foodforthesoul anecdotes
 
anecdote 23 – LISTEN TO YOUR HEART
in the “game” of life, no one wins or loses

 

listen to your heart
not to your mind
the heart whispers
the mind screams
but you hear your heart more
for the heart has wisdom
the mind is often blind to

 

Jeremy and Jack were the best of friends and the best of writers at school. They were the tops in their journalism classes. They were the best writers in the entire College of Journalism. One day, Richard Hersch, the College Dean, summoned them to his office.

 

RICHARD
We got a small problem here, guys. It seems the two of you are the best, but we don’t know who is better.

 

JEREMY
Do we have to determine that?

 

JACK
I think so. I, for one, am very interested to know.

 

JEREMY
What good will that do?

 

JACK
We were taught that competition breeds quality. You know that.

 

JEREMY
Sure, when it comes to business. But for personal rivalry, it’s just plain ego trip.

 

RICHARD
Quiet down guys. I tend to agree with Jack. The school has to know who is the Valedictorian and the Salutatorian. There is no such thing as two Valedictorians. Not in this school. We have to break the tie.

 

JACK
Great, sir. How do we do it.

 

RICHARD
You tell me. Jeremy, any ideas?

 

JEREMY
We can solve the problem right now, sir. Just make Jack the Valedictorian. It doesn’t matter to me.

 

JACK
Can’t do that,

 

RICHARD
Right, Jeremy, can’t do that. It has to be based on merits. It can’t be arbitrary. The dilemma is, school is done, and we’re getting ready for graduation. I can’t give you a one-on-one competition this late.

 

JACK
I got an idea, sir.

 

RICHARD
Shoot, Jack.

 

JACK
Why don’t we have a post-graduate competition. We tell the graduates the Valedictorian is pending a future event all three of us have agreed on.

 

RICHARD
Agree on what?

 

JACK
Well, sir. Very simple. The first to get a best-seller wins.

 

JEREMY
This is weird. That could be a decade from now. That could be never, if neither of us gets one. Forget it.

 

RICHARD
Good idea, Jack. I give you ten years. If there is a stalemate after ten years, we ask a panel to judge your first three books. How’s that?

 

JACK
Wow, fantastic.

 

JEREMY
Weird. Forget it. I told you, just give him the medal.

 

JACK
I don’t want a medal I didn’t earn.

 

RICHARD
Right you are, Jack. Well, that settles it. You have to agree, Jeremy, otherwise, you graduate without honors for defying an order.

 

A long silent pause. Jack peers into Jeremy’s face for a response. Without a word, reluctantly, Jeremy shakes the hands of Jack and Richard.

 

JACK
Sorry, Jeremy, we really have to do this. I have long sleepless nights asking who is really better.

 

JEREMY
That’s your problem. Me, I know I’m better.

 

The three laugh, knowing it was a joke.

 

RICHARD
Then prove it, Jeremy.

 

JEREMY
I have nothing to prove. We have too much preoccupation over comparing people? It really does not matter who is better.

 

RICHARD
Get out of here, guys. I’m busy. So you two prepare a Valedictory address, ten minutes each, that’s all. I will make the announcement that there is no Valedictorian YET. I won’t tell them how it will be resolved. The best seller thing is a secret among the three of us. Deal?

 

JACK
Deal.

 

Jeremy shakes his head in resignation.

 

And so the days moved fast. Jack became a copywriter in a prestigious Advertising Agency. In no time, he was the Vice President for the Creative Department. Jeremy preferred to teach. He was so happy just seeing young people learn. He was offered to be the Dean but he refused, saying being Dean was no longer teaching, even though one earned double the money. He hated administration work. His students became reknowned journalists. Two even sold best-sellers before he or Jack could have one.

 

Jack wrote his first book, “Squeezing Your Creative Juices”, a primer on creative advertising. It was a big hit and sold a lot of copies, but did not become a best seller. Seeing how he earned a lot of money from the first book, and seeing the niche in the reader market, he started to churn out books on creativity, hoping one day one would become a best seller. He wrote five books, all on the topic of creative advertising. They were all sold out and reprinted. Jack became a celebrated author and was making a lot of money. Still, he never got a bestseller. It was the genre which was the culprit perhaps. Only schools, professionals and career advertisers read his books.

 

Jeremy never even attempted to write a book. He was busy teaching future best-seller authors. He found it more exciting than writing his own book. Then, suddenly, he contracted cancer. He stopped teaching right away, and traveled extensively, wandering aimlessly for five years– India, Nepal, Tibet, China, the Philippines, Korea, Japan. He was fascinated by Asian cultures, absorbing them rapidly. He never wrote a diary. He never had a notebook.

 

Returning back home, he sat down one quiet evening and composed his first book. They call it ‘stream of consciousness’, the ability to write astounding details from memory. Jeremy wrote his first book within two weeks almost non-stop, sleeping only for two hours occassionaly. The 700-page book was entitled ‘The Wisdom and Grandeur of the East’. It was never edited. Jeremy was shocked that it became a best seller. He did not mean it to be a bestseller. He just wrote the closest thing to his heart. It was the best bestseller of the decade. The book catapulted Jeremy to heights unknown. He was called ‘The Modern Hemingway’.

 

And so the three witches met again over the boiling pot – Richard, Jack, Jeremy. Richard was in his eighties, his hair as white as snow.

 

JACK
I guess I lose, hands down. I hand you the medal, Jeremy.

 

JEREMY
No one wins or loses. It was a senseless contest. I don’t need any medal, not from you, Richard.

 

RICHARD
Maybe you’re right, Jeremy. I must apologize. How could I have been so puerile. You’re right. No one is better than anybody else. I should not have pressured you to play my game.

 

JEREMY
Why do universities invent such absurd games as awards, rewards, whatever? Even grades are unimportant.

 

RICHARD
Well, you have to have a measure of the abilities of students.

 

JEREMY
Sure, but do we have to be have a ‘best’ student? You make me valedictorian. And then what? I don’t want the prestige.

 

JACK
Shut up guys. This game is over. Let’s go back and live our lives. Thanks, Jeremy, for making me feel better. At least, now I know I did not lose.

 

JEREMY
And I did not win.

 

Jack finally made his best seller a year after, but it was not about creative advertising. His book was entitled ‘My Best Friend Jeremy’. He did not mind that the fame of Jeremy rubbed off on him. His book was besides Jeremy’s at the book stores, even though it was a mere 120 pages.

 

END

 

there are times when
you must think
not in terms of winning or losing
but simply living and giving
 
bernie
eastwind
redgate77@gmail.com

 

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