Saturday, April 25, 2009

Life "In Response"

The long awaited week has come and, unfortunately, gone.  It was our week!  Our week of reconnecting, refocusing and renewing body, mind and spirit.  Walking together holding hands cut down on the number of purchases to be made.  Perhaps that was the plan - I'll never tell!  Just Bev and me in the semi-quaint town of Newport, Rhode Island for seven whole days.  

Walking among the shops, eating in the restaurants, and exchanging greetings with the shopkeepers and wait-staff, one thing became crystal clear.  You will have returned to you what you extend to them.  If we were reserved, then the response would be reserved.  If we were friendly in our banter, then that is what we got back.  If we were complimentary, then, well, you get the idea.

This philosophy of life in response with life seems to have been addressed a time or two already in the history of humankind.  One such occasion which comes to mind is referred to as the "Golden Rule".  You might remember it - "Do to others what you would have them do to you" and was spoken by Jesus Christ.

One has to wonder when this powerful life philosophy stopped being taught by teachers, passed down by parents, preached by pastors and practiced by just ordinary people.  If it were practiced on a daily basis, it could alleviate traffic congestion where drivers jockey for position by letting that driver in front of you (as if one car length makes any difference to arrival time).  The practice of the "Golden Rule" could fire up many marriages if a spouse stopped to think "would I want to be talked to like that?"  Think how any relationship, regardless of how intimate, could be made better, if we asked ourselves first, "Is that the way I would want to be treated?"  

Certainly, the "Golden Rule" could make a huge difference if lived out!  

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Value of a Friend

It has been said that "a dog is man's best friend".  Ordinarily, our dog Maggie would be somewhere toward the top of the list.  But tonight is not her night to be anywhere the list.  Easter candy proved to be to great a temptation for her.  She "OD" on Mike and Ike's and Milk Duds.  The "man's best friend" stuff came to a screeching halt with the discovery of the evening version of morning sickness.  You get the idea.  
What is the value of a friend? Is there a monetary amount that can be accessed for a friend? Hardly can one place a value on a friend.  In reality, the true value of a friend is only determined when they are no longer a part of one's life.

If a dollar value could be accumulated for each friend, then I, of all people, would be an extremely wealthy man.  I start my accumulation of wealth with my wife of twenty plus years.  Certainly a treasured gift of God to me!  (This is where most people would question what I did to end up in the doghouse and if I had any idea how long I would be there.)  Seriously, I did marry my best friend!

From there my "wealth of friendships" continue to grow.  Extended family members marked by quirkiness. School friends reacquainted and college chums reconnected through Facebook. Church members in the struggle together.  Business associates busy exercising their talents. Just to name a few!  Every person brings their own uniqueness.  Each individual forms a beautiful, vibrant mosaic of friendship which I enjoy.  Without a single one, my mosaic would be like a jig-saw puzzle with pieces missing.

Perhaps it is enough to just know that I am blessed by the people who have touched my life in great and small ways over the years.  Perhaps that is just a feel good statement to relieve my guilt for not telling people exactly how they have blessed me.  Unfortunately, it is much easier to live life at a pace not so conducive to let friends know how much they are valued.

Let us pick one friend this week to let them know how special they are to us.  I'll go first: "You are very special to me.  Thanks for sharing your beauty with me!" 

The true value of a friend is only determined when they are no longer a part of one's life.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Reports of My Death - Exaggerated!

Mark Twain and I have something in common.  Both he and I can say that the report of my death was an exaggeration.   And now for the story behind the lead in...

"Pastor Kochsmeier, this is Pastor Kochsmeier", reported the recorded message on my cell phone voicemail.  Continuing on, the unfamiliar voice of my second cousin, Bruce, stated that he had received a fax which might be of interest to me.  I returned his call, much to the bewilderment of his church secretary, who more than likely had never heard a strange voice pronounce "Kochsmeier" with such a native flair.

The facts of the fax indicated that Bruce was being contacted by a lawyer from Spain on behalf of late (as in dead, not simply tardy) Mr. David Kochsmeier.  Bruce supposedly was the next of kin.  Better than the report of my demise, was the amount of money I had deposited in a Spanish bank just before my death.  It was a whopping $15,500,000.00!  I had supposed the economic downturn had affected even my off-shore accounts and I was nowhere close to that anymore:)

Lessons to be learned from the facts of the fax:
1) Don't be so stiff, people, especially lawyers, will think your dead.  
2) Take a deep breath every so often, just to keep them, especially lawyers, guessing.
3) Don't believe everything you read, especially if written by a lawyer.

The most important lesson, seriously is: Spread your wealth around by investing in people and ministries that help other people with basic needs for life.  You can't take euros, pesos or greenbacks with you when you really do die.  As my dad used to say, "You never see a hearse pulling a U-haul".

Bonus lesson: 
If you are reading this, find someone who is breathing and hug them tightly for a moment.  You never know when the report of your death won't be exaggerated!!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

And We're Off

Someone once said that a person should be at least forty-five years old to author a book.  That way they were old enough to have had the life experiences to be credible and still young enough to act passionately about what they wrote.  Perhaps, the advice from the old sage applies to blogging as well.  I might be a late bloomer since I waited to the last night of my 45th year to commit to writing my Points and Ponderings.  But better late than never! 

In future postings, I will share my wit and wisdom on the items and issues which stir my mind. If you know my mind, you know it can be all over the place.  What I lack in focus, I make up for in opinion.  Fasten your seatbelt, hold on tight and we're off!