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Showing posts from January, 2019

When You Want Something

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Saturday Stories January 26, 2019

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The young shepherd Santiago stood before the pyramids of Egypt, humbled by their majesty. It seemed a lifetime ago that he left his home, and he had faced more adventures that most people can even imagine. He could not believe that his odyssey had finally come to end, but even more unbelievable was how much he had changed. He was still the same person, but he can never look at the world in the same way again. Now he has where his treasure was waiting for him. He began to dig. A long time passed – but it wasn't there. Yet he kept digging and digging, even as his tears fell in the sand.

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Suddenly, a group of men emerged from the darkness. They were refugees from one of the many tribal wars in the desert, and they have become bandits so they can survive. They found Santiago in the now-deep hole. The men found a piece of gold in Santiago's bag, given to him by a man who had changed his life, and they made him dig even more. Daylight came, and…

Leo Tolstoy and The Three Questions

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Saturday Stories January 19, 2019

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Leo Tolstoy once said: "The surest sign of the truth is simplicity and clarity. Lie is always complicated, pretentious and wordy." I'm in awe of the spiritual depth of Leo Tolstoy, the great 19th century Russian author whose masterpieces, "War and Peace" and "Anna Karenina," are two of the greatest novels ever written. My favorite among of his short stories, first published in 1885, is "The Three Questions."

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Once upon a time in Russia, the emperor wanted to know the answers to three questions. The first is – "What is the most important time to do each thing?" The second is – "Who are the most important people to work with?" And the third question is – "What is the most important thing to do at all times?" The emperor declared a reward for anyone who can give the answers. Almost every man in the kingdom went to the palace to give their opinions. But none satisfied the emper…

Beautiful Mind

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Saturday Stories January 12, 2019

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The poet E.E. Cummings once wrote: "The hardest challenge is to be yourself in a world where everyone is trying to make you be somebody else." There is a great sense of freedom in being authentic, in accepting who you are. I think life is too short and too precious for pretensions. So I accept that I enjoy (and prefer) being alone most of the time. Some people may use words such as "loner" or "antisocial," but those are their labels, not mine. I like my fellowmen (in a general sort way), but I need solitude more than most people, and I'm fine with that. I'd rather be alone than to be with those whose idea of friendship is gossip, or whose idea of fun is making fun of others.

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I'm even more inspired to be myself because of Daniel Tammet, a soft-spoken young man from England, when I read his memoir Born On A Blue Day. Daniel has Asperger's Syndrome, a form of autism which makes it difficult for him to s…

Olongapo On My Mind

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Saturday Stories January 5, 2019

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One of my favorite songs from The Beatles is "In My Life" – "There are places I'll remember ... all my life, though some have changed ... some forever, not for better ... some have gone, and some remain..." And one of the places that is special to me is Olongapo, where I once stayed near a beach called Driftwood. I'd take one of the blue-colored jeeps from the town, and on the highway going to Zambales, the sea would be on my left, and on my right I would pass the cemetery built on the side of a mountain.
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The last time I was in Olongapo was in 2011, when I had the honor of meeting the three-time Nobel Peace Prize nominee Fr. Shay Cullen, the internationally revered child rights advocate and founder of the non-profit organization PREDA Foundation. He gave me a signed copy of his book "Passion and Power: An Irish Missionary's Fight Against Child Sex Slavery," and we talked about the Juvenile Justice Act aut…