In 1987, a 74-year old rickshaw puller by the name of Bai Fangli came back to his hometown planning to retire from his backbreaking job. There, he saw children working in the fields, because they were too poor to afford school fees.
Bai returned to Tianjin and went back to work as a rickshaw puller, taking a modest accommodation next to the railway station. He waited for clients 24 hours a day, ate simple food and wore discarded second-hand clothes he found. He gave all of his hard-earned earnings to support children who could not afford education.
In 2001, he drove his rickshaw to Tianjin YaoHua Middle School, to deliver his last installment of money. Nearly 90 years old, he told the students that he couldn’t work any more. All of the students and teachers were moved to tears.
In total, Bai had donated a total of 350,000 yuan to help more than 300 poor students continue with their studies. In 2005, Bai passed away leaving behind an inspiring legacy.
If a rickshaw-puller who wore used clothes and had no education can support 300 children to go to school, imagine what you and I can do with the resources we have to bring about positive change in our world!
It is beyond my wildest dream to be as giving as Bai Fangli. It is humbling to realize in comparison I am selfish. But I can become more giving and with inconsistent starts and stops I see myself becomes more so.
Practice giving things away, not just things you don’t care about, but things you do like. Remember, it is not the size of a gift, it is its quality and the amount of mental attachment you overcome that count. So don’t bankrupt yourself on a momentary positive impulse, only to regret it later. Give thought to giving. Give small things, carefully, and observe the mental processes going along with the act of releasing the little thing you liked. Robert Thurman
Once upon a time there was a little boy who grew up to be an introverted, inwardly troubled and unsettled man. Over time, life and intention taught him peace, openness and a sense of self that could only be learned through much heartache, grief and challenge. That man is deeply grateful and lives today with a sense of happiness beyond any he dared once imagine. I am grateful to know about him. I am that man.
Gratitude is the creative force,
the mother and father of love.
It is in gratitude that real love exists.
Love expands only when gratitude is there.
Limited love does not offer gratitude.
Limited love is immediately bound by something,
by constant desires or constant demands.
But when it is unlimited love, constant love,
then gratitude comes to the fore.
This love becomes all gratitude.
I was driving home from a meeting this evening about 5, stuck in traffic on Colorado Blvd., and the car started to choke and splutter and die – I barely managed to coast, cursing, into a gas station, glad only that I would not be blocking traffic and would have a somewhat warm spot to wait for the tow truck. It wouldn’t even turn over. Before I could make the call, I saw a woman walking out of the “quickie mart ” building, and it looked like she slipped on some ice and fell into a Gas pump, so I got out to see if she was okay
When I got there, it looked more like she had been overcome by sobs than that she had fallen; she was a young woman who looked really haggard with dark circles under her eyes. She dropped something as I helped her up, and I picked it up to give it to her. It was a nickel. At that moment, everything came into focus for me: the crying woman, the ancient Suburban crammed full of stuff with 3 kids in the back (1 in a car seat), and the gas pump reading $4.95.
I asked her if she was okay and if she needed help, and she just kept saying ” don’t want my kids to see me crying,” so we stood on the other side of the pump from her car. She said she was driving to California and that things were very hard for her right now. So I asked, “And you were praying?” That made her back away from me a little, but I assured her I was not a crazy person and said, “He heard you, and He sent me.”
I took out my card and swiped it through the card reader on the pump so she could fill up her car completely, and while it was fuelling, walked to the next door McDonald’s and bought 2 big bags of food, some gift certificates for more, and a big cup of coffee. She gave the food to the kids in the car, who attacked it like wolves, and we stood by the pump eating fries and talking a little.
She told me her name, and that she lived in Kansas City Her boyfriend left 2 months ago and she had not been able to make ends meet. She knew she wouldn’t have money to pay rent Jan 1, and finally in desperation had finally called her parents, with whom she had not spoken in about 5 years. They lived in California and said she could come live with them and try to get on her feet there. So she packed up everything she owned in the car. She told the kids they were going to California for Christmas, but not that they were going to live there.
I gave her my gloves, a little hug and said a quick prayer with her for safety on the road. As I was walking over to my car, she said, “So, are you like an angel or something?” This definitely made me cry. I said, “Sweetie, at this time of year angels are really busy, so sometimes God uses regular people.”
It was so incredible to be a part of someone else’s miracle. And of course, you guessed it, when I got in my car it started right away and got me home with no problem. I’ll put it in the shop tomorrow to check, but I suspect the mechanic won’t find anything wrong. Sometimes the angels fly close enough to you that you can hear the flutter of their wings…
That story has made the rounds for years now. It was touching the time I first saw it although I had no idea if it was true or not. This morning a friend saw fit to place it in my ‘in-box’. Being moved again by the tale, I searched on-line for its validity and surprisingly found the story may be true. For instance, snopes.com called it “undetermined” but noted that a spokesperson for Hospice of Metro Denver indicated “one of its doctors was the author”.
Even with all the imposters, panhandlers and crooks working to fleece people of their money, I still believe there are a few who are honest who deserve help. Just last weekend a friend and I were approached by a man with a sob story about an injured child. Usually I don’t give such people any money, but this time I took a chance with $5 telling the man “if you’re dishonest and just working me for money, shame on you. It’ll be your bad karma.” My intentions were pure and good. Ultimately that is all that matters. I am grateful for my soft and caring heart.
No one is useless in this world
who lightens the burdens of another.