Seven billion greeting cards were mailed last year. That amounts to over 40% of all first class mail. With all the holidays that exist, however, it’s no wonder. There’s the traditional religious holidays like Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Following close behind are family oriented holidays like Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, and Father’s Day. And then there is the personal holiday on which everyone wants to receive a greeting card: their birthday. But if the thousands of card makers in America had their way, they’d have us sending even more cards.
Robert Fulgham tells the story of a fourth grade class that was asked to perform Cinderella for a school assembly. After listing the available parts, their teacher asked for volunteers, and the children began to shout out what parts they wanted. Everyone but Norman. Norman just sat quietly. Different from the others, Norman would often just observe from a distance. Aware of this, the teacher asked Norman directly “What part do you want?” “I want to be the pig!” he replied. “There’s no pig in Cinderella,” the teacher explained. “There could be!” he said.
One day a coworker of our son Jonathan asked “what time is it?” He looked at his watch, and answered “almost quarter to four.” “What?” his coworker replied. “Almost quarter to four,” Jonathan repeated. “I have no idea what you’re saying,” the coworker said. Realizing that his coworker could only understand time in digital format, Jonathan said “the time is 3:44.”
In the book The Wounded Healer, Henri Nouwen retells a tale from ancient India in which four brothers each decided to master a special ability. Time went by, and the brothers met up one day to reveal their talents to each other. The first brother proudly said “I have mastered a science by which I can take a bone of a dead animal and recreate the flesh that grew on it.” The second brother proudly stated “I have mastered a science by which I can grow skin and hair over the flesh of a dead animal’s bone.” The third brother proudly declared, “I have mastered a science by which I am able to create and entire body if I have a single bone with an animal’s flesh, skin, and hair on it.” The fourth brother was the proudest of all. He proclaimed “I have mastered a science by which I can give life to an animal that is dead.”
Years ago, Gary Larson drew a cartoon that showed a man getting into an elevator. Underneath the cartoon, the caption stated “And then Mr. Jones took up his fatal position BETWEEN the mother grisly and her cub.” As a child growing up, we may have seen the ferocious displays of our mother’s love – especially when she felt her cubs were in danger, or when she believed they were being mistreated, or when she thought they needed her help.