Generosity in the Time of Greed
Dear Family and Friends,
The other day a Japanese professor asked me to decipher a handwritten diary that he needed for a research project. The author was, as this professor informed me, “William Woodville Rockhill, an American diplomat and a famous Tibetologist, who visited Outer Mongolia in December, 1913.”
I was intrigued by the task and wanted to give it a try. However, the writing was barely legible in places, worn and fragmented in others, yet fluid and elegant in way reminiscent of that bygone era.
But I have a friend, an American living in the USA, who had majored in history and is now retired. He would be perfect, I thought. And indeed, he was, in more ways than one.
Alan completed the task in record time, and said he enjoyed the challenge. When it came time for reimbursement, he simply said, “I am blessed with a good pension. I live a full and happy life. So, please give the money to the NGO of your choice.”
The Japanese professor was rather taken aback by this unexpected gesture of generosity. So, he allowed me to make this important decision. I suggested one of my favorite, hands-on groups – Sendai’s Yomawari.
Yesterday, despite the cold, with snow and piercing winds, Yomawari volunteers, as usual, were in a local park handing out delicious, nourishing food, warm clothes, and “happy bags” filled with items useful for survival on the street.
As we volunteers were working to serve the homeless guests, one organizer came to me and said, “Thank you so much for the extremely generous donation. Your friend was so very thoughtful and kind. His gift is rare and deeply appreciated. Please thank him for making such a difference, even briefly, in so many needy people’s lives.”