"For all that has been, thanks. For all that will be, yes." - Dag Hammarskjold

Sunday, April 14, 2013

celebrating lives greatly full :: paul harris

photo by jag
I am thrilled & honoured that my friend and spiritual mentor has agreed to share his gratitude with us today!  I first met Paul Harris around 10 years ago, in the early days of my Christian Meditation journey.  I had seen his name on many of the books on Christian Meditation and was surprised to find out that, not only did he live in Ottawa, but that he hosted a weekly meditation group!  I timidly showed up, was warmly welcomed, and have been attending ever since. 

Paul is a writer, a public speaker, a meditation group leader and teacher, a father, a grand-father, a social activist, and a friend. And at the age of 86, he shows no sign of slowing down!  Paul, you are an inspiration to me... Thank you for your friendship and your support. 

                                                                                  PSALM 102

It is not too difficult for me to answer the question "What are you most grateful for?" In fact I was reminded of all my lifetime blessings recently when reading the following item on the Internet:

If you have food in the refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof overhead ,and a place to sleep, you are richer than 75% of people around the world. If you have never experienced the fear of war, the loneliness of imprisonment, the agony of torture, or the pangs of starvation, you are better off than 700 million people worldwide.
This was a great reminder to count my blessings and realize just how much I have been given in being raised in a middle class family and living in Canada.

But looking back on my life there is one incident that happened at 16 years of age that changed my life forever and for which I am eternally grateful.

One day a teacher in my high school class in Toronto announced that the school was looking for someone to represent the school as a reporter with a weekly paper distributed to all high school students, the Canadian High School News. He asked for a volunteer.

With no apparent writing skills and with great recklessness, I immediately put up my hand. I then looked around and no one else had responded. Little did I know that the seed of a future writing skill had been planted that would change my life forever. Writing became the skill and key that opened doors in a work career and retirement, that included being a sports reporter at the Toronto Globe and Mail, Executive Director of the Catholic Information Centre in Toronto,  Director of Immigration Public affairs with the Canadian government in Ottawa, and eight published books on the subject of spirituality and prayer.

Looking back I see that the simple action of putting up my hand and volunteering to do something I had no aptitude for, changed my entire life. Am I grateful? Yes tremendously. And I thank God on a regular basis for that one tiny action of putting up my hand. In addition I have always urged my children and grand children to put their hands up for any volunteer work. I've told them: "It may change your life forever"!

Paul Harris
Ottawa, Canada

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