Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Wednesday Wisdom: Unexpected Benefits


I always try to take the unexpected things and make them work for me.  Paul Watson


It was with a certain amount of trepidation that I agreed to an early-morning appointment last week to sign a client's will and powers of attorney. She wanted to get this done before her surgery Thursday and no other time would work for our respective schedules.

The problem was my commute. My route to work each morning takes me past six different schools - two elementary schools, two middle schools, one high school, and a community college. Between school-zone speed limits, crossing guards, school buses, and swarms of automobiles, each school creates a tremendous traffic jam for about 30 minutes around their starting times.

The challenge is that there is no alternative route and each school starts at a different time. By trial and error, I've identified the optimal time to leave my house. I've learned that leaving too early or too late invariably ensnares me in the congestion at one school or another and makes my commute much longer.

I knew that getting out of my normal commuting pattern to meet an early appointment would mean getting stuck in traffic as I approached the various schools. But because of her serious anxiety about getting the documents signed before the surgery, I bit the bullet and said yes.

I left super early that morning in anticipation of traffic jams, telling myself to stay patient behind those lines of school buses. So you can imagine my delight when I realized that last week was SPRING BREAK in our area! It was smooth sailing all the way to work. What a sweet and unexpected surprise to encounter no crossing guards, no school buses, no swarms of minivans filled with children trying to get to school and parents anxious to drop off their precious cargo and get to work.

I actually arrived 20 minutes early and was able to spend a little extra time with my client reassuring her about the planning I'd done for her and her upcoming medical procedures. It was time well spent for both of us; a bright spot in my day and hers too.

There's an old saying that "no good deed goes unpunished," but I believe the opposite to be true: no good deed goes unrewarded. As we strive to attend to the needs of others, our own concerns are kindly addressed. It doesn't necessarily happen immediately or every time, but whether in this life or the next, the books are ultimately balanced and the tables are graciously leveled. Often, they're even tilted in our favor. They definitely were for me last week. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Wednesday Wisdom: Treasures Right Under Our Noses


Make the world a bit better or more beautiful because you have lived in it.    Edward Bok 


We've lived in Central Florida for 21 years, and it's taken us this long to visit one of the most amazing venues in the area: Bok Tower Gardens and Carillon in Lake Wales, Florida. Why we never went there sooner, I do not know.


Over the Christmas holiday, our son Evan recommended this place to Ray, our daughter Elisabeth's boyfriend, as a beautiful place for him to propose to her. The account of their engagement here and the pictures they took encouraged us to come here last week to discover it for ourselves. We found a lush 250-acre sanctuary of flowers, meadows, waterways, and peaceful settings, crowned with the enchanting and artistic 205-foot carillon tower, all atop the highest spot in the Florida peninsula.

This National Historic Landmark was the gift of Dutch immigrant and successful magazine publisher Edward Bok. In the 1920s, he wanted to express his appreciation for his adopted country with a lasting endowment of beauty and music. He hired the greatest architect of his day to build the tower and Frederick Law Olmsted Jr., perhaps the greatest American landscape architect of all time, to design the gardens. He commissioned a magnificent 60-bell carillon to be built at the top of the tower. All of this came together in a truly stunning middle-of-nowhere setting about an hour's drive from Orlando or Tampa.

I went there with Marcie and her brother Allan and sister-in-law Janet. We took a picnic and spent a delightful day wandering wooded paths, listening to the bells, and admiring the spring flowers. The weather was ideal, the company was congenial, and the surroundings were beyond compare!

Driving home, I began to wonder how many other jewels of similar magnitude I have missed while living here. What else have I overlooked? Maybe the glitter of "shiny things" like Disney World and Universal Studios has distracted me and caused me to miss glorious settings and experiences right under my own nose.

Isn't that one of those sad-but-true facts of modern life - we chase the bright lights and glamor so intently that we tend to miss the gentle pleasures nearby? I have resolved that I will do better in these matters.

Thank you, Edward Bok, for your generosity. Thank you for preserving this delightful hilltop oasis from relentless development. And thank you for reminding us by your example that one person, properly inspired, can indeed make the world a bit more beautiful because he or she has lived in it.

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In addition to the quote at the top of this article, here are some other snippets of wisdom from Edward Bok that you might enjoy:


Give the world the best you have and the best will come back to you.

Find your place and hold it; find your work and do it. And put everything you've got into it.

The making of money, the accumulation of material power, is not all there is to living...and the man who misses this truth misses the greatest joy and satisfaction that can come into his life -- service for others.

The price of success: hard work, patience, and a few sacrifices.

A young person, to achieve, must first get out of his mind any notion either of the ease or rapidity of success. Nothing ever just happens in this world.