Originally published in the WFCF Newsletter, Vol. 6, No. 1, April 2010
My morning routine begins with reading the daily passage from Eknath Easwaran’s Words to Live By: A Daily Guide to Leading an Exceptional Life. Easwaran has taken excerpts from the Bible, Bhagavad Gita, and other holy texts as well as the writing f mystics and spiritual greats and interpreted those texts and writings in a way that is relevant to our everyday lives. Many times as I read and reflect upon that day’s text, I am reminded that its relevance to me relates to my world as I know and experience it – a world of relative security, stability, comfort, good health and overall well-being. Remarkably, the same text can be relevant and equally powerful for those children WFCF seeks to serve, despite their physical and emotional disabilities and he seemingly hopeless conditions in which many of them live. What is the common thread? In my opinion, it’s the unity of mankind at the deepest level, the God-source within.
When we see that everything in our universe in connected, even levels that we cannot perceive, we realize living separately is fiction. With this realization we no longer see the disabled and orphaned child who crawls around on hands and knees as a poor soul living in a foreign country, someone merely in need of our material beneficence or worse than that, as someone, so far removed from us and our world, to be ignored. Rather, seeing that child as a part of us we experience and embrace his suffering, fears, aspirations and hopes as or own, no longer detached and separate, safely removed from our comfortable existence. Viewed in this way, the disabled and orphaned child is not an object or our pity but one to whom we owe the same compassion and love as God, shows to us. At the deepest level, her existence is intertwined with ours and he surface distinctions of skin color, geography, physical and medical health and capabilities, and possessions are meaningless. We are all members of the universe, none better or less deserving than any other.
Nonetheless, I feel an obligation as one to whom material possessions have been entrusted to recognize and fulfill the needs of other less fortunate. It’s not out of pity that a sense of obligation arises; instead, it’s because the paid and suffering experienced by orphaned and disabled children is a part of me. This is what I believe Jesus meant when he said in as much as you do it unto the least of these you do it unto me, the God-source within.
Many charitable organizations serving the needs of third-world children showcase examples of desperation and abject poverty, in every respect of those words. I would submit that we in the West judge poverty by material possessions, not by the heart or soul. India has been referred to as the land where heart is king. What a marvelous observation! One billion people co-exist in one country on the strength of a heartfelt concern for one another, a concern that is oblivious to the color, religion, nationality, and other differences that tend to separate. Do you feel a hole in your sole? Do you see despair or hope in the eyes of suffering children – it’s a fine line that divides the two, though viewed from our perspective it’s usually the former. Will you join me in getting in touch with that part of your soul that sees the latter – hope – in the eyes of these children and acting on that heart felt emotion? Thank you for your consideration and my God bless you.