Malankara World Journal - Christian Spirituality from an Orthodox Perspective
Malankara World Journal
Theme: Koodosh E'tho - Sanctification of the Church
Featuring The Kingdom of God, The Holy Church
Volume 6 No. 381 October 28, 2016

III. General Weekly Features

Health: The Missing Link to Good Health

by Al Sears, MD, CNS

One of the first things I do when a new patient comes to the Sears Institute for Anti-Aging Medicine is check for nutritional deficiencies. Getting the right nutrients is critical for good health.

It's tough today, because our modern foods lack the vitamins and nutrients our bodies need.

And one nutrient that most of my patients are deficient in is magnesium. It isn't surprising… nearly 80% of Americans have a magnesium deficiency.

This important trace mineral doesn't get the respect it deserves in mainstream medicine. Most doctors only associate magnesium with bone health... that is, if they think about it at all.

But magnesium is a potent weapon that prevents - and treats - more than 20 diseases of the modern world. Diseases like high blood pressure, heart disease, depression, Parkinson's, fatigue, osteoporosis, migraines and thyroid disease.

And that's not all magnesium can do… it just may be the "missing link" to good health.

You see, magnesium is responsible for more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body. Without enough magnesium, your body stops functioning efficiently. Your nervous system slows down. Inflammation runs rampant. Your heart beats erratically…

In fact, people with a magnesium deficiency have a higher risk of dying from ANY cause.1

3 Steps to Boosting Magnesium Levels

1. Eat a primal diet.

Our ancestors got much more magnesium than we do from eating organ meats and plants harvested from mineral-rich soil. But most of us turn our noses up at organ meats these days. And modern farming methods have depleted most of the magnesium in the soil.

Modern diets are also loaded with refined grains and sugar. The refining process removes up to 97% of magnesium from grain and 100% from sugar.2

But the problem goes deeper than that...

Not only do sugars and grains prompt your kidneys to excrete magnesium, they actually consume nutrients when digested.

For every one molecule of sugar we eat, our bodies use 54 molecules of magnesium to process it!3 Consider that the average American eats a shocking 19 teaspoons of sugar a day. That adds up to a huge magnesium deficit.

To overcome a magnesium shortfall, eat plenty of magnesium-rich foods. Like almonds, pumpkin seeds, avocado, figs, cocoa and leafy green vegetables like spinach, Swiss chard and beet greens.

To make sure you're getting the maximum amount of magnesium from these vegetables, I suggest you steam or sauté them instead of eating them raw. Contrary to what most people believe, cooking certain vegetables is the best way to release their nutrients.

2. Take a supplement.

Even if you up the magnesium in your diet, it's still hard to get as much as you need just from food. That's why I also recommend magnesium supplements.

You can find capsules online and in most health food stores. I recommend between 600 and 1,000 mg a day.

Take it with vitamin B6 to increase the amount of magnesium that accumulates in your cells. You should also add vitamins D3 and K2, since these all work synergistically with each another.

3. Bathe in Epsom salts.

Bathing with Epsom salts allows magnesium to be absorbed directly through the skin. A recent study found that bathing in a 1% solution of Epsom salts caused a significant rise in blood plasma magnesium levels.4

Add 2 cups to warm bath water. Swish to dissolve. The water should feel slightly slimy. Stay in the tub for at least 12 minutes to get the most benefits.

I believe magnesium is so important to every aspect of your health that I've added it to one of my most popular supplements. You'll hear more about that very soon…


1. Reffelmann T, Ittermann, T, Dörr, M, et al. Low serum magnesium concentrations predict cardiovascular and all-cause mortality. Atherosclerosis. 2011 Nov;219(1):280-4.

2. The Bad News about Magnesium Food Sources. Ancient Minerals. Accessed October 13, 2016.

3. Why We Are All Magnesium Deficient. Collective Evolution. Accessed October 13, 2016. iv

4. Dr. Rosemary Waring. Report on Absorption of magnesium sulfate (Epsom salts) across the skin. Epsom Salt Council. Accessed October 13, 2016.

Important Disclaimer:

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. The products mentioned are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

The information contained in this article is for informational purposes only and does not establish a doctor-patient relationship. It is the opinion of the author and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Malankara World. Please be sure to consult your physician before taking this or any other product. Do not stop taking any medication without the prior approval of your physician. Consult your physician for any health problems.

Family: 4 Myths Your Husband Believes about Marriage

by Rhonda Stoppe

"Seriously? Are we really having this argument again?" Darin shouted at Debra.

After 14 years of marriage here they were arguing again. No matter what the two fought about, Darin knew the root of his anger toward Debra was found in his feelings of betrayal.

You might be asking, "Betrayal - How did Debra betray Darin? Did she have an affair?"

No, Debra had not cheated on Darin, nor had she been searching for old boyfriends on the internet. The betrayal Darin resented was over the way Debra had changed over the years of their marriage.

When Darin and Debra were dating, he was smitten by her happy-go-lucky manner. It seemed that any attempt made by Darin to be humorous was met by Debra's boisterous laughter - her laugh had been what made Darin take notice of Debra.

These days, laughter seemed a distant memory. Debra had become so focused on her duty as a wife and mother, Darin felt that she sucked the fun right out of their lives!

Does this sound familiar?

In more than three decades of ministry, my husband Steve and I have mentored countless married couples. And that time, we have had the privilege of walking numerous engaged couples through pre-marital counseling sessions.

In one of their six-week-premarital-counseling sessions, Steve explains to the couple they should expect betrayal from their spouse at some point in their marriage.

After helping them realize betrayal in marriage can come in many forms - including, but not limited to infidelity, the couples are asked to make a list of what would make them feel betrayed by their spouse.

Interestingly, the lists by both husband and wife are often quite similar in that the basis of each list is founded in particular myths couples believe about marriage.

The myths your husband believes about marriage are rooted deeply in his subconscious. Influenced by the marriage of his own parents - or the lack thereof - your husband has gathered together ideas of what marriage should be like. You would do well to learn to discern his expectations so you can better minister to your man.

That being here are a four myths your husband likely believes about marriage:

1. It's my wife's job to make me happy.

2. I wish my wife was more like the woman I married.

3. More money equals less stress.

4. Making love to my wife is the way to fill up her emotional tank.

While this list is not exhaustive, let's see if we can shed light on their misconceptions.

It's my wife's job to make me happy.

Every happily-ever-after princess fairytale teaches that it is the job of the prince to make his princess happy - and implies the princess will be the source of the prince's happiness as well.

God created each of us to long for our happiness, self-worth, and sense of well-being to be found in relationship. The problem is God never intended for us to fill that void in a relationship with any other human, rather He created that ache in our hearts to cause us to long for a relationship with our Creator.

Realize that your husband may not understand that his greatest need will only be satisfied in an intimate relationship with his Creator, and pray that God will help him come to find true happiness in a relationship with Christ.

1 Peter 3:1 reminds wives we can do more to influence our husbands, not with words, but by a godly example. So, when you learn to find the source of your own happiness in Christ, your husband may be drawn to do so as well.

I wish my wife was more like the woman I married.

If your husband is longing for the days when you were dating, rather than be offended by his desire, realize that he wants to enjoy you like he did when you were dating.

It is easy to become so overwhelmed by all the tasks to accomplish in a day that joyfully interacting with your spouse may be a low priority. Try to remember and recreate some of the ways in courtship that the two of you enjoyed time together.

From my book, If My Husband Would Change I'd Be Happy, ponder this statement:

When you learn to become a person your husband enjoys spending time with, you may discover him looking for more opportunities to refresh himself with your company.

More money equals less stress.

Many couples agree that financial stress has a negative influence upon their marriage. Most believe the answer is to simply make more money. Believing this misconception, couples will forsake time together, family, and fellowship with believers, in order to add more money to their bank account.

More money is not the answer to a happy marriage - it never has been. Learn to be content and grateful and you will become a treasure to your husband (see: 1 Timothy 6:6, Proverbs 31:10).

Help your husband realize you are willing to give up material things, because you value time spent with him more than anything. When your husband believes your first priority is to enjoy time with him - rather than owning a nicer car, house etc... you may discover him looking for ways to adjust his priorities.

Listen to this short audio of me sharing my own story: Cute Cottage or Shabby Shack

Making love to my wife is the way to fill up her emotional tank.

While I know most wives enjoy knowing that their husbands long for them in the marriage bed, it is a myth to believe that taking her to bed will fulfill all her emotional needs.

Most wives I meet share that their husbands confuse their emotional need for intimacy with a desire for more sex. In most instances, wives are looking for a way to connect with their husbands at the end of the day through conversation and kind gestures. Even acknowledging how much effort she put into making dinner will fill up a wife's tank - am I right?

Understand that God gave your husband a desire to connect with you in the marriage bed. Most men struggle with feelings of loneliness and inadequacy. When you happily take your husband to bed, you not only satisfy his God-given physical need for sex, but you bring healing to his weary soul as well. So, your husband may wrongly think taking you to bed will be the same salve for you as well.

You're the coach.

The Bible calls husbands to live with wives according to knowledge. That means you are your husband's coach. You are the only one who can help him understand how much you value connecting with him through conversation and romantic gestures. (For more insights read my book 'A Christian Woman's Guide to Great Sex in Marriage'.)

Not only in the marriage bed, but in all aspects of your marriage, kindly helping your husband dispel the myths he believes about marriage may be the key to a more enjoyable marriage with no regrets.

About The Author:

Rhonda Stoppe is a pastor's wife, speaker, and author. As the NO REGRETS WOMAN, Rhonda has more than 20 years experience of helping women live life with no regrets. Through humor, and honest communication, she helps women build NO REGRETS LIVES by applying sound teaching from Scripture. Rhonda appears on radio programs, speaks at women's events, MOPs, and homeschool conventions throughout the nation. Rhonda Stoppe's book 'Moms Raising Sons to be Men' is mentoring thousands of moms to guide sons toward a no-regrets life. Her new book 'If My Husband Would Change, I'd Be Happy: And Other Myths Wives Believe' is helping countless women build no-regrets marriages.


Family: 13 Things I Want My Son to Know as He Turns 13

by Shawn McEvoy

Dear Jordan,

I say it all the time, but I can't believe you're a teenager now. In some ways, you've always been ahead of your time, an old soul, a young man in a boy's body. In other ways, I know there is so much you haven't even begun to know - or even question - about the world and the choices that lie ahead of you.

I realize we talk all the time, and cover deeper topics in our discipleship sessions, but I wanted you to have something special and different for this birthday - a resource to look back on through the years. Nobody ever made a list like this for me, but if they had, I would have kept it forever. If I try to compile one for myself, I can imagine some of the things my mentors told me that might appear on a list I would hand to my 13-year-old self:

"Go easy" (Probably the thing my Dad used to say most often to us)

Laugh some, cry some, and think some every day. (Got this one from Jim Valvano's speech at the ESPYs)

Prize and request wisdom above all. (Theme of the book of Proverbs - read it)

Patience makes the man. (Lesson my pastor told us in high school, which I'm only now starting to understand)

Everything in moderation. (Another of Dad's favorites. He didn't come up with it, but tried to live it. One unexpected side-effect is how it's helped me give grace to others)

"You never do anything you don't want to do." (From the most memorable Sunday School lesson I ever had. Ask me sometime, but only if you want to get schooled in free will and responsibility)

When in doubt, ironed khakis with a blue blazer. (Dad again)

Never give up! Unless it's time to give up. (Fight for what's important. But some things aren't worth it. The key is finding which is which. Like, when a dating relationship is over, don't lose your self-respect by insisting it isn't. If she's moving on, you should as well)

There's plenty I would ignore, as well, including advice to not do anything with my life because, "The Lord's coming back any day," or to err on the side of legalism and extra-biblical rule following rather than grace. I mention this to say that if you ever find that any of the stuff anyone, including me, has told you is complete b.s., note it, know that the words were hopefully well-intended, and, if you get a chance, let them know how you came to know the Truth.

Anyway, the list that follows is not necessarily what I've learned, or all I've learned. It's what I recommend as guides for YOU, right now, entering your teens.

So what you won't find here is the kind of things Mom and I have been blabbing about around the breakfast table. Nothing on this list like, "You need to organize your backpack better for 8th grade." Hey, you will or you won't until it means something to you, man. :-)

You may come to notice that many of these items will cover that crux between two intersecting extremes where the balance sits. Here's an example of what I mean: Don't procrastinate… but maybe this thing can wait until tomorrow. How will you know when the time is right for which side of the equation? You'll know. You'll grow to know because of wisdom, mistakes, maturity, practice, preference and whether people are involved. You'll find balance the same way you find your swing in baseball, or golf (which reminds me: create ancillary list of 13 movies you should totally watch, like The Legend of Bagger Vance).

It's basically all part of this (sometimes annoying) process:

Consider it pure joy whenever you face trials of many kinds, because…

The testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that…

You may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. And…

If you do lack wisdom, you should ask God… and it will be given to you. (James 1:2-5)

Or as I've tried to put it mathematically:


I don't know if I'll ever get all the way there. But maybe you will! Which is why I give you this list today. Happy birthday, Son.


13 Things You Need to Know at 13

1. "There but for the grace of God go I."

It's an old saying that we've unfortunately forgotten today in our rush-to-judgment society. But if you keep it in the forefront of your mind as you observe life, you will value empathy over sanctimony. You will understand your weaknesses, and consequently, your strengths. And you will find it easier to forgive.

2. Talk. To. Her.

Yes, carpe diem and all that. And no, you DON'T have to tell me who your crush is. But I mean so much more here. My life changed when I finally realized women wanted to communicate, to be noticed, to go out and do things, and it doesn't have to mean anything at first. The other dudes' jaws will be left hanging. The more you do it, you'll find the right words, and lose the wrong ones. But the REAL benefit here is that once you get over your nerves, simply talking to women magically turns them into PEOPLE. And when a woman is a person to you, rather than a fear, everything is better. You don't have to tell yourself not to treat them as objects, because they already aren't. You don't have to tell yourself to respect them because you already do. They are half of the human race and generally willing to encourage you through any stammering attempts to say hello. If you trust me on nothing else, trust me on this.

3. Hurry; Don't Rush.

You know this one from the ball-field. Patience is so undervalued. Timing is that all-important detail in the crosshairs; comedy, tragedy, and opportunity all happen in that intersection. You'll never be sorry you took the time to find the right word or opportunity instead of the quickest one. But when you see your lane open up, don't hesitate.

4. Always have something to read.

I'm not saying you always have to be reading. I am saying if you always have a book or your Bible with you, you'll never be bored, and never feel as alone, even if you have to eat solo in a restaurant. Also, you're never done learning, or sending your mind to new worlds.

5. Hold your chin high every evening and sleep well.

Lie? Cheat? Steal? You're going to encounter them, and the opportunity to do them. They aren't worth it. You have always dreamed clear at night, Son. It's a gift. Truth is not in the many loud voices, but in the still small one. Follow that. A brain cannot rest while trying to cover its lies; a heart cannot rest knowing it's living for something other than love.

6. Don't hold back.

Nothing great happens. Laziness is not your friend. Swing hard. Throw hard. Start your food blog. Don't settle for "nothing special." Get organized. Give, generously, of whatever you have to give at the moment. Regrets are simply not allowed.

7. MAYBE you can change the world.

But you can absolutely change a life. Or two. Or three. You've changed mine! Keep going. You're needed. Let your heart serve! Will you be a Pediatrician? (Haha, sorry, Mom and I still can't help seeing you as one). Architect? Editor? Critic? Athlete? Professor? Scientist? App Engineer? Pastor? You have so many resources to do any of them. You don't necessarily have to join "the conversation," but you do have to join the action.

8. Mistakes aren't forever.

Except the ones that are. Your sins are washed away, and there is no condemnation in Christ. It doesn't mean there aren't consequences, some of them long-lasting. Most mistakes are inconvenient learning experiences, and I will let you make those. Contrition and forgiveness will lead you away from those renewed. But Jordan - every day, entire lives are lost or reputations ruined by single moments in the lives of otherwise "good" people. The courageous soul considers in advance what he will never allow himself to be known for.

9. Some things just suck.

But once they're done sucking, you reach the chewy center of the Tootsie-Pop. Fired. Dumped. Broke. Heartbroken. Depressed. Left abandoned by the death of a loved one. Nobody wakes up any morning hoping for any of these things. Yet they come. Life is hard. It is also beautiful, and you do not walk through these circumstances alone; they are common to all. And then one day, you see… If I'd never been dumped, I never would have met Mommy. If I'd never been fired, I never would have been put on the track to this job. If my heart had never been broken, I would never had learned how to let love heal it. And so on.

10. Know what you like, and never apologize for it.

I have this dream where you go off to college and laugh with your friends about your father and his love for a band who nobody else even knows outside of their big hit from 1985. At the end of the dream you actually think that's kinda cool. And it's the same for you, man. Locate the things that float your boat, and be aware of what this tells you about the human condition and your place in the world. This goes to art, music, movies, politics, places, food, whatever. I'll like YOU regardless of any of those tastes. And by the way, you even like your sister. Don't pretend otherwise. Protect each other fiercely like Mom and I protect each other.

11. Apologize often.

And mean it. Contrition and humility are reset buttons. Press them often. Just admitting wrong vents the gas before an explosion. Pride? Let others be proud of you. You wouldn't think much of me as Daddy if I'd tried to convince you that my actions were always the right ones. When you look someone in the eye and admit failure, somehow, you earn their respect.

12. I will not always be here.

Duh. "You must know your father lost a father, that father lost, lost his." (It's from Hamlet). But I promise you this: You will be ready; you will have everything you need from me. Mortality is real, and part of wisdom is in recognizing the fact. But death is not the winner. "To the organized mind, death is but the next great adventure." I have found that gratitude is the biggest weapon in our arsenal against what death tries to take from us.

13. Recite Our Man-Creed Often.

You've known 1 Corinthians 16:13-14 since it was on your wall as an infant.

13 Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong. 14 Let all that you do be done with love.
- 1 Corinthians 16:13-14 (NKJV)

But now, let's break it down:

Be On Your Guard -

Be alert, be ready, be sober-minded.

Stand Firm in the Faith-

Be steadfast, but know: doubt is not the opposite of faith. It's called "faith," not "knowing."

Be a Man of Courage-

As to the "man" part:

Never doubt your manliness whether you hunt, fish, golf, sing, dance, love, fight, give orders, take orders, lead, follow or defend. No one man likes "everything" we associate with "manhood." Doesn't change a thing.

As to the "courage" part:

This much is clear to me - everyone is braver about something that could happen to them than they know, but on the flip side, nobody would ever hope to admit he's a coward. It is the test, the circumstance, the heat that proves the brave one or the coward. And it is the pre-planning that determines what happens when the test comes. If someone is being abused, will you stop it? What if a wrong needs to be righted? If there is danger, will you run towards or from? Your answer may depend on several things, but it will almost always be the bravest choice if you have considered the answer (and who it protects) in advance. Think about it like how you play shortstop - you just have to know where you're going when the ball's put in play.

Be Strong-

Exercise your body, your mind, your spirit, your emotions, and all the muscles you use to smile and laugh.

Do Everything in Love-

What's your motivation? What's at the center? Whatever it is becomes your god.

So, Son, that's not all.

Obviously there are things we want you to begin to know how to do in the next 5 years before you leave home - see a load of laundry through to completion, for instance. Learn how to balance a checkbook even while you're learning all this higher math. But those are not the things you're going to want to go back to on dark days. Some of the things in this letter will be.

So decide. God's will isn't way out there. It's here:

He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength; and your neighbor as yourself.

Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.

For in Him we live and move and have our being.

So go. Live and move and have your being under His mighty umbrella of Grace. Go and do and don't look back, young man.


Bonus P.S.

5 Things You Will Never Regret:

Tipping well
Laughing at yourself
Attending the funeral
Letting that jerk driver merge anyway
Going to church even when you don't feel like it

I can't say I've ever said, "Darn, I shouldn't have done that" after any of those.


What Generation Gap?

by Sandra Abell

Mike, the owner of a small company, is frustrated with Josh, their IT person. Josh's job is to maintain the company's website and do their social networking, which is a big part of their marketing. Mike says that Josh is a 35-year-old single father who does his job well, but is always late for work and finds many excuses to leave the office during the day.

Josh often has to take his son to sports practice, or go get him at school when he's not feeling well. He also seems to find other reasons to be out of the office, and it's driving Mike crazy. Mike has had repeated conversations with Josh about his tardiness and absences, and is angry that he doesn't seem to respect the work hours the rest of the staff follows.

It occurred to me that what might be happening here is an example of the generation gap. I mentioned this to Mike, who wasn't familiar with the concept, so I explained that America's workforce is currently made up of three groups:

• The Baby Boomer generation is the largest of these groups, and consists of people born between 1946 and 1964, so most are at least 50 years old.

• Generation X is the smallest group, and these people were born between 1965 and 1980. Gen Xers are between 31 and 47 years old.

• Generation Y people were born after 1980 and are in their twenties.

Each generation has its own culture, values and beliefs, which can cause problems in the workplace if the situation isn't identified and addressed for what it is.

At 53, Mike is a Baby Boomer. He was raised by parents who lived through the Great Depression and World War II. When Mike was a child, value was put on getting and keeping a good job, and showing loyalty to the employer in return for the employer's loyalty to the worker. The goal was to have a good, long-term job that would provide income for the family, so employees often worked 60+ hours a week. Emphasis was placed on status, advancement, titles and money.

Members of Generation X, on the other hand, watched their parents spend all their time and energy at work, often sacrificing time they could have spent with loved ones or on self-care. They watched their parents deal with work stress, health issues from lack of taking care of themselves, and absence from family events. As a result, Gen Xers are more focused on creating a work/life balance. They will work hard and do a good job, but not at the expense of their quality of life. They've decided that the 60-hour workweek is unhealthy and not much fun, so they don't want to do it. However, they are willing to work hard, do a good job, and give their all for 40 or fewer hours a week. They also want flexible hours, and are happiest if they have a job that can be done away from the office and at odd hours of the day. They will work hard for their employer and get the job done well, in their own way.

Finally, Generation Y folks are more technology savvy and focused on instant gratification than the other two. They use technology (email, texting) to carry on relationships, so feel less of a need to physically see or hear each other. Gen Y doesn't understand the Baby Boomer emphasis on face-to-face interaction. This group also wants very flexible work schedules, life balance and the best in technology.

As we talked, Mike began to see that Josh's attitude isn't about being contrary or fighting for control. Rather, Josh is a typical Gen Xer, who is willing to do a good job, but wants to do it in a time frame and at a location that works for him and his family.

Fortunately, Josh's job is mostly technology based, so it's possible for him to do it anywhere he has his laptop computer. Mike realized that it isn't really necessary for Josh to be in his office from 8:30 – 5:00 every day. As long as he comes in when they have meetings or his physical presence is required, he can be just as effective working late in the evening at home.

As Mike thought about the generational differences he was able to identify other Gen Xers, including his own children, who exemplify their generation's attitudes and behaviors. He mentioned that his son was offered two jobs, and took the one that paid less but offered more flexible hours. He also recalled that his niece, a grant writer, works from her home office and does her best work after her kids have gone to bed.

Understanding Josh's values and behavior gave Mike a new perspective on the situation. With this new awareness he is now more willing to appreciate Josh for the great job he does, and work with him to create a schedule that meets both their needs.

It's something to think about.

About The Author:

Sandy is the author of Self-Esteem: An Inside Job. She is an educator, speaker and a Licensed Professional Counselor. She specializes in working with executives, business owners, professionals, entrepreneurs and people in transition. Please visit Sandy on her website at

Copyright © 2004 all rights reserved. Inside Jobs Coaching Company

Inspiration: Celebrate Life Like the Gift It Is

by John O'Leary, Rising Above

"This above all, to refuse to be a victim." - Margaret Atwood

Regardless what events come into our lives, we get to choose how we respond and what we do next.

Sometimes it means how to best respond to minor challenges like traffic, rainy weather, cold coffee or the barking neighbor's dog.

Yet, at a leadership event last week, I was reminded that it applies to how we navigate life's greatest challenges, too.

I was speaking with a group of 60 leaders responsible for the benefits of the organizations they serve. It was a three-hour leadership session, I'd just shared a difficult aspect of my story, and then all the amazing gifts that grew out of that experience of being burned.

I then invited the participants to identify their story and took them through a process which culminated in them embracing the blessing in their challenging experiences, too.

I reminded them that a critical aspect of leadership is vulnerability. Then, I asked if anyone might be willing to share their story. A hand went up, a woman stood and she began with the words:

"Ten years ago I got a call in the middle of the night that no parent ever wants to receive."

Karen continued, "A hospital staff member was on the phone and shared that my son had been in an accident and that I need to get to the hospital immediately. This person wouldn't tell me what happened or how my son was doing. As I demanded more information, the staff member tearfully shared that my son, just 21, did not survive. My only son had died."

Karen paused.

"So this is the story I wrote down when John asked us to own our story, our burning experience. And then I had to answer the last question, 'What good came out of this experience?' This obviously has taken some time to answer, but looking back it's amazing what the community did for us. It's amazing how we were able to be so lifted up by our faith. It's amazing how our family, his two sisters, have grown so extraordinarily close through our tragedy. I wouldn't ask for any of this, but we're stronger today because of it."

And then she shared this.

"My last conversation with my son took place two days before he died. It was New Years Day, I wanted to hear how his night was, we chatted about it and agreed we'd talk soon. Right before we got off the phone I said to him, 'You know how much I love you, right?' He said he did and told me he loved me, too."

Karen then challenged every parent, every child and every leader in the room to learn from her experience, be grateful for what you have today, and realize that you have the gift of showing your love daily through your words and actions.

My friends, fortunately most of us will not ever know the pain of that phone call in the middle of the night. Most will not have to endure the loss of a child.

And yet the reminder from Karen rings loud and clear this morning: You never know what tomorrow holds. So choose to treat every experience, every relationship, ever challenge and every day as the absolute gift that it is.

This month as a community we are reflecting on the theme "choosing to be a victor not a victim." Karen is the perfect example of being a victor in life. Instead of focusing on loss, she shines a light on the strength that has come from it and the love she can share today.

Friends, celebrate life like the gift it is. It won't eliminate the minor or mighty challenges in life, but it will allow you to live the life, love the people and be the person you want to be during this day -- which is a gift.

John O'Leary
Live. Inspire. Now.

About Malankara World
With thousands of articles and hundreds of links to outside resources covering all aspects of Syriac Orthodoxy that are of interest to Family, Malankara World is the premier source for information for Malankara Diaspora. In addition to articles on spirituality, faith, sacraments, sermons, devotionals, etc., Malankara World also has many general interest articles, health tips, Food and Cooking, Virtual Travel, and Family Specific articles. Please visit Malankara World by clicking here or cut and paste the link on your browser:

Malankara World Journal Subscription

If you are not receiving Malankara World Journal directly, you can sign up to receive it via email free of cost. Please click here:

Malankara World Journal Archives

Previous Issues of Malankara World Journal can be read from the archives here.

Malankara World Journal is published by
Copyright © 2011-2019 Malankara World. All Rights Reserved.