In that never ending urge to accumulate and to possess things, we create in our homes a humid and disagreeable place to deposit everything that we don’t use or need, thinking selfishly about the day where they will come in handy. And so, we loose the opportunity of helping a human being that could desperately need the things that are hoarded away, slowly becoming useless and deteriorated.
Once, before initiating the daily section called “Seeds for the Spirit” in the show called “Good Morning”, Jota Mario, the star of the show said to me: “Papá Jaime, there is a crippled little girl who lives with her aunt in a slum in subhuman conditions and she needs a wheel chair.” We talked about the case and I spoke about the importance of loving service and of giving without expecting retribution. I remember saying emphatically that those things that are not used after six months, no longer belong to us, and should therefore be given to someone who needs them. I explained clearly that stores rooms, where old blankets, tools, pictures, bicycles, etc. should not even exist.
At the end of my part of the show, nearly one hundred people called me; 99 of them told me that they also needed a wheel chair and only one woman offered one that could be collected at her house. I said that it might be a good idea for her to go to the studio with the wheel chair so that we could give it together to the little girl, who lived in the Simon Bolivar sector of town. The woman answered that she trusted me and that there was no problem in having the chair picked up; I responded that it wasn’t a question of trust, but rather of feeling the satisfaction of giving it personally. “I want you to come with me and experience personally the great joy derived from giving and the happiness you feel by serving. You don’t have the least idea of what a pleasure it is to experience this.” I then went on to explain that it is one thing to know what an apple is, its texture, its color and form, and another is to bite into it and to experience its flavor. After this explanation she agreed to come with me to Hangman’s Hill, in Ciudad Bolivar, where people often hang themselves out of despair.
The sewer was on the surface and flowed into a canal wedged on the slope. When she felt the cold and the putrid environment, the woman wanted to go back, but finally we arrived at a dark and dense room, where this twelve year old creature lived. We were told that the budding breasts of this child were totally ruined by wounds and callousness because for the greater part of her life she had had to crawl like a snake to get about. As I picked her up, I sensed a waft of foulness, worse than the sewers. We sat her on the wheel chair and took her out for a ride.
When the girl got out in the sunlight and saw the mountains she began to laugh in a loud and strange way. For a moment I thought that she might be retarded, but what really happened is that she had never been outside her room. She had never even seen a bus. We continued our outing until we got to the corner, where they had prepared a barbecue which we decided to try.
While we were eating, the woman cried and cried. I asked her why she was crying and she answered: “Papá Jaime, you have no idea”. I told her she should be happy to have done such a good deed for the misfortunate girl. And she looked at me and with a tearful voice, se said: “I am crying because I had that wheel chair in the garage at home for over eight years. I cry just thinking about this poor child, crawling like a snake on the ground all the time the chair was rusting from lack of use at home. She had never had an outing until today. I cry for the opportunities I’ve had of helping others that I have wasted.” Pain is caused when we don’t act.
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