A father and son were walking together, enjoying the early morning breeze. They had covered a good distance when the father stopped suddenly and said, “Son, stop!”
The son said, “What’s wrong?”
The father said, “Nothing in particular, but let’s not walk any farther on this road.”
“Why not?” asked the son.
“Do you see that elderly man coming toward us?” the father asked, pointing down the road.
“Yes, I see him,” replied the son.
“He’s a friend of mine,” said the father. “He borrowed money from me and can’t pay it back. Each time he sees me he tells me he’ll borrow the money from someone else and give it to me. This has been going on for a long time, and I don’t want to embarrass him anymore.”
The son said, “Father, if you don’t want to embarrass him, why don’t you tell him that the money is a gift and you don’t want it back?”
“I’ve already told him that,” said the father. “When I said, ‘I don’t want it back; it’s a gift,’ he got mad. He said, ‘I’m not a beggar. I’m your friend. When I was in need, you gave me money, and when I can, I’ll give it back. I want to remain your friend, not become a beggar.’ Now I don’t want to embarrass him, and I don’t want to be embarrassed myself. So let’s take another road.”
The son said, “Father, you are truly good. I’m very proud of you. it’s usually the borrower who tries to avoid the lender. It’s usually the receiver who is embarrassed, not the giver. But you want to spare him embarrassment. What I have learned from you is a sympathetic oneness.”
from Garden of the Soul
by Sri Chinmoy
Published by Health Communications