The house by H.-J. John

We were at a pizzeria. I ordered a pizza Hawaii, she ordered a pizza Funghi. I remained silent; she spoke.
All I was able to do was sit silent in admiration.
She moved from one topic to the next as if she were a general inspecting his troops.
After the first half hour I had to suppress a yawn. That’s how little I was able to contribute. Slowly I was starting to feel envious.
Suddenly I was wide awake. I realized that, although she was probably twelve years younger than I, she had an opinion about each topic she addressed.
It was as if she were leading me through a house, with rooms and doors labeled “relationship,” “work,” and “family” on the first floor and others labeled “hopes,” “dreams,” and “goals” on the second floor.
I put the rule to the test and started to criticize her. No, she was not completely set in her ways. She stood by her opinion but accepted mine.
An interesting house. What doors might still be undiscovered in the basement and the attic?

© 2011 Hans-Jürgen John

Be considerate by H.-J. John

A person approaches and pats your upper arm. You know them only fleetingly. The touch is unpleasant for you.
Someone falls in love with you. You feel nothing.
Someone pursues you with his attention. You react annoyed and retreat.
Be considerate.
Every person has a sphere of personal privacy. Respect it. It may be a touch. It may be the will of others. It may be the feelings of others. It may be the hopes and wishes of others.
Be considerate.
Where is the line? Everyone has different sensitivities. Try to empathize with others. If in doubt, ask so as to avoid any mistake. Respect the opinions of others and don’t insist on your own.
Be considerate.
Be a good role model and others will treat you in the same way…

© 2011 Hans-Jürgen John

Control your moods and you will achieve contentment by H.-J. John

Are you satisfied with yourself?
Are you well in spite of gout, rheumatism, diabetes, and financial problems?
Are you well even though you see people everywhere who are more successful or apparently happier than you?
Do you enjoy the patter of rain against the window even though your outing with the wheelchair has to be cancelled today?
Do you live as a foreigner among people who do not like you but still see the humanity in them and wish them well?
Would you have liked to go to university like others did but were unable to do so because of your grades?
Do you care little about car bombs occasionally detonating in your city? Do you know your enemies because you can see the desperation that wants to be appeased behind their angry eyes?
Are your neighbors always noisy yet you smile content and happily when you meet them on the staircase? Such nice people, they always greet you!
Are you content? If yes, you are serene and always at an advantage and you have found the meaning of life and balance within yourself.

© 2011 Hans-Jürgen John

Wheat or what? by H.-J. John

Look out the window!
Do you see the birds? They neither sow nor reap, yet they are cared for, people say.
We cannot fly.
So while sowing, remember that you will reap wheat or hailstones.
While sowing, remember that you will reap war or peace.
If you have sown hatred you cannot reap peace.
If you have reaped war you cannot sow peace.
Let’s stick to the wheat.

© 2011 Hans-Jürgen John

The coffee bill by H.-J. John

Today, calculating is called for.
After waking up and the morning toilet, breakfast is within reach.
The first coffee, the roll, the cold cuts, the cheese, the jam. Lunch. Afternoon tea, dinner, and before and after some snacks.
Added everything up?
Now we take five percent of this and wire it to Africa.
And tomorrow morning we will enjoy our coffee twice as much. Want to bet?

© 2011 Hans-Jürgen John

What you are left with by H.-J. John

Look at the time.
Have you ever watched a clock?
Try to stop it with the power of your thoughts.

Look at money. It comes and goes.
And if more remains than leaves you, you can be proud, but still you will leave it behind at the end of life.
Look at your children. The born and the unborn. They pass along to their children for centuries what you have taught them.

So choose wisely. Do you desire more time and money for yourself? Time does not obey you and money leaves you.
Look at your ancestors. They chose you.

© 2011 Hans-Jürgen John

The one… by H.-J. John

She was having relationship problems, the one said this morning on the phone.
I asked her where she got my number.
She said it was really bad. Her boyfriend was ignoring her.
I told her that she was lucky. Some partners are pursued with jealousy, locked in basements or in bathrooms, kissed with burning cigarettes, or abandoned.
I stopped. Silence at the other end.
I apologized. Told her she knew her boyfriend much better. Asked her what he liked, what he didn’t like. I told her to write down her problems.
I recommended she look at them from all angles, as with something she likes a lot that is very important to her.
“Like… ” I hesitated. “Like a painted vase or a statue. First you list everything that is great about your boyfriend. Then everything you dislike. If the negative has been outweighing the positive for a long time, it is worth considering breaking up.
But that would be like building a house and stopping after the foundation. Nonsense, the house of trust is also built with stones from valleys, not just bricks from the hills.
“If you give more weight to the positive, you try to solve the problem.” “It’s that simple?” “Much simpler,” I said and hung up knowing that she would call again – to thank me. Her boyfriend was important enough to her to look for a solution. She did not have to make the detour through me.
© 2011 Hans-Jürgen John

Be direct by H.-J. John

There are highways! What for? To save time in our ever-faster world! Shortcut is the magic word! Only the linear distance is shorter.
Be direct!
Between us humans, openness and directness have not yet prevailed over politeness and a mistaken sense of consideration.
Be direct!
How often have we become annoyed when someone talks behind our back when he could tell us openly what is going on?
Be direct!
Problems arise in a partnership and we let them grow inside of us, even though there are few things that cannot be sorted out with words…
Be direct!
…and be brave. First you will offend; then people who appreciate honesty and openness will support you.
Be direct!

© 2011 Hans-Jürgen John