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在小小的教堂里的早上祷告

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年前一次,我陷入一场混战。我推着婴儿车,我的宠物可卡犬在我旁边。没有警告,三狗,一个阿富汗,圣伯纳德和Dalmatian扑向可卡开始撕裂他撕碎。我尖叫救命。两个男人在车里停了下来,看了看,然后开了车。
 
当我看到我很愤怒,我趟过,制止了自己。我的戏剧训练从未使我更好。我的喊声很权威,我的手势如此引人注目,我吩咐的情况就像一个驯狮和狗终于溜走了。
 
回顾过去,我认为我在愤怒中的表现要比我意识到自己独立的时候少,如果有人能在那一刻帮助我,那一定是我自己。
 
生活似乎是一系列必须面对的危机。然而,当我鼓起勇气面对他们时,我曾愚弄自己,夸大自己的重要性。我觉得很独立。我只是对别人很了解。我努力工作并取得了成功。在剧院里,我是以服务的传统长大的。观众付钱给你,你应该在舞台上和舞台上表演出最好的表演。所以我在委员会工作,发表演讲,支持事业。但不知何故,我逃避了事物的意义。
 
当我女儿死于小儿麻痹症时,每个人都伸出援助之手帮助我,但起初我似乎无法忍受任何东西,甚至是朋友的爱;没有足够的支持。
 
玛丽生病的时候,我常常一早就去医院附近的一家小教堂祈祷。在那里,劳动人民静静地前来朝拜。我对我的宗教很粗心。我宁愿把上帝从我的生活中拯救出来,我也没有勇气要求他把我的女儿弄得好,我只要求他帮助我理解,让我进来和他联系。我每天早上都在那里祈祷,我一直在寻找一个启示,但是什么也没发生。
 
后来,我发现它发生在教堂里。我记得,历历在目,一个接一个,我见过有人面带倦容的工人,用粗糙的手的老女人。生活让他们不得不,但一瞬间,他们被一种高贵的经历刷新。他们祷告时,脸上的光都亮了,就成了神的器皿。这是我的启示。突然我意识到我是他们中的一员。在我的需要中,我从他们所需要的知识中获得力量,我感到与他们的相互依赖。我经历了对人们的同情。我正在学习“爱你的邻居”的意思。
 
像这样古老而简单的真理开始照亮我,就像教堂里男女的面孔一样。当我读圣经的时候,就像我经常做的那样,我把Jesus、戴维和St. Paul这样的人的教导作为值得信赖的朋友如何生活的有益建议。他们明白生活充满了复杂和沉重的打击,他们向我展示了最聪明的方法。我必须帮助自己,是的,但我不是一个自足的单位,我可以远离自己。这就是以前所缺少的意义:认识到我是上帝世界的活的一部分。


Once, years ago, I got into a dogfight. I was wheeling a baby carriage, my pet cocker spaniel trotting beside me. Without warning, three dogs — an Afghan, a St. Bernard and a Dalmatian — pounced on the cocker and started tearing him to pieces. I shrieked for help. Two men in a car stopped, looked, and drove on.

When I saw that I was so infuriated that I waded in and stopped the fight myself. My theatrical training never stood me in better stead. My shouts were so authoritative, my gestures so arresting, I commanded the situation like a lion-tamer and the dogs finally slunk away.

Looking back, I think I acted less in anger than from a realization that I was on my own, that if anybody was going to help me at that moment, it had to be myself.

Life seems to be a series of crises that have to be faced. In summoning strength to face them, though, I once fooled myself into an exaggerated regard of my own importance. I felt very independent. I was only distantly aware of other people. I worked hard and was "successful." In the theater, I was brought up in the tradition of service. The audience pays its money and you are expected to give your best performance — both on and off the stage. So I served on committees, and made speeches, and backed causes. But somehow the meaning of things escaped me.

When my daughter died of polio, everybody stretched out a hand to help me, but at first I couldn't seem to bear the touch of anything, even the love of friends; no support seemed strong enough.

While Mary was still sick, I used to go early in the morning to a little church near the hospital to pray. There the working people came quietly to worship. I had been careless with my religion. I had rather cut God out of my life, and I didn't have the nerve at the time to ask Him to make my daughter well — I only asked Him to help me understand, to let me come in and reach Him. I prayed there every morning and I kept looking for a revelation, but nothing happened.

And then, much later, I discovered that it had happened, right there in the church. I could recall, vividly, one by one, the people I had seen there — the solemn laborers with tired looks, the old women with gnarled hands. Life had knocked them around, but for a brief moment they were being refreshed by an ennobling experience. It seemed as they prayed their worn faces lighted up and they became the very vessels of God. Here was my revelation. Suddenly I realized I was one of them. In my need I gained strength from the knowledge that they too had needs, and I felt an interdependence with them. I experienced a flood of compassion for people. I was learning the meaning of "love thy neighbor."

Truths as old and simple as this began to light up for me like the faces of the men and women in the little church. When I read the Bible now, as I do frequently, I take the teachings of men like Jesus and David and St. Paul as the helpful advice of trusted friends about how to live. They understand that life is full of complications and often heavy blows and they are showing me the wisest way through it. I must help myself, yes, but I am not such a self-contained unit that I can live aloof, unto myself. This was the meaning that had been missing before: the realization that I was a living part of God's world of people.


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