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Friday, April 15, 2016

The Power Of One



The Power Of One

From time to time, I’ve passed on stories about one individual making a difference in the lives of others. Stories about having had a positive impact on the lives of others.

Oskar Schindler was a German industrialist, spy, and member of the Nazi Party who is credited with saving the lives of 1,200 Jews during the Holocaust by employing them in his enamelware and ammunitions factories. I would say he had a positive impact on at least those 1,200 Jews, and that he also served as an inspiration to many others.

A fourteen year old girl by the name of Malala Yousafzai was on her way home from school when a man with a gun approached a young girl waiting to leave school and asked her which one of them was Malala. One of the girls pointed to Malala and the man shot both of the girls. You see, the Taliban restricted young girls from attending school. In her own words, she said, “Dear friends, on the 9th of October, 2012, the Taliban shot me on the left side of my forehead. They shot my friends too. They thought that the bullets would silence us, but they failed.”

Boldly, she spoke on her 16th birthday, saying, "Terrorists thought that they would change my aims and stop my ambitions, but nothing changed in my life except this -- weakness, fear and hopelessness died, strength, power and courage was born." I would say she had a positive impact on others and served as an inspiration to many.

I’ve written about Steve Gleason, a former football player who is now suffering from ALS, Lou Gehrig’s disease. In spite of his illness and in spite of being confined to a wheelchair, with the help of others, he has made the trek to Machu Picchu. He wasn’t going to let his illness prevent him from living. To me the most extraordinary thing about this man is that he creates video diaries for his son because he wants to make sure his son knows him. I would say he has had a positive impact on others and served as an inspiration to many.

I quote Mother Teresa regularly and she serves as both a hero and an inspiration to me. Mandela, Helen Keller, Martin Luther King, and a host of others have had impactful lives. Lives that weren’t wasted.

I think we forget sometimes about The Power Of One.

One kind word can make a difference in another’s bad day, just as one derogatory word, one unkind word, one thoughtless word can spoil an otherwise nice day for someone.

One kind action can make a difference to someone who is suffering alone and quietly. One kind action such as holding a door, a smile, a hello, a silent presence can have such a positive impact on someone, just as one thoughtless, careless, unkind action can hurt the already hurt and suffering soul of another.

One kind life can make a difference in the lives of others who are mindlessly following along, weary, tired, and about to give up, just as one mean, distasteful, sarcastic, and arrogant life can further degrade life and the soul of so many.
It comes down to The Power Of One. One word, One action, One life. And the magical thing about that is that it grows, this Power Of One. Most of the time, like the common cold or the flu, it is sometimes caught by others. And others become One of those who dispense a kind word, or a kind action, and who live a positive life.

How will you speak today? How will you act today? How will you live today?

Because it is a choice for you and for me. It is a choice to be positive or negative, to be kind or unkind, to be productive or wasteful. Because we have that Power, and if we share it . . . either positively or negatively . . . others will catch it and carry it to others. So I ask you again, how will you speak today? How will you act today? How will you live today? You and I have a choice. May that choice be for the good and for the betterment of all. That is The Power Of One. Something to think about . . .

Live Your Life, and Make A Positive Difference!

To My Readers:

A kind soul wrote the following about my series, The Lives Trilogy: Stolen Lives, Shattered Lives, Splintered Lives and the Prequel: Taking Lives
“These are some of the most amazing books I have ever read. I'm working on the last one now and have been waiting ever so impatiently for it to come out lol I started with the prequel and the other ones were out already, with the exception of the last one, which is now. From that book I went straight to downloading the rest of them and read them back to back. I couldn't put it down. If you are someone who likes to read I highly recommend these books!” 

If you like thriller, mystery fiction, you might want to check them out. Available on Amazon in both Kindle and paperback, and free with Kindle Unlimited.

Thanks!
jl

Friday, April 8, 2016

Beauty In The Struggle



Some of my favorite movies, my favorite books are those that have a protagonist struggling against all odds, getting battered and beaten at just about every turn, only to finally succeed in the end. It’s gut-wrenching. As a viewer or reader, you wonder, ‘How much longer can this go on? Is there any relief in sight?’

I think of Chris and Gordy in the movie, Stand By Me. Two twelve year old kids, the underdogs. Chris comes from a family of trouble makers. He isn’t given much of a chance by his teachers or the system. Gordy comes from a family in which his older brother, the “good and smart son” the “athlete and popular son” dies. His parents can’t get over it and have no time for Gordy, clearly their least favorite of the two.

Of course, there’s Rocky. A second-rate boxer gets his chance at the champion. I’m not a particular fan of boxing or boxing movies, but who cannot watch and hope that this guy bucks the odds and wins the title fight of his life.

In my own writing in the Lives Trilogy, Brett and George rise above all that is presented to them. Abduction. Trafficking. Murder. And yet, they somehow make it. They somehow survive. They somehow rise above, and through it all, there is faith and hope and love.

Many of us just watched March Madness. Sixty-four or so teams competing in a tournament that lasts weeks, culminating with a game between the final two teams. And in that game, the clear underdog ends up winning at the buzzer. If it was a book or a movie, it wouldn’t get written or get sold because those who do the selecting and who make the decisions would have deemed it too predictable. Yet, it happened.

There is a story about a well-meaning mother who saw a butterfly struggling to get out of a cocoon.  The mother, as I said was well-meaning, so she decided to help the butterfly by opening up the cocoon so that the struggle would be less.  When the butterfly broke free, it ended up not being able to fly and in a short time, died.  What this mother didn’t know, unfortunately, was that through the struggle to get out of the cocoon, the butterfly’s wings would become strong enough to fly on its own.  The mother was just trying to help.

Just trying to help . . .

I think we’ve all been in situations where we watch an individual, perhaps our children or a loved one, struggle and strain, and we want to jump in to the rescue. We want to point out that, “If you do it this way . . .” or “I did the same thing when I was your age and . . .”

It’s hard to stand by and watch someone struggle. So very hard. It’s harder when we watch someone compete and lose, over and over. And then at the last, when that someone, a child or loved one, succeeds and wins, we rejoice.

Life can be pretty darn hard. Some have it easier or harder than others. That’s sometimes the way it goes. Not necessarily a rhyme or a reason for it. It just happens. Some of us have been on the receiving end of easy, while others of us, perhaps more of us, are on the receiving end of hard.

Yet, I have to sometimes remind myself, and others, that there is Beauty In The Struggle.

As much as we sometimes hate it, as much as we sometimes are impatient for it to end, and as often as we might struggle and fail . . . or succeed . . . there is Beauty In The Struggle.

It doesn’t pay to be like the woman who tried to help the butterfly get out of the cocoon, because there is nothing gained in that. As well-meaning as she was, as good-hearted as she was, she ultimately failed because the butterfly was not able to gain the strength out of the struggle to survive on its own.

As I’ve said many times in my posts, we’re all in this together. Each of us struggle with failure. Each of us struggle against the odds. Each of us runs into and up against the brick wall. So if we recognize that, we can encourage and support each other. We can lend a hand when and where it is appropriate to do so. But ultimately, we gain the most when we face that struggle and recognize that there is Beauty In The Struggle. Always, there is Beauty In The Struggle.  Something to think about . . .

Live Your Life, and Make A Difference!

To My Readers:

I received one of the nicest comments about my books in the Lives Trilogy. She wrote:
“Some of the most amazing books I have read in a long time. As soon as you start then you are fully addicted and brought into this amazing story. Must read by Joseph Lewis. I never wanted mine to end but yet couldn't put them down.”

If you like thriller-mystery-suspense fiction, you can find them on Amazon in both eBook and paperback, free with Kindle Unlimited:
Shattered Lives, Book Two http://tinyurl.com/Shattered-Lives-J-Lewis
Splintered Lives, Book Three http://tinyurl.com/Splintered-Lives-J-Lewis
Taking Lives, Prequel to the Lives Trilogy http://tinyurl.com/Taking-Lives-J-Lewis