One night a man came to our house and told me, “There is a family with eight children. They have not eaten for days,”
I took some food and I went. When I came to that family, I saw the faces of those little children disfigured by hunger. There was no sorrow or sadness in their faces, just the deep pain of hunger. I gave the rice to the mother. She divided the rice in two, and went out, carrying half the rice. When she came back, I asked her, “Where did you go?” She gave me this simple answer, “To my neighbours; they are hungry also.”
I was not surprised that she gave – poor people are really very generous. I was surprised that she knew they were hungry. As a rule, when we are suffering, we are so focused on ourselves, we have no time for others.
Source | Mother Teresa, Mother Teresa: No Greater Love
(New World Library, 1989) pages 39-40
When we are suffering, we are so focused on ourselves, we have no time for others.
A man observed a woman in the grocery store with a three year old girl in her basket. As they passed the cookie section, the little girl asked for cookies and her mother told her no. The little girl immediately began to whine and fuss, and the mother said quietly, “Now Monica, we just have half of the aisles left to go through; don’t be upset. It won’t be long.”
Soon they came to the candy aisle, and the little girl began to shout for candy. And when told she couldn’t have any, began to cry. The mother said, “There, there, Monica, don’t cry – only two more aisles to go, and then we’ll be checking out.”
When they got to the check-out stand, the little girls immediately began to clamor for gum and burst into a terrible tantrum upon discovering there’d be no gum purchased. The mother patiently said, “Monica, we’ll be through this check out stand in 5 minutes and then you can go home and have a nice nap.”
The man followed them out to the parking lot and stopped the woman to compliment her. “I couldn’t help noticing how patient you were with little Monica,” he began. Whereupon the mother said, “I’m Monica . . . my little girl’s name is Tammy.”
- Are you a patient person? How do you practice patience?
- What do you think is the relationship between patience and suffering? After all don’t we call someone who is in the hospital a patient?