Stories that buoy the spirit | The Daily Star
11:00 PM, September 11, 2009 / LAST MODIFIED: 11:00 PM, September 11, 2009

Stories that buoy the spirit

Tulip Chowdhury feels her heart brim over with excitement

Soon after her little brother was born little Sachi began to ask her parents to leave her alone with the new baby. The parents worried that Sachi might be jealous and try to hurt the baby. However, after days of cajoling, the parents finally left her baby brother with her. Elated, she went into the baby's room and shut the door, but it opened a crack---enough for her curious parents to peek in and listen. They saw little Sachi walk quietly up to her baby brother, put her face close to his and say quietly,
“Baby, tell me what God feels like. I'm starting to forget.”
This story is just a drop from the ocean of wonderful, soul-searching stories in Chicken Soup for the Soul. This book is a collection of marvellous real-life stories that beg to be read slowly, savored and recalled time and again. The hundred and one stories are inspirational life experiences that do not fail to touch the heart as you read them. It is a gift to anyone on his or her own journey of growth and healing. It is all here, written with wit, compassion and integrity. Divided into subtitles such as “On Love”, “Learning to Love Yourself”, “On Parenting” “Live Your Dream”; the book spans a wide array of life experiences. The pages unfold with inspiring stories and touch readers with wisdom for all ages.
Patty Hansen writes about love between a father and daughter in “Heart Song”. Her father has brought her up with a little song of the heart, “I love you little girl.” Then as she grew up the little-girl-who was-not-little- any- more would remind her father of her womanhood. But still the father would sing his song. Then one day her father had an accident and could speak no more. However, the little-girl-who-was-not-little any more felt as if she would suffocate and die unless she heard the song. She put her head on her father's chest and listened to the heart beat. She was sure the heart beats were singing, “I love you little girl..”
Jack Canfield and Mark V. Hansen write about a judge in “The Hugging Judge”. The judge went about giving hugs to people in exchange for a little red heart. The hugging judge would go around finding people who were having a hard time and offer them a hug. People smiled and accepted his hugs with momentary relief. He even made a San Francisco bus driver, known as toughest, crabbiest and meanest of people smile. Then he went into a hospital for the disabled and managed to make Leonardo, a severely disabled young man, smile. Every doctor, nurse and orderly was crying, for that was the first time Leonardo had smiled in 23 years.
The stories under the subtitle “Overcoming Obstacles” begin with a quote from Henry Ford: “Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal.” It continues with a message from the Wall Street Journal. The message says,
“You've failed many times, although you may not remember. You fell down the first time you tried to walk. You almost drowned the first time you tried to swim . . .
Heavy hitters, the ones who hit the most home runs, also strike out a lot. Don't worry about failure. Worry about the chances you miss when you don't even try..”
The humorist Art Buchwald writes about a friend who used to tell taxi drivers that they were doing a great job, that they were really patient to be holding out against the heavy traffic. Buchwald asked him what the use of his lone ventures in boosting up the cab drivers was? His friend replied,
“ I am trying to bring love back to New York. I have just made the taxi driver's day. Suppose he has 20 fares. He is going to be nice to all those people because he will remember me. The fares in turn will be kinder to their employees, or shopkeepers or waiters. Eventually the goodwill could spread to 1,000 people!”
The story “ Simple Gesture” by John W. Schlatter revolves around Mark and Bill. One day Mark was going home. On the way he met Bill, who had dropped all his books, a baseball bat, a glove and a small tape. Mark helped to pick those up and helped him to carry them home. Five years on, Bill confided to Mark,
“I had stored Mother's sleeping pills and was going home to commit suicide that day. But after I met you I realized that the world still had hope with people like you. So you see, Mark, when you picked up my books that day, you did a lot more. You saved my life.”
Jack Canfield writes about following his dreams into owning a horse ranch. He was very poor, an itinerant horse trainer going from stable to stable. But once in a school project he wrote a seven-page paper describing his dream of owning a ranch and even drew a diagram showing the location of all the buildings, the stable and the track. His teacher gave him an F, saying it was not a practical idea. The teacher suggested that he make some changes and he would also change the grade. After three days Jack handed the paper back, without any change and said,
“You can keep your grade and I will keep my dream.” And this was the beginning of the boy's determination to own a horse ranch. Today he owns a 200-acre ranch and his teacher brings his class every summer to show how dreams are realized.
In Chicken Soup for the Soul, two of America's best inspirational speakers, Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen, share the very best of their collected stories. All the stories contain wit and wisdom, hope and empowerment to buoy you up through life's dark moments. They simply illuminate the path we walk on. If you wish to make a point, inspire a friend, or teach a child, you will find just the right story in this heart-warming treasury.
Money and fame do not automatically make people happy. Happiness comes form within. Chicken Soup for the Soul is bound to put a million smiles in your heart.

Tulip Chowdhury teaches, writes fiction and pens poetry.

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