Your words (“Going to hell in a hand-cart”, Sunday Post, April 8 by Duncan Graham) went straight to my heart and I was deeply moved, if not outright stunned. I’m sure many of us readers were very hard hit by what you wrote. What you did took an immense amount of courage and wisdom.As someone who is also doing the best she can to be a person who feels, thinks, speaks and acts in line with the right things, according to God, may I please be allowed to offer some comments on the excellent soul-baring experience you wrote about?First, please don’t be too hard on yourself. The Creator Himself is not, you know. The fact that you really saw the hardship the old porter went through, and felt for him, shows that you have a kind and caring heart that beats warmly in sympathy for your fellow souls who are suffering. Many of the people who also witnessed the old porter pull along his heavy load wouldn’t think twice about what they saw, much less help him. So, in many ways, you, Duncan Graham, are what people highly developed in spirituality would call “an advanced soul”.Second, I believe that a soul who is sincere in wanting to help always gets another opportunity to do so. So you didn’t get to help the old porter — this time. Perhaps, when you see him again, you can offer him a sum of money that will really and truly be a miracle for him? Or perhaps the appearance of the old porter served to move you so much that you just had to write the story about him, thereby deeply touching and awakening the hearts of those who read your article? There is no such thing as coincidence, you know. My mother used to say that coincidence is a miracle God performs while remaining incognito. Third, it is sometimes hard to know when to be helpful! Some suffering people may refuse help outright — perhaps it’s part of their negative karma that they need to erase? A few weeks ago, on my walk home to meet a waiting friend, I saw an elderly, little beggar lady walk away from a man who ran after her waving a two-thousand-rupiah bill. Since she sat down on the sidewalk, I took some money from my pocket, went to where she was sitting, and offered it to her.By that time the man had arrived, all out of breath, and said to her: “Here, Ibu, you dropped the money I gave you.” But the old beggar refused all the gifts, wouldn’t take them at all. She even got angry at us, started to utter several curses and tried to hit us. So the man and I finally walked away, and he said sadly: “I wanted to help her, but she refused.” I answered, “Pak, your intention is what counts, isn’t it?” and then we stood and, for a while, had a nice chat.About 50 meters from that place I encountered another beggar, who was sincerely happy with what I had to share with her. Then I hurried home to meet my friend.Later on I thought a lot about this incident with the ancient beggar. Perhaps she was mentally ill? Perhaps she needed food and drink more than she needed money? Why didn’t I go out of my way to buy victuals for her? Why did my eagerness to get home soon to meet my beloved friend overshadow everything else, including the more important matter of really helping the old lady? I really felt terrible, and could have kicked myself. Only after I had promised myself to do better in the future did I begin to feel a bit better, but was encouraged by the saying: “Saints are sinners who kept on trying”.Duncan Graham, the stone you threw in the still lake has created, and will create, ever-widening circles.
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