SARA BUBBER shares a story from AUDREY LIN of ServiceSpace, and then offers us some reflective questions and an experiment to do for a month.
Once there lived a joyful man called Julio and he helped anyone he could. He dropped people to places without charging them, he anonymously paid off people’s debts, and regularly bought food for homeless people. He played games with young children and regaled them with stories.
One night he was taking the Metro to his favorite restaurant, and he and a young man were the last ones in the cabin. He reached his station and both got off the train. Julio began to walk to the restaurant, eager to meet his friends. Suddenly the young man sprang in front of him, pointing a knife at his stomach, and said aggressively, “Stay quiet and hand me your wallet.” Julio was a little confused, but he took out his wallet and handed it to the young man. The young man maintained his menacing look and pointed at his beautiful gold watch, saying “That too! Be quick.”
Julio took off his watch and gave it to the young man. Julio smiled, took off his jacket and gave it to him, saying, “Probably you are cold. Here, please take this also.”
The young man was surprised, but any gifts were welcome.
The young man was about to disappear into the darkness of the lonely street when Julio stopped him. He put his hand on the young man’s shoulder and asked if he was hungry. Now the young man was perplexed.
He brought out his knife and his angry look again, and said, “Are you trying to pull a swifty? Because if you are…”
Julio smiled and said, “No, don’t worry, I’m going to a restaurant. Come join me.”
The man followed Julio to the restaurant and watched everyone greet him joyfully. “Hello Julio! How are you today?” “Julio, I thought I would catch up with you, glad we met here!” The young man thought he would meet his end. Everyone knew the man he robbed and he would tattle. He was surprised when Julio walked to a table, pulled a chair for him and invited him to sit. Julio recommended his favorite hot soup and asked the waiter to bring a couple of hot dishes for his young friend. Stunned, the young man ate but really didn’t know what was happening.
After a hearty meal, Julio asked him how his evening was.
The young man had no words. He managed to splutter “excellent… warm food.”
Julio then said, “Now, I would be happy to pay the cheque, but my wallet is with you.”
Tears streamed down the young man’s face and he hugged Julio. Out came the wallet, the gold watch, and the coat, along with a sheepish sorry. Julio gave the coat back to him and said, “I think you need this more than I do.”
The young man walked away into the darkness, whistling a lullaby his mother had sung to him, and smiled, finally feeling warm in his heart.
An experiment of love
Think of five people you love the most and write their names down.
Now that you have identified the people you love the most, try to extend that feeling to a wider circle. It may be difficult to be like Julio and feel love and compassion for everyone, so this experiment from the Heartfulness practices will help.
At 9 p.m. every day, for 5 to 10 minutes, pause your activities and think that everyone is being filled with love and devotion and that real faith is growing stronger in them.
Try it for a month and see what happens. Let the magic of these words unfold over time!
Illustrations by LAKSHMI GADDAM