Four Short, Short Stories
It’s time for some short, short stories again. These true stories come from a variety of sources.
#1 – “The Good-For-Nothing Glue”
I found this story in Readers’ Digest. In the 1960s, Spencer Silver, a chemist in 3M’s research laboratories, was working with pressure sensitive adhesives. He developed an adhesive that did not stick very well. He wondered, “Was there a use for such a poor adhesive?” For over five years, he and his colleagues tried to come up with a use for it, but they couldn’t.
Then in 1974, Arthur Fry, also a chemical engineer, came up with a creative idea as he was singing in his church choir. As usual, he had carefully marked the places in the hymnal with little slips of paper. But, inevitably, the little papers fell out and fluttered to the floor. Fry thought, “If only I had a little adhesive on these bookmarks…” And that’s how Post-It Notes were born! In a church choir, no less! Today these handy little sticky notes are so popular, that 3M now produces 50 billion Post-It Notes a year! Moral: Something that looks pretty useless can, to the imaginative eye, become something very useful—and valuable!
#2 – “What Price Beauty?”
This story is from Diane Ackerman’s A Natural History of the Senses. One day a friend of hers told her she was paying way too much for her apartment. Ackerman writes: “True, the apartment overlooked the park’s changing seasons, had a picture window that captured the sunset every night and was only a block away from a charming cobblestone area full of art galleries, antique stores and ethnic restaurants. But this was all an expense, as (her friend) put it, with heavy emphasis on the second syllable—not just a financial expense—but a too extravagant expense of life.”
Ackerman concludes: “That evening, as I watched the sunset’s pinwheels of apricot and mauve slowly explode into red ribbons, I thought: The sensory misers will inherit the earth, but first they will make it not worth living on.”
#3 – “Children Can Lead Us”
Linda Weltner, a Boston Globe columnist, tells this story. She was sitting in a park watching some children at play. Suddenly two children got into an argument. One yelled, “I hate you! I’m never going to play with you again!” The two separated for a while, but soon they were back together again sharing their toys. Weltner remarked to another mother, “How do children do that? How do they manage to be so angry with each other one minute, and best of friends the next?” The other woman said, “It’s easy. They choose happiness over righteousness.”
#4 – “Who Do You Think You Are?”
This story is from Fr. Mark Link, SJ. Years ago, the famous NFL football coach Don Shula was vacationing in Maine with his family. It rained one day, so the family went to the small town’s only theater. As soon as they walked in, the only six people in the theater stood up and applauded. As Shula sat down, one man ran up to him and shook his hand. Shula asked, “How did you recognize me?” The man replied, “Mister, I don’t know who you are. All I know is the manager just told us that unless five more people showed up, he wouldn’t show the movie today!”
Do any of these story speak to you today? If so, how?
PS: A BIG thank you to all the people who came to the retreat day for pastoral care ministers in Albany, NY last week. What a lively and dedicated group. I really enjoyed being with you! Special thanks to Harley for inviting me!
I ask for prayers for our SND Educational Summit which will be this week at Notre Dame College in Cleveland, OH. I’m giving one of the talks entitled “Through the Looking Glass.” Thank you!
One of my readers suggested I listen to this song, “Clean” by Natalie Grant. I did and I liked it. (Thank you Mary Agnes!) St. Paul says we are to take on the heart and mind of Christ. This song challenges us to try to see things as Jesus sees them. It also reminds us that we are washed clean by the blood of Christ.
Would you like to share a response with us today? We all would love to hear from you!
Good morning, Sr. Melanie. Thank you for today’s song. It is a message we all need to be reminded of from time to time. I enjoyed the 4 stories. The first one fits well with the Mass readings from yesterday – how, in the hands of God, something small and insignificant can grow into something useful and valuable. May God continue to bless you and your ministry.
Good morning Melannie,
Thank you for your short-short stories. I especially could relate to the children’s story. I worked in a preschool classroom for 10 years and the children were my teachers. One day I was trying to wake a little boy up and said, “Come on, Sleepy Head. Time to get up!” A little girl looked at me and said, “It’s not nice to call people names.” She was right so I apologized.
Another song you might like is The Wooden Bell by Bryan Sirchio.
Like story 2 I live in an “expensive” place. A tourist town in the mountains with clean air, snow that sparkles in the sun, a cold clear lake, rivers that run from the mountains as snow melts, wildflowers blooming in the valley, and deer that nibble green shoots in my backyard. I love to ski on the snow, swim in the lake, raft on the river, walk through fields of wildflowers, and watch the wildlife move through the area. It is expensive to live here but it fills my soul with the beauty of God’s creation. I’m willing to pay the price.
The story titled “Children can lead us,” was very timely. I am in a community where two individuals from different provinces and countries differed. Now the others took sides and so made a case of the event. Unfortunately many reacted and even would not come for mass prayers. All which I felt if people chose happiness over self-righteousness things would have taken a different turn. In life if one is not careful, a small thing can turn out to get out of hand when all it would have taken is a mere I am sorry. Thanks for the story
I’m sitting in a glorious park side apartment, too. My little miser taunts me too! Thanks for the lovely wakeup tap! See you on the cruise!
I especially liked story #2. My husband and I always pay extra for a balcony room on a cruise ship or an ocean front room with a balcony when we go to the beach. I think the expensive thing is to settle for less and miss those glorious sunrises or sunsets. The view is everything.