“I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy.”
My Kiwanis club inducted next year’s officers for a local high school Key Club that we sponsor. Key Clubs exist in both the US and many other countries making great contributions to their local communities while providing outstanding young people the hands on opportunities to develop their leadership skills through service to others.
This particular club has a long history of making a real difference in the lives of their fellow students, their school and our community. Many have gone on to become significant leaders in business and public service organizations through their continued contributions to the welfare of our community and our fellow citizens.
My club now sponsors Key Clubs in three different high schools. I think we are truly blessed to have this opportunity to partner with some really terrific young folks. The projects that we do together and the times we get to visit with one or more of their members is a great motivator for us as the young bring enthusiasm and a can-do attitude that many of us let slip away as we grow older.
I was asked to provide the invocation at the meeting and I was pleased to be able to share a favorite story that I think is consistent with the Key Clubs dedication to making things better for us all. Here is what I said:
When I joined Kiwanis years ago our motto was “WE BUILD” and as the years have gone by the world is a better place because of Kiwanis family builders all over the globe. What I would like to share with you today is a story written by an unknown author that has real meaning for me.
I watched them tearing a building down,
A gang of men in a busy town.
With a ho-heave-ho and lusty yell,
They swung a beam and a sidewall fell.
I asked the foreman, “Are these men skilled,
As the men you’d hire if you had to build?”
He gave me a laugh and said, “No indeed!
Just common labor is all I need.
I can easily wreck in a day or two
What builders have taken a year to do.”
And I thought to myself as I went my way,
Which of these two roles have I tried to play?
Am I a builder who works with care,
Measuring life by the rule and square?
Am I shaping my deeds by a well-made plan,
Patiently doing the best I can?
Or am I a wrecker, who walks the town,
Content with the labor of tearing down?
“At the end of life we will not be judged by how many diplomas we have received, how much money we have made, how many great things we have done. We will be judged by “I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat, I was naked and you clothed me. I was homeless, and you took me in.”
A Jewish friend told me that you knew you grew up Jewish when:
You spent your entire childhood thinking that everyone calls roast beef “brisket”.
Every Sunday afternoon of your childhood was spent visiting your grandparents.
You’ve experienced the phenomena of 50 people fitting into a 10 footwide dining room hitting each other with plastic plates trying to get to a deli tray.
You watched Lawrence Welk and Ed Sullivan every Sunday night.
You were as tall as your grandmother by the age of seven.
You never knew anyone who’s last name didn’t end in one of 5 standard suffixes.
You were surprised to find out that wine doesn’t always taste like year-old cranberry sauce.
You grew up thinking it’s normal for someone to shout “Are you okay? Are you okay?” through the bathroom door if you’re in there for longer than 3 minutes.
Your grandparent’s furniture smelled like mothballs and was as comfortable as sitting on sandpaper.
Your mother smacked you and then made you feel guilty for hurting her hand.
She’s been married so many times she has rice marks on her face.
A teacher was asking her class: “What is the difference between ‘unlawful’ and ‘illegal’?”
Only one hand shot up. “Ok, answer, Joan,” said the teacher.
“‘Unlawful’ is when u do something the law doesn’t allow and ‘Illegal’ is a sick eagle.”
When your ship comes in…. make sure you are willing to unload it.
“If you’ll make the toast and pour the juice, sweetheart,” said the newlywed bride, “breakfast will be ready.”
“Good, what are we having for breakfast,” said the new husband.
“Toast and juice,” she replied.
Snowmen fall from Heaven unassembled.
Amanpreet heard a rumor that his father, grandfather and great-grandfather had all walked on water on their 21st birthdays. So, on his 21st birthday, Amanpreet and his friend Brian headed out to the lake. “If they did it, I can too!” he insisted.
When Amanpreet and Brian arrived at the lake, they rented a boat and began paddling. When the got to the middle of the lake, Amanpreet stepped off of the side of the boat… and nearly drowned. Furious and somewhat shamed, he and Brian headed for home. When Amanpreet arrived back at the family farm, he asked his grandmother for an explanation. “Grandma, why can I not walk on water like my father, and his father, and his father before him?”
The feeble old grandmother took Amanpreet by the hands, looked into his eyes, and explained, “That’s because your father, grandfather, and great-grandfather were born in January… you were born in July, dear.”
“Protect your enthusiasm from the negativity and fear of others. Never decide to do nothing just because you can only do little. Do what you can. You would be surprised at what “little” acts have done for our world.”
Stay well, do good work, and have fun.
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