to you each day—today much more than yesterday, and tomorrow much more than today.

            As Robert Louis Stevenson said, “Sometimes we may feel that we have made wrong decisions at every stage of our lives, only to discover, astonishingly, that at last we came out entirely right.”

COMING FRIDAY: The Genius of Patience

[This is an excerpt from, How To Win 7 Out Of 8 Days A Week by Landon Saunders which is out of print and used by permission. In 2024 we will work through the entire book, with posts two or three times a week. – Geoffery Moore, Editor]