Thanks to this blog post, for the inspiration of this story. 🙂
Many years ago we were visiting Melbourne and one night took a stroll past the park in the city.
I forget the name of it, but it’s pretty, lots of tree’s and nice green lawns…
As we walked I began to notice these little white piles at the base of some of the tree’s and when I looked closer I saw that they were little piles of raw rice grains.
The mystery was revealed when further on I saw an old homeless man dressed in crumpled layers of worn clothes, bent over dragging an old shopping pull along cart behind him.
He had a bag in the top of his cart that contained the rice.
I watched as he slowly moved from tree to tree, bending down to scatter a handful of rice at each ones base.
At first I thought maybe it was just his “crazy thing”. Some sort of weird rice ritual he felt compelled to perform.
Then it dawned on me….
There were dozens and dozens of possums in the trees.
Sure enough, the next morning all the little piles of rice were gone!
I was really touched by this old man and his gifts of rice for the possums and I could tell, just by the way he moved that it was something he did religiously, every night.
It was his purpose.
Here was this man, with nothing but the clothes on his back, an old shopping trolley, and a park bench for a bed at night.
No family, no creature comforts,little money to feed himself and yet he still went out and purchased bags of rice to feed the possums.
This man had no job to get up for every morning, no deadlines, no projects, no commitments or things nagging at the back of his mind that he “must get done”.
How scary is that thought.
The nothingness that lies ahead. No grand plans…nothing to look forward to in excitement.
No reason to really even want to open your eyes in the morning and face another day, because it would all be pretty much the same….The struggle.
The cold nights, the distasteful looks from people,washing in restrooms, the fear of other homeless thugs that might want to do you harm, mug you for a few coins.
The loss of dignity accepting handouts….lining up at mobile soup kitchens for a free meal.
The aches and pains, physical ailments that go unattended because it’s not so easy to just make a doctors appointment when the need arises….
What must a homeless persons life TRULY be like?
But here was this man, who had made himself the greatest gift he could, and that was to create a PURPOSE for himself.
Something he was obligated to do every single night. Something worth waking up for every morning.
To feed the possums.
Here was this mans humanity.
His compassion and caring.
It still brings tears to my eyes thinking about it.
That’s what life is all about, isn’t it?…Finding purpose.
Without purpose, it doesn’t matter what you have… You could have a mansion, ten cars, servants, all the money in the world but without a spiritual PURPOSE, you have nothing.
You are spiritually homeless without purpose.
I admit, sometimes I get a little lost myself.
You see, I have these grandiose ideas of wanting to do amazing things like go to Africa and help the starving children….build schools for them….
Save endangered wildlife….be part of these groups that save animals.
Stop the Ivory trade (bastards that kill animals!)
Sometimes I just want to do AMAZING things that touch the lives of many people.
But that is probably my ego talking….or something.
Really, I already have purpose.
I am a mother.
I am a friend.
I am a life partner to my husband.
I think I also have the gift of being able to string words together and write about things that touch me deeply, like this story of the rice man and the possums.
I am part of this tapestry of humanity and perhaps my purpose is to share my experiences, to inspire and touch other people, if only a mere handful, so that we can all remember that the simple things we do are often the most powerful.
A few words of praise.
A small token of kindness, letting a car in in traffic, letting the person with only a few grocery items go through the checkout before you.
Millions and millions of tiny things we can do, all of us….
Like grains of rice….
Just a few grains of rice.