the villager and the happy man
in a small village there lived a man who was always happy, kind, and well disposed to everyone he met. people knew they could count on him, and regarded him as a great friend.
one of the villagers was curious to know what his secret was, how could he be always so kind and helpful? how is it that he held no grudge towards anyone and was always happy?
once, upon meeting him in the street he asked him: "most people are selfish and unsatisfied. they do not smile as often as you do; neither are they as helpful or kind as you are. how do you explain it?"
"when you make peace with yourself, then you can be in peace with the rest of the world. if you can recognize the spirit in yourself, you can recognize the spirit in everyone, and then you find it natural to be kind and well disposed to all. if your thoughts are under your control you become strong and firm."
"but a lot of work is necessary. the work is difficult and endless. there are many walls that need to be climbed. it is not an easy task." lamented the villager.
"do not think about the difficulties, otherwise that's what you will see and experience. just quieten your feelings and thoughts and try to stay in this peace. all the abilities and powers awaken spontaneously."
"is that all?" asked the villager.
"try to watch your thoughts and see how they come and go. stay in the quietness that arises. the moments of peace will be brief at first, but in time they will get longer. this peace is also strength, power, kindness, and love."
"i will try to remember your words," said the villager and continued, "there is another thing that i am curious about. you do not seem to be influenced by the environment. you have a kind word to everyone and are helpful. yet people do not exploit your goodness, and they treat you well
"goodness and being kind do not necessarily point to weakness. when you are good you can also be strong. people sense your strength and do not impose on you. you then act from strength and not from weakness. goodness can also go with power and strength, it is not a sign of weakness as some people erroneously think."
"thank you very much for your advice", said the villager and went away happy and satisfied.
it was my first day as a newcomer to the school. past "newcomer" experiences had been difficult, so i was very anxious to fit in. being introduced to the class, i bravely put on a smile and took my seat, expecting to be shunned.
lunchtime was a pleasant surprise when the girls all crowded around my table. their chatter was friendly, so i began to relax. it wasn't long before the class nerd was pointed out to me: mary lou. actually she called herself mary louise, a prim, prissy young girl with dark eyes, brown skin, a stern visage and old-fashioned clothing. the girls' whispers and giggles got louder and louder. mary lou directly strode past our table, chin held high with iron determination. she ate alone.
after school, the girls invited me to join them in front of the school. for what, i didn't yet know. oh, how i wish i had gone home, but i had a lesson to learn.
then, mary lou came down the school steps. the taunting began. i paused, then joined right in. my momentum began to pick up as i approached her. nasty, mean remarks fell unabated from my lips. no one could tell i'd never done this before. the other girls stepped back and became my cheerleaders. emboldened, i yanked the strap of her backpack and then pushed her. the strap broke, mary lou fell and i backed off. everyone was laughing and patting me.
i was not proud. something inside me hurt. if you've ever picked a wing off a butterfly, you know how i felt.
mary lou got up, gathered her books and-without a tear shed or retort given-off she went. she held her head high as a small trickle of blood ran down from her bruised knee. i watched her limp away down the street.
i noticed a man standing beside his car. his brown skin, dark hair and handsome features told me this was her father. respectful of mary lou's proud spirit, he remained still and watched the lonely girl walk toward him. only his eyes—shining with both grief and pride—followed. as i passed, he looked at me in silence with burning tears that spoke to my shame and scalded my heart. he didn't speak a word.
no scolding from a teacher or preaching from a parent could linger as much as that hurt in my heart from the day a father's eyes taught me kindness and strength and dignity. i never again hurt someone for my own gain.
you are not alone
since i was 12 years old, i've suffered with a condition called compulsive hair pulling. the physical devastation was severe, but the emotional damage was worse. when i was young, no one, including my doctor, knew how to help me. i was alone.
growing up, i didn't fit in anywhere and i suffered great shame knowing i'd brought this affliction upon myself. my hands seemed to have a mind of their own."what's wrong with me," i'd often wonder. sometimes, people inquired about my lack of eyelashes and eyebrows. i was lonely, but i kept people at a distance. however, each night, before i fell asleep, i'd pray for wisdom, and for god to send someone who understood.
then when i was 25, i read a letter, in ann landers, from a mom whose child suffered from compulsive hair pulling. i could hardly believe my eyes. after all these years, i discovered, i was not alone.
at that moment, my journey for healing began. i took small steps at first-telling only a few friends. some of them tried to understand. then, they began to share their secrets with me. i learned to see myself the way god saw me, someone deserving love.
one day, my miracle happened. a friend called with wonderful news. she just met a woman with compulsive hair pulling-someone just like me. she gave me her phone number. i was ecstatic. i quickly dialed, and from the minute christina answered, we began to chat like old friends, both thrilled to find someone who understood our pain. we planned to meet soon, and found out that even though i resided in a lightly populated, rural area, we lived only two houses away.
直到有一天，奇迹发生了。一位朋友打电话带来了好消息。她刚刚遇到一个有拔毛发癖的人—— 一个和我相似的人。她给了我那个人的电话号码。我欣喜若狂，快速拨通了电话。从克里斯蒂娜接电话的那一刻起，我们就像老朋友一样聊起来。彼此为找到了理解 自己痛苦的人而激动不已。我们打算尽快见面，却发现尽管我住在这个人口稀少的乡下，她和我仅仅两房之隔。
we immediately dropped our phones, and in the dark of night, ran outside in our pajamas, where we hugged, cried and talked for hours. i felt i'd just met my long lost twin, someone who understood my pain and struggles. there was no doubt about it. i was looking into the eyes of a miracle.
we walked back to my house, and into the light, christina slowly lifted her long hair revealing patchy, bald spots. then with a deep breath, i took off my makeup and let her see me as no one else ever had, not even my husband of 10 years. in that moment, i knew, my childhood prayer had been answered.
yes, it was true. i was not alone.