Sunday, May 18, 2014

Miracles–Praying For Them Or Being Them

Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other's eyes for an instant? - Henry David Thoreau

You have to take risks. We will only understand the miracle of life fully when we allow the unexpected to happen. - Paulo Coelho

A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed. - Proverbs 11:25

I was thumbing through my journals the other day and paused to reflect on several events that I had captured there.

One of them is described in detail in this blog post The Importance of Conversation where my “coincidental” appearance in a remote place at the right time prevented a young lady from taking her own Life.

Another is described in detail in this blog post The Power of Trusting Your Instinct … Again where I once again happened to be in the right place at the right time to save a stranger who had become overwhelmed by Life.

And a third event is something that I have never shared from my journal before but I share it here for the first time.

I was making a presentation on the west coast some years ago when I was informed by support staff that I had a very urgent call that could not wait.  When I took the call, it was a friend of mine who had decided that he couldn’t move forward in Life.  I could tell by the inflection in his voice that this was real and I walked out of the presentation, leaving a lot of people who had paid good money wondering who the heck this arrogant SOB was to leave them high and dry.

I flew across the country wondering if my friend would wait for me and thankfully he did.  When I knew he and his family were ok, I contacted the conference organizers, explained the situation, apologized profusely and told them that I would make it up to them in any way that I could.  With assurances that we would “figure out something”, I got on a plane and flew back across the country again.

Meanwhile, a new presentation slot was created on the schedule for me and so roughly 72 hours later than planned, I stepped out on the stage to make my presentation again, hoping that my audience would forgive my hasty act earlier in the week.  Unbeknownst to me, the audience had been informed of my actions and as I stepped out on the stage, I was greeted by a standing ovation.

We tough, ruthless Wall St. guys don’t begin many uber-techie, uber-geek, ultra-dry  IT architecture presentations with tears of gratitude. 

However, I did make an exception on that day.

“Life is difficult.”

M. Scott Peck opened his great book The Road Less Travelled with those words many years ago.

Many of us who have experienced difficulty or challenge in our lives have often been consoled with the idea that others will keep us in their thoughts and prayers.  It sounds comforting to us and we appreciate it.

However, how many of us have made the same offer to someone else in need and once we parted company, we went back to our own busy lives without performing the deed promised?  Some of us remember to actually keep the other person in our thoughts and prayers.  Oftentimes we forget.

For many, it seems that the perfunctory offer to keep someone in our thoughts and prayers has fulfilled our responsibility to them as a friend, a confidante, a business colleague or a Life partner.

It’s pretty easy, requires minimal effort on our part and in our eyes, we have already helped them through their difficulty.

Or have we?

The next time you see someone in trouble, don’t offer to keep them in your thoughts and prayers.  Don’t tell them you know how they feel.  Don’t give them a nice hug with a warm platitude like “what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger”.

Pray for them if you wish.

But then go to them.

Take them by the hand.

Lift them.

Don’t pray for a miracle for them.

Be the miracle.

Create a great day for yourself and others. Pray for miracles for others but equally importantly, be the miracle.  Maybe when they prayed for a miracle, you were tagged as it and you didn’t realize it.

The world is waiting for your gifts.

What are you waiting for?

In service and servanthood,



I would like to dedicate this post to a person whom I feel blessed and humbled to know.  In a small town in the middle of rural Alberta, there lives a woman by the name of Veronica T. who is, I believe, a living angel. 

Her Life has not been easy.  She endured a difficult childhood.  She buried her Life partner.  Then she buried her only daughter.

She had every reason to grow up resentful, bitter or cynical.  She had every reason to lay down and say that Life had beaten the joy and reason for being out of her.

Yet she spends her time crisscrossing Alberta bringing laughter, light, love and tangible, measurable help to people who need it while dismissing her unselfish acts with an amazing sense of grace and humility.

I’ve told her she needs to go on tour to show people how a helping hand is oftentimes far more tangible and impactful than just lifting a prayer. 

Maybe someday she will understand the gift of light she brings to others.

And maybe, just maybe, others will learn how to do what she does.

I think the world would be a far better place if that happened.

When the wealthy or famous promote their Good Samaritan actions, many can’t identify with those people, especially if the famous Good Samaritans are financially free enough to follow their heart while other equally well-intentioned people struggle to live from day to day.

When those who lives are filled with as much frenzy as any other normal person finds the means to serve others, those are the real Good Samaritans.

Find the people you know who do this unselfishly for others and publicly recognize them. 

I think we need more examples of unlimited light and love in a world that too often promotes darkness and despair.

What do you think?

Addendum – The Adventure of Life - May 20, 2014

As I was leaving my house this morning, one of the kids from down the street who was walking to school noticed my backpack and asked me why I was wearing it.

“I always have a backpack with me”, I replied and then he asked if I was going to school like he was.

When I indicated that I wasn’t, he looked at me with all the seriousness a 7-year-old could muster and asked, “Are you going on an adventure?”.

I laughed and replied “Every day is an adventure.  It’s what you choose to make it.”

For the rest of my walk to work, I reflected on this conversation – brief in duration, innocent in intention and deep in potential.

And then I thought of this quote by Dame Rose Macaulay:

It is a common delusion that you make things better by talking about them.

It is important that we do our best to enjoy the adventure that Life is and that we do our best to squeeze everything we can out of it.

And for those who are unable to do this, regardless of the reason, it is equally important that we help them to the best of our respective abilities.

Serve others.

You will both be grateful for the experience and the result.

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  1. This is moving, memorable, and humbling. I am very grateful to know you and call you friend.

    1. Thank you for your kindness, my friend.

      Your kind words honor me deeply. I am grateful to know YOU as my friend. It is a privilege to share the Journey with you!

      Take care and create a Blessed day.


  2. My dear friend.

    I stand here grateful for the day that I reached out to a friend when I was in desperate need and he responded without hesitation.

    Thank you for writing about our shared story. My wife thanks you. My daughters thank you. And I thank you and will always be indebted to you.

    Your friend forever.

    Charlie De F.
    New Jersey

    1. Dear Charlie,

      I intentionally kept your name private in this post for personal reasons and now I see your kind words on my blog. It was a privilege to help then and is my privilege to be your friend now.

      Thank YOU for your kind words.

      Your friend,


  3. Leafs, Leaves

    I had never sat beneath that maple tree
    In the quiet of a grey, fall day,
    When the ground is damp
    And the birdsong has for the season gone away.

    So I am in awe with each leaf
    As it finally disengages the life limb.
    It does so with expectation, but such little effort
    And with silence, free.

    Each leaf’s liberated journey toward the ground,
    Its one last dance on the wind,
    And in its silence... bids adieu to the living world
    With rightful ease;
    Playing its part in the peaceful cycle of earth, water, wind
    And finally earth -
    Unafraid that the new season will bring the freeze.

    Would we not,
    Those of us who stroll with depression,
    Long for this ease of leaving?
    To finally just slip away when the time seemed right,
    Quietly, gently, drifting back to the earth from which we came?
    But no. We, the dispirited, live the dark and the cold,
    And seemly forever beneath the threat of that bitter night.

    October 25-2010

    No prayers, advice, or uplifting or rescuing words can equal the potency of another's mere presence, in supporting one who is struggling to be free of the darkness.

    Not everyone understands this, but Harry, it seems that you do.

    1. Dear Anonymous,

      Thank you for such a personal sharing and for your kind words.

      Create a great day!


  4. We would do well to remember that we are none of us Gods. We would do well to also remember that we have within us, the potential to do the work of angels in the little time that we have here on this earth.

    1. Hello D.

      Thank you for this - your words are powerful and I appreciate you sharing them!

      Create a great day!