Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Exemplary Lives to Follow

It's my birthday today and I always ponder on what I have accomplished over the time I have been on earth thus far......  These two people were a great example to me --so I wanted to write about them.

It’s difficult in our modern times to listen to the nightly news without getting totally disgusted.  There are so many negative reports of all the crime, corruption and destruction of our great nation and it can really weigh you down.

I received an email from an old friend, from where I grew up in New Jersey, last week telling me that her father passed away at the age of 78.  A rush of memories had filled my head.  I loved her father.  He was a very giving person.  He used to drive us around to church activities, singing songs and telling stories and we all had such a great time together.  No generation gap there.  My friend and I were teenagers during the 70’s too. I “googled” his name to find the obituary because he had accomplished so much when I knew him, I wanted to see what else he had done after I went off to college and their family moved away.

It was amazing to see. He already had a PhD in nuclear chemistry and helped Bell Labs in New Jersey get a satellite up in orbit. After moving away, he then became the head of the department of physics at the State University of New York in Albany. He did Research in X-ray optics and then eventually did research on the effects of metal in the human brain helping to find how to cure Alzheimer’s disease.  Besides all the work he accomplished in his career, he was very active in his church and spent a lot of time with his family making his life very full right up until the end.

Another friend of mine wrote this week about a speech she heard Sunday night at a church fireside of a woman who spent time in a concentration camp as a child in Indonesia during WWII.  Her name is Kitty De Ruyer Bon and she wrote all about her experiences in a book called “As I Have Loved You”. The amazing thing about this woman is that in the face of the most humiliating of circumstances and inhumane physical treatment, she kept faith, courage, strength and dignity.  With no hope of any earthly reward or return for the good she gave, she still gave even to her captors.

The lives of these two people have touched my life and gave me such a great example to never give up when life seems so overwhelming.  At times life does get overwhelming and discouraging and the temptation to throw it all away is sometimes very great. Even to give up on mankind, but that would accomplish nothing. The wisdom to give to others is much better than always thinking: What’s in it for me?   Raising children, filling a calling at church, finishing a college degree, building a house; all have their moments when we stop and think--Is this really worth it?  A resounding: yes! This is most definitely worth our time on earth.  A great lesson for us to learn while we are here.

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