Posted in Family and Society, Life, Personal Musings, Stories Around the World

“Doing Good”, From Within

“How far that little candle throws his beams! So shines a good deed in a weary world.” William Shakespeare (The Merchant of Venice)

One of the feelings that man is silently on the look out for, is the feeling of being  loved, recognized or appreciated. One tries seeking it many places, known or unknown to them. When one strives to do something good, kind or be generous by actions, words or thoughts; one secretly harbours the feeling and hope that these would be appreciated, whether those feelings come by knowingly or unknowingly.

“Know you not that a good man does nothing for appearance sake, but for the sake of having done right?” Epictetus 

What one often forgets is that, “doing good” doesn’t come with a tag that says “thank me” but with a hidden code that reveals how much comes from truly within. We can do good or be kind; because we want to or, just because we hope that some one would do it for us when we need it or, for some one of our own who may need it. Whatever the reason may be, unless we do “good” from deep within our hearts, all these would be in vain. For the real meaning of “doing good” would be lost, if it never began from within first.

“Be happy, noble heart, be blessed for all the good thou hast done and wilt do hereafter, and let my gratitude remain in obscurity like your good deeds.” Alexandre Dumas(The Count of Monte Cristo )

One woman baked two tortillas every morning. One for family members, and the second, additional, for the casual passerby. The woman always put the second flat cake on a window sill, and any person passing by could take it. Every day, when a woman laid a cake on the windowsill, she offered a prayer for her son, who had left the house to look for a better life. For months, the mother knew nothing about her boy and always prayed for his safe return.

Soon she noticed that a hunchback came every day and took the second cake. But instead of the words of gratitude, he only muttered: “The evil that you do remains with you, and the good returns to you!” and went on his way. This went on day after day. Not receiving the expected words of gratitude, the woman felt deceived. “Every day this hunchback says the same thing! But what does he mean?”
And one day, being especially irritated, she decided to end this. “I’ll get rid of this nasty hunchback!” She said to herself and added poison to the second tortilla. But when she was about to put her on the windowsill, the woman’s hands trembled. “What am I doing?” – she thought. And immediately threw the poisonous tortilla into the fire, cooked another one and put it on the windowsill. The hunchback, as usual, took the cake, muttering the constant words: “The evil that you do remains with you, and the good returns to you!” and continued on his way, unaware of the emotions raging inside the woman.

That same night someone knocked on the door. When the woman opened it, she saw her son standing in the doorway. He looked awful: hungry, thin, weak, in torn clothes. “Mom, it’s just a miracle that I’m here! I was just a mile from home, but I was so hungry that I fainted. I probably would have died, but just then some old hunchback passed by and he was so kind to me that he gave a whole cake. And he said that this was his only meal for the whole day, but he sees that I need her more than he does. ” When the mother heard these words, her face turned pale and she leaned to the door so as not to fall. She remembered the poisoned morning cake. After all, if she had not burned it in the fire, her own son would have died! It was then that the woman understood the meaning of the words: “The evil that you do remains with you, and the good returns to you!”

Moral of the story: Strive to do good always, even if no one appreciates it now.

“Every time you do a good deed you shine the light a little farther into the dark. And the thing is, when you’re gone that light is going to keep shining on, pushing the shadows back.” Charles de lint