Plymouth Congregational Church

God for All

Words of Wisdom . . .

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I just finished reading Alan Alda’s funny and insightful book, “Things I Overheard While Talking to Myself.” For the next couple of days, I will be including excerpts from this book and hope that you will share your comments. 

He apparently gets asked to be a commencement speaker fairly often, and he included several of his speeches in the book.  I thought much of what he had to say was pretty good advice.  The excerpt below caught my eye . . . 

“Who you are is a tough one . . . because many of us have many people inside us.  But in your finer moments you aspire to things that make sense in the long run.  Even while you’re enjoying a momentary distraction, somebody in you knows that down the road there’s going to be something that will take some hard work.  And that when it comes your way, you won’t be able to wing it . . . you’ll have to be prepared.  That’s the somebody who’s the best and smartest you.  That’s the one who knows that the deepest pleasures come from learning how to do something difficult and that it’s worth putting in the time to learn it. 

Let yourself be all the yous you are, but don’t let them crowd out the smart one. 

As for what you believe in, your values are really not so much what you say as what you do.  The more you bring those two things in line with each other, the easier it may be to get where you’re going.  (You may tell yourself you’re going to Chicago, but it’s hard to get to Chicago if you keep buying tickets to Las Vegas.)”

There are several points that Mr. Alda makes that I like or can identify with. 

1)  I certainly feel like I have many people inside of me!  Mother, wife, daughter, grandmother, friend, employee, the person who tries to do good, the person who gets angry, the person who feels like I need to hurry and experience life because “you never know,” the person who identifies more and more with the radio ad which states, “I want my brain back,” the person who would really just like to be sitting by the ocean with a good book and do nothing for a week or so, and so on . . .  I know there are days when many of us feel like we are being pulled in multiple directions, and as for me, I’m pretty sure the “smartest me” doesn’t always win.

2)  I think most of us would agree that anything worth having was worth working for, sacrificing for, etc.

3)  And how often have we read or heard the saying, “Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary, use words?” (St. Francis of Assisi)  Our values have to be a part of us in order for us to live them.  The phrase “You may tell yourself you’re going to Chicago, but it’s hard to get to Chicago if you keep buying tickets to Las Vegas” reminds me of when we ask for forgiveness, but keep making the same mistake over and over, KNOWING exactly what we are doing.  Small sins can become a habit and can lead to other sins.  The Bible also distinguishes between unintentional and intentional sin, with the latter being judged more harshly.  Pastor Bill stated that one reason we may keep committing the same sin is  “that we may ask for forgiveness but do not really expect it or receive it.  Psalm 103:12 tells us that “God removes our sins as far as the east is from the west,” but we never expect to be free from them, so we repeat them over and over because we never really trust God to do what HE SAYS!”


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