A Grateful Heart

In the Bible we find the story of the ten persons who were healed by Jesus. One of them came back to say “Thank you.” Perhaps, one tenth is the correct percentage of people who have grateful hearts.

I never consciously and intentionally set out to help people. (No, I’m not the type who deliberately scour the streets and look for stray cats and dogs to feed or adopt.) Offering help is simply the DNA of our family. It’s something we do naturally because it’s just the right thing to do. Even when they were very young, when we went on vacation as a family, my kids would focus on buying gifts for their friends back home. If you like something, share! It’s something I learned from my late mother. My mum always taught me to be generous, always pay even if I were invited to a meal, always make sure people have more than enough to eat when you are the host; in my family, we feed guests until they can’t walk. Then we feed them again and pack extra food for them to bring home. If someone admired the purse my mum was using, she would give it to the person. She would say “I’ve enjoyed this, now let someone else enjoy it.” My mum had given away most of her jewelry to people in need so that they could pawn or sell them. So, I’m always around for anyone who needs a helping hand or a shoulder to cry on.

I have even helped entrepreneurs set up shop, even helped equipped their stores with furniture, coffee machine, etc and even stocked up the shops with inventory and merchandise at my expense. Of course, many people are ungrateful and some deliberately make themselves scarce after a while, because seeing me again would remind them of their less happy days, of those days in the past when they were in dire straits or in great need. (Being a trained psychologist, I can understand that. Yes, seeing me can be triggering indeed.) Some even turned around to bite the hand that fed them, and even had the gall to become rude to my friends. I never forget these things.

It is what it is. Karma will take care of it. My help is unconditional. I don’t sit around for people to come and go down on their knees to thank me. And I’m not like a Buddhist making merit; like I said, it’s only natural to help, and that’s the way I was brought up, and that’s how I bring up my kids. So what if I’m the most loved or the most hated man in the world? Heaven knows the good I’ve done! So, it doesn’t bother me when people who were the recipients of my largesse have turned into my enemies for whatever reason. At my age, I have no qualms letting people go because I am not in need of anything from anyone. With attachment comes unnecessary complications. Still, it is good to know that the little I do can sometimes touch lives.

I received a text the other week from someone I first met more than 20 years ago. I got to know her then, because of the beautiful poems she wrote. She was an undergraduate at that time.

Poet: I think about how richly you have loved and poured out to others.

Lohcifer: Thank you. I have not done much at all.

Poet: Hey Lohcifer, if not for you, I don’t think I’d be where I am today. Without your encouragement, I’d not have written. I’d not have gone to the US for that summer camp. My parents wouldn’t have considered letting me work overseas had they not seen that I could survive ten weeks away from them in faraway USA and that God provided for me and took care of me. I wouldn’t have been able to work in China and I wouldn’t have been prepared to take over and manage an entire organization after I returned. I wouldn’t have met my husband in Tianjin while working in China. I wouldn’t have worked in XXX, Singapore, and I wouldn’t be married if I didn’t go to China cos my husband and I don’t have any mutual friends and our paths wouldn’t have crossed at all! And I wouldn’t have two beautiful kids. Do you still think you didn’t do much at all?

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