Last week, I shared a personal experience with you. I hate to do it again, but it’s not to speak about myself but rather to draw a lesson from it. Almost twenty years ago, an insignificant event happened in my life, which left a deep mark on my understanding of the true nature of giving.
At the turn of this century, when I was pursuing my education at Columbia University, at noon I used to enjoy Middle Eastern food: falafel, shawarma, hummus, baba ghanoush, and other dishes at a small Lebanese restaurant, “Amir,” located a couple of blocks from the university.
One after noon, as soon as I crossed the street, a black teen girl approaching me said, “Father, I am hungry, could I borrow some change?” I felt so bad for her. I was hungry too, yet I was lucky enough to have some money in my pocket, while this poor girl had to beg for it. For practical purposes, I used to keep each denomination in a different pocket. As I intended to give her $5, I took a bill out of the supposedly right pocket, and I noticed that it was a $20 dollar note. “This is her luck,” instantly I thought, and without hesitation, I handed the money to her. Until today, I can’t forget her look full of surprise, joy and exclamation repeatedly saying “Father, thank you, thank you, thank you”, and she was almost close to embrace me, I calmed her down and said, “Thank the Lord, girl, and use it only for food.” Before leaving her, I noticed drops of tears in her eyes…
Years have passed, but the thankful look of that poor girl has left a strong impact on my life, to grasp the message of Saint Paul, who said “in all this I have given you an example that by such work we must support the weak, remembering the words of the Lord Jesus , for He himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give then receive’ ” (Acts 20.35).
By sharing this private story, as I said in advance, my wish is that each and every one in their way may discover the essence of joy of giving without any expectation.
On this positive note, I am glad to inform you that with your generosity the Lebanese Relief Fund has reached to 90,825 dollars.
May God lead us to enjoy all His blessings and share them with those who are in need, most especially in these days our brothers and sisters in Lebanon.