One does not have to search far or long in this world for opportunities to lend a helping hand and be of service to a fellow pilgrim. In fact, there are times when opportunity not only knocks, but walks right in and hands us a blueprint on a silver platter, one which has all the earmarks of being just what the Architect ordered. Sometimes it calls for effort and sacrifice on our part, and there are other occasions when a great deal of good can be accomplished without the lifting of a hand; when just a few words will work apparent magic in the life of someone. It was the latter type of experience in which I was privileged to share.
A few years ago we became acquainted with a young lady working in the drug store where we frequently called, and in the natural course of events we also met her family. One of her brothers, whom we will call Charlie, was one of those unfortunate members of society upon whom karma, for reasons of its own, had laid a heavy hand. He had been born deformed, somewhat hunchback, with only one good arm, the other being but a stub below the elbow. With the possible exception of some inhibitions quite naturally resulting from the plight in which he found himself, he was mentally normal, was quite a reader, and reasonably well informed.
Speaking from a worldly viewpoint, his general appearance was against him; and although he was twenty-two years of age at the time, the only work he had ever been able to obtain was selling a popular weekly magazine from door to door. He had made the rounds of the factories and stores in search of employment of any kind — just anything that would be a job which would give him the feeling that he was not a thing apart, but belonged to life and its activity. However it was always the polite brush-off.
Charlie was one of those whom everybody felt sorry for, but not quite sorry enough to do anything about. I would frequently see him on the street with his magazine sack slung over his shoulder. Surely, I thought, life must hold some modicum of compensation somewhere, if it could only be found. In discussing his case with his sister she said to me: "He is so discouraged. No one will give him work of any kind, so he feels there is just no place for him in the world." Hardly thinking, and without the slightest idea in mind as to what I could do about it I replied: "Maybe something can be done; I will try."
After several days, during which time I did quite a little pondering over Charlie's problem, seeking some kind of a lead, I was no nearer a solution than before. It was then that Opportunity, as though having sensed my innermost thoughts and desires, calmly walked right into my own living room and in perfect English inquired: "Did you ring, sir?"
A friend of our daughter called at the house one Sunday afternoon. She was the secretary to the personnel director of a local manufacturing concern, and as we were engaged in the usual general conversation, Charlie suddenly flashed into my mind. I laid the case before her, the whole story, and asked her if she thought any kind of a place might be found for him in the plant. "I'll be glad to see what can be done," she replied.
The following day Charlie received a phone call requesting him to come in for an interview. After having received so many rebuffs, the very fact that someone had asked him to call had a magic all its own. It gave him a "lift" that was out of this world, as he later told me — a new lease on life, something that had never happened before in his twenty-two years upon this earth. He was given a job as errand boy and helping out in the cafeteria, and I do not believe that any President of the United States ever took office with greater hope or exultation of spirit than Charlie felt when he filled his own little niche, and stepped into the sunlight of life.
Later I met the personnel director at a dinner and thanked him. He told me Charlie was doing fine, fit in very nicely, and was well-liked by the other employees. He has been working there steadily now for some years. A life was changed, new hope born, and the unbelievable price of it all was just a few spoken words! If all the thanks I have received for this simple service were laid end to end, they would reach to Nirvana and back again. The writer hastens to disclaim any credit, for it involved no effort or sacrifice on his part whatever — only a desire to be of help, and the cards were simply played just as they were dealt by karmic destiny. The only point in the telling is to show that opportunities to become servants of the Good Law come to us at their appointed time, and it is but our simple duty to cultivate an awareness of their presence, act accordingly, and results will naturally fall into their proper place. And Service, like Virtue, is its own reward.
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