As an old person and one of faith, I find myself asking:
What have I not done which I always hoped to do?
Given my diminishing energy and time to live, what is most important to do?
Who do I love most and do I relate to them enough?
What would I like to see changed in our life as a community and country and what could I still do to participate in the bringing in of those changes?
Do I still have enough faith to believe that things can be changed?
As I look at the life which I have lived, and which I will carry into life after death, are there actions which I would hope to add to what I have done?
A recent experience challenged me to feel more hopeful about the community around me and to join them more often in expanding that hope to others.
A friend and I were distributing this paper, the South Sydney Herald, in the centre of Newtown. As usual, we put our bundles of papers in a shopping trolley and I put my wallet (I thought) into the pocket at the back of the trolley. When we had finished our distribution round, we decided to have a coffee and I went to get my wallet from the trolley as we returned it to my car. Then I realised that I, stupidly, had put the wallet into a gap behind the pocket and it was now gone. The wallet was especially precious to me because my family had put their money together to buy me a beautiful new one for my recent birthday. Of course it had some money in too and the whole collection of my various cards. We asked at a number of nearby shops and the Newtown police if anyone had handed it in. No-one had received it, so I went home, several suburbs away, after cancelling my bank accounts.
Later in the day, I went out to my mailbox to check for my mail and there was a green envelope – no stamps on it, just my name and address. Inside was a little note which asked me to call the Newtown Central Newsagency immediately about my wallet! I did that and was told that their staff had my wallet. I couldn’t believe it, but I immediately drove back and arrived at the newsagency. They told me that an old man had found it on the footpath and given it to them in the hope that they might know how to get it back to me. He didn’t even leave his name and everything in my wallet was intact – he hadn’t taken a single cent out of it.
The newsagent staff had looked at my cards, including my business card, and had found my name and address. They then asked a local postie if a letter from them advising me that they had the wallet could be delivered to my address. The postie agreed to do it, even though the letter had no stamps and was out of their area. I told the newsagent staff how precious the wallet was to me and offered to make a donation to them. They refused to receive it. So many kind, honest and generous people! I couldn’t believe it.
It restored my faith in humankind and encouraged me to join them in relating to others with true kindness and affirmation. Whatever is the basis of our faith, or if we have no formal faith, I share this little story to give us more hope in what might be around us in our future and how we can share in creating new life.