An old man walked through the outskirts of Chandrapur. He was very thin and his legs and arms were covered with sores. When dogs chased him, he never turned to strike at them with his staff. He simply walked on. When children threw stones at him and called him names, he never cursed them. He simply walked on.
The old man fell and lay by the side of the road wondering why God was so cruel.
“I have outlived all those I loved and I have grown so old and ugly that dogs bark at me and children throw stones,” he said. I have had nothing but scraps to eat and no decent meal with family and friends for many years and I have no home. Tonight, I will sleep under a tree or a bush with no roof to keep off the rain. I have no treasures. My heart is as empty as my begging bowl.
“I do not hate you, God, but I fear you. I fear you are not my friend.”
Having said this, the old man felt a little better and resumed his walk. Beside the road, he found a walking stick stronger than the one he had. He discarded the old stick and walked on. He began to reproach himself for his self-pity and for his ungrateful prayer.
A Change of Heart
“I do have a few things to be grateful for. I can still walk. And, I have a new walking stick to help me. The day is extraordinarily beautiful. And, although I have failed in many respects, my vision remains keen. Think how terrible it would be if I were blind!
“I do have a few treasures,” he told himself. “I will spend the rest of the day remembering that I may be a beggar but at least I am not a blind beggar and I will be happy. And, I will enjoy this beautiful day and I will be happy!”
The old man walked on. He looked with joy at the blue sky and the yellow fields. He marked the flight of a bird from one tree to the next with laughter. His sore feet and his aching back were forgotten.
“Thank you, God!” he cried. “Perhaps I shall see something of value on the road that I can sell at a bazaar or even find a coin. If I do not, I will still be grateful for the treasures I do have. Thank you again, God.”