25 April 2016

A Simple Gesture

The desert dweller has lived in the desert so long that all of its moods have long since become a part of the daily rhythm of his life.  But it is not that fact that is of crucial importance.  For many years, it has been his custom to leave a lighted lantern by the roadside at night to cheer the weary traveler.  Beside the lantern there is a note which gives detailed directions as to where his cottage may be found so that if there is distress or need, the stranger may find help.

It is a very simple gesture full of beauty and wholeness.  To him, it is not important how many people pass in the night and go on their way.  The important thing is that the lantern burns every night and every night the note is there, "just in case."

Years ago, walking along a road outside Rangoon, I noted at intervals along the way a roadside stone with a crock of water and, occasionally, some fruit.  Water and fruit were put there by Buddhist priests to comfort and bless any passerby--one's spiritual salutation to another.  The fact that I was a traveler from another part of the world, speaking a strange language and practicing a different faith, made no difference.  What mattered was the fact that I was walking along the road--what my mission was, who I was--all irrelevant.   -Howard Thurman

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