A few grains of rice….


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.
How strange.

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….
The possums!
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”.
No future.
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?
The lonliness.

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.
His heart.

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.

About Tracy Lundgren

I am a people watcher,life observer, nature lover, spiritual seeker loving this crazy wild ride that life is taking me on. I am still a blank piece of paper waiting to be filled and that is good.
This entry was posted in happiness, health and well being, Life, life experiences, memories, society, Spirituality, writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to A few grains of rice….

  1. Ralph says:

    We all have that bag of rice, most of us don’t know it and if we do, we don’t know what to do with it. Great post Tracy. Ralph xox

  2. Amazing post Tracy, one of provoking thought and questioning. Yes, from the old man to the supermarket check-out we should be able to do something little, helping, sharing, acknowledging. The world indeed would be a better place if we as individuals could contribute in some small way for others and we would have the solace knowing we did something right. Well written.

    • desertrose7 says:

      Thankyou. 🙂 I believe most of us have good hearts, good souls. I think sometimes the way society is kind of dampens that desire to WANT to help and share. There is no emphasis put on it, know what I mean? Maybe it all comes down to values and morals kind of on the decline?

      • You are welcome. I know exactly what you mean and I am in total agreement with your last line our values and morals have been thrown out of the window. Most of the younger generation sadly have not been brought up to show the respect as perhaps we were, a sad, sad thing.

      • desertrose7 says:

        They should teach it in school. Life skills.
        Things like respect….compassion….how to behave appropriately. Give your seat up to a person older than yourself. Take your hat off inside….Don’t use mobile phones when you’re with a group of people supposedly”socialising” at a gathering. uggghhh. So many things that should be being SEEN, and copied -learned by example, but they’re just not anymore.

      • Dan says:

        “They should teach it in school. Life skills… ”

        May I respectfully disagree?
        Schools, e.g. government, are the last place to initiate something if you want to get something done successfully.
        We can’t just give the responsibility to someone else for a job that we need to be doing ourselves.
        And I am by no means talking about your personal situation.
        From what i can gather, you have a lovely family even if your son is a bit on the, shall we say, lethargic side.
        Heck, I still don’t know what i want to be when I grow up. 😉

        Are our schools doing a good job at educating our children?
        I don’t know what the schools are like by you, but i don’t give much credence to the public school system we have here in America.
        And they’re getting worse instead of better.
        For the last generation or so, the solution to our education has been to throw more money at the problem.
        Sorry but I don’t see any worthwhile returns on that investment.

        Are you guys aware of a family that was given asylum from Germany here in the States because the parents wanted to home-school their children, which is illegal in Germany?
        Our current Administration is trying to overturn the decision and wants to send the family back to Germany.
        I understand your concerns Tracy and agree that something needs to be done.
        But, at least here, spirituality is attempting to be removed from the social fabric of the country.
        Religion first, because it is an easy target. I rarely see a demonstration of spirituality in the media or from government.
        The only thing I see is a political one-sideness that can’t be beneficial for anyone whether or not you agree or disagree with the politics involved.
        It is a sad state of affairs but it appears to me that we are being tested.
        I hope that we can have an open minded discourse and allow all sides to be heard.
        I hope that the results are on the side of humanity.

      • desertrose7 says:

        Oh I know that it would never happen….in schools. That was just my way of saying that I no longer have faith in “MOST” parents, not all, but my fear, my concern, whether it is unjustly so or not is that the roots of our society, the FAMILY, is falling apart.
        Not only that, families/parents have so much to contend with these days – so much to fight against. The bombardment of less that ideal morals and values depicted by the media….the open slather of the internet. Anything goes….
        It’s the snivel libertarians all screaming about their “rights” that gets me.
        These minorities that demand freedoms at ANY cost.
        I’m pissed at those people! Greatly so.
        Those who forget about the greater good of mankind – the BIG picture.
        instead they are the “me me me”…..it’s all about ME, folk. What *I* want, and forget about the consequences on community and society……on the human race.
        It is my desperate fantasy, that “someone” should be allowed to teach children how to be decent and kind and respectful and live with a conscience.
        Can you imagine though….already I can hear “But what is the definition of decent?”
        You see….we’ve lost the plot.
        We don’t even KNOW anymore what it means.

      • Dan says:

        The family has been falling apart here in America for quite a while.
        But do you really believe that forcing control over anyone is the answer?
        From my vantage point the people are getting screwed from both sides.
        There are very few, on either side, who are interested in the common good.
        How would you propose “”that “someone” should be allowed to teach children how to be decent and kind and respectful and live with a conscience””?
        You’re right. There is not a commonality in what a majority of people would decide is “decent”.
        For instance, what’s happening here is that children can get help from their schools to get an abortion without having to tell the parents about it.
        When you hear that a local school system is now calling the “Easter” bunny the Spring bunny because they don’t want to offend someone, it’s not telling me that whomever is making those decisions is doing it for the greater good.
        When I hear about a professor telling his students to write the word Jesus on a piece of paper, put it on the floor and then stomp on it, do you think that such a thing is for the common good?
        Is that telling our children how to be decent?
        When I hear stuff like that I’m glad that I’m not a parent in today’s world.
        You can’t legislate love. There is a lack of respect for one another that is only getting worse, imho.
        Whatever happened to the golden rule? Did is suddenly lose it’s lustre?
        And if we’ve lost the plot whose fault is it?

      • desertrose7 says:

        I think that today stupidity is winning the race over common sense.
        This is something I’m very passionate about.
        I have no time or patience for all this political correctness.
        So some people don’t like the word Easter….? Well they need to suck it up, because that’s what some people believe , so respect for other peoples religious beliefs SHOULD BE the goal. You don’t have to agree, or follow their beliefs but for Gods sakes….it’s a WORD.
        Yes I DO believe in the principles of legislating rules that PROTECT society and make it a better/safer place for us all.
        On our own we are far to stupid to do it.
        We already do…..you commit a crime, you go to jail….you speed, you get fined….etc etc…

        Under my broad umbrella of “life skills” that I believe SHOULD be taught in schools are the basic principles – old fashioned ones YES , of etiquette, manners, respect and tolerance!
        I also think basic things like conflict resolution, anger management, issues surrounding depression and other common mental illness issues should be learned, explored and discussed. Skills you need to carry through with you for LIFE.
        Who would teach them?
        Well nobody, because people are too gutless. Too afraid of ‘offending” others.

      • desertrose7 says:

        Who’s fault is it?
        it’s ALL of ours….for standing back, in apathy…not having the balls or the drive to get PASSIONATE about what we “know” is for the greater good.
        The voices that scream the loudest are the ones who get heard, and insanely THEY (most of the time) are the ones demeaning common sense!

      • Dan says:

        “I think that today stupidity is winning the race over common sense. …”

        It’s not stupidity here. From my observations it’s arrogance. It’s the “I know better …” syndrome.
        If one chooses to live in the “real” world one should have a desire to make things better, yes?
        Today, it is academia that is in control. They are in control of the media for the most part and so a large portion of the population is only seeing and hearing one side of the story.
        Ah yes, the world of theoretical reality. Always wanting to spend someone else’s money and never trying to make people more responsible for their own results.
        And the thing is that these, shall we say, socialistic leanings didn’t work before and they aren’t working now. Look at what’s happening in Europe. The cradle to grave form of socialism cannot survive. Everyone is or soon will be blaming Germany for their practice of fiscal responsibility. And what do the media and academia want for America? They want to follow the same practices that will cause Europe to erode. Nearly 47% of the people in America don’t pay any taxes. Our national debt is getting close to 17 Trillion (with a ‘T’) dollars. Each day we spend $3.86 billion dollars more than we take in in revenues. You’re right, not much common sense in that, is there?

        Wish it was just a WORD. But it’s far more than that. These folks want to remove all respect for religions and remove it from society. With my last example about allowing children to get an abortion without even having to notify the parents is their way to break down the family unit.

        You won’t get any argument from me about legislating laws that help protect and make society a safer place in which to prosper. But it is “on our own …” that we have to be more responsible for our own actions.

        Aren’t those “life skills” the ones that parents should be teaching to their own children? Don’t the parents have a responsibility as the ones who brought these children into the world to do just that?
        I don’t know if they teach Civics any more which did, old fashioned, teach respect and tolerance.

        I agree that mental health has to be discussed in an “open” forum and dealt with more than it is now.

        Yes, we’re our own worst enemy. In the short term, perhaps the ones that yell loudest are the ones that are heard. In the long run I believe it is those like Jesus, Buddha, Gandhi, Mother Theresa, Martin Luther King who with their calmness and selflessness will raise the consciousness of all of humanity.

        I do have faith, however, that the pendulum will swing back to a more centered, accepting and tolerant civilization. The only really responsible choice, don’t you think?

        And I love the way you presented all that we’re talking about in your song Playground.
        It should make ever parent ponder their role and responsibility in bringing another human being into the world.

  3. Dan says:

    “…. That’s what life is all about, isn’t it?…Finding purpose …”
    Or perhaps life is all about giving?
    There are those who have a purpose of owning “stuff”.
    It’s even more difficult in our western societies to spawn spirituality since we are taught
    by most everyone, our parents, our teachers, our entertainment, what ever, you name it,
    to be the best and have the most that we can.
    Work hard and get good grades – be educated. Isn’t education the answer?
    Sure, just look at how our educated are handling world problems.
    If it feels good – do it. Just look at what the entertainment industry is putting out there.
    And lately, at least from my vantage point it’s forget about responsibility and ask “what’s in it for ME”.
    It’s not my fault.

    Yes, I doubt that there would be many who would have seen the same scene that you saw in that homeless man and thought or felt the spirituality that he conveyed. Almost a Mother Theresian style in his ways, yes?
    Do you see how blessed you are?
    And something tells me that you need not worry about that homeless man either.
    He too is blessed.

    I also feel blessed in that a few years ago, this song came to me from what i used to call my stream-of-unconsciousness. Or perhaps it was an awakening of the spirit.
    Just another viewpoint from a fellow traveler who is trying to make a difference and in the general realm of things, to enjoy life.

    • desertrose7 says:

      Oh I knew that homeless man was blessed, the minute I realised what he was doing. Perhaps a richer life than many.
      I love how people, who are completely oblivious to the fact, can touch your life, your thoughts…. Nobody is insignificant.
      There’s that tapestry again 🙂
      Glad for you you experienced your own awakening.
      Too many of us are busy sleeping our way through life.
      Thanks for reading and commenting Dan.

  4. Wonderful, so true, we are all part of the tapestry of life, the strands singularly are nothing, but woven together gives us something very beautiful… 🙂

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