Tag Archives: Mark Twain

Travel covers a multitude of sins


“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it solely on these accounts.  Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”  said Mark Twain.

Based on this statement I might develop a sudden prejudice against Italians just so I can justify a trip to Florence, Italy.  Yeah, that’s it.  I need to go purge myself of my “Italophobia”.

I am originally from Iowa.  But before you jump to conclusions, you should know that I never even SAW a real live cow until we drove from Des Moines to Minneapolis, Minnesota.  I was 6-years old then.

I’m a city girl.  But I am related to people from small towns.  They don’t come up to the Cities very often, and when they do, some of them are “packing heat” the whole time.  (In my wedding pictures, my grandparents were both armed.)  And I would be too if I stayed in the Super 8 Motel on the edge of town.  Apparently they don’t want to go too far into the city in case God rains down fire and brimstone in Sodom and Gomorrah fashion.  They are scared of the city.

But the interesting thing is that several years ago my grandpa asked my dad for a computer.  My dad asked why he wanted it.  He said, “I want to be able to check the weather in Australia.”  Is he ever going to go to Australia?  Not unless they relocate it to the next county over.  He just wants to know.  Go figure.  Maybe if he could have nurtured that spark of natural curiosity when he was younger, he might have one day visited Australia and experienced the weather for himself.  But as it stands, traveling beyond his little world, at this age, is almost too much to handle.

On the other hand, my world spans the globe.  I have friends in nearly every continent.  And yet, sometimes that makes this world feel just as small as my grandpa’s town.  The words that are used to describe the missionary lifestyle are the ones you see in travel magazines: Ex-Pats, International Community, Global Nomads.  That’s my favorite one, Global Nomad.  I like it because I DO feel like a Nomad.  We pick up and move somewhere else every couple of years, sometimes more frequently.  When we are in one place too long, we get the itch to travel somewhere else.  When we are in one place, we long for another.

I feel like it’s just a physical reflection of the spiritual reality that we really are just sojourners here on this planet.  We feel a deep seated longing for our spiritual home, Heaven.  We don’t settle down here.  We don’t get too attached to this old life.  THIS is Temporary.  THEN is Forever.  In the mean time, I hope to cultivate broad, wholesome, and charitable views of men and things by all my global wanderings.

Why wait for the funeral?


A funeral for a dear friend of mine in Mexico a few years ago.

This last week was full of death.  No one that I knew personally, but several of my friends here in Costa Rica and Minnesota have lost family members or friends.  One uncle was diagnosed with cancer and died within a few days.  One teenager was killed in a car accident.  One father was shot in the back during a robbery.  And another man was just in the wrong place at the wrong time when someone went crazy and sprayed bullets through an office.

Statistically speaking, between 250,000 and 300,000 people die per day.  So the chances are that death will brush up against your life sometime.  But isn’t it sad that so often when a loved one dies, we feel like there was so much left unsaid. We say pretty things at the funeral, but during their life, we let days and weeks and months go by without telling our loved ones how we feel about them.

Why wait for the funeral?  You should tell people how you feel about them before they die.  I know that sounds morbid, “um, just in case you die today… I want you to know that I really appreciate you.”  You don’t have to tell them WHY you’re slathering them with compliments.  But vocalizing your good feelings does more than leave you with a clear conscience at a funeral.  It makes LIFE so much sweeter.

Mark Twain is famous for saying, “I can live for two months on a good compliment.”  But a good compliment can actually have a much longer shelf life.  I still remember compliments from my childhood.  My second grade teacher said I was the neatest at cutting with scissors of all the kids in the class.  My 4th grade Sunday school teacher said she liked how I prayed to God in a familiar style (as opposed to a formal style).  I still remember many, many little compliments.

More recently, my husband (who is a man of few words) told me he loved my hair.  I can probably count on one hand the number of times he’s spontaneously complimented me.  Though he shows his love in a million other ways, words are not his “go-to” Love Language.  But it meant a lot to me!  A lot!!

You may be like my husband and feel like words are not your strength.  You many feel like, “my wife knows that I love her, I don’t need to SAY it.”  But what if… just what if… today were your last day with her.  Are you sure you’ve told her enough times that you love her?  Do your children know how much you love them?  Have you told them lately?  Do your friends know how much you appreciate them and why?  Have you told them?

Why wait for the funeral?  Words are free!  They are free, yet so precious.  Don’t be stingy with your compliments.  Don’t hold back your admiration or appreciation from your friends.  Tell them today.  Tell them what they mean to you.  You never know how much time you have to express how much you love someone.  Don’t wait for a funeral.