Monday, March 2, 2009

Sin And Redemption

The Cherry Thieves
Fritz Zuber-Bühler

My mother always used to say that each of us is born with a little larceny in us. I believe that's true. I'm certainly not perfect, that's for sure -- far from it, in fact. But I think most of us try to live responsible lives, and try not to hurt other people. Often, however, there are extenuating circumstances that can sometimes bring out the worst in people -- but can also bring out the best in people. Each of us has a little of both.

I want to share with you something wonderful that happened at work today. One of my co-workers was called to the front reception area; she was told there was someone who wanted to see her. When she got to the front area, there was a very nice, well-dressed gentleman who wanted to speak to her. My co-worker and the gentleman were deep in conversation for a few minutes. When she came back to her desk, my co-worker had a strange look on her face, and she was very quiet. A few moments later she sent out the following e-mail:

"Mr. "X" came to our clinic this morning asking if he could make a contribution to our “coffee fund”. I didn’t quite understand, as he is not an employee. He told me that about 10 years ago when he would roam the hospital grounds, he stole money from our coffee fund -- about $20.00 -- and was giving us $40.00 today, as he is now a recovered drug addict (10 years). I accepted $20.00 and congratulated him on his recovery and honesty."

One of the reasons I have always loved the stories of Somerset Maugham is because he understood the human condition, and his stories were always about human frailties and redemption. There is no black and white in life, but only varying shades of grey.

'Mr. X" could be a character out of one of Somerset Maugham's books, and everyone in our office wishes him well and Godspeed on his journey to redemption.

And now I am off to respond to all your comments on my previous post. What an interesting bunch of people you are...!

28 comments:

Kathy's Klothesline said...

Renewing faith in the goodness of mankind.

nomore said...

Thanks for the very impressive a story about the courageous a gentleman....They used to make this worlds getting to valuableness...They are really a honest person....

Mean Mama said...

Dear Jo,

This is a wonderful story, and I believe that we can all have the worst come out in us. I'm dealing with a person right now who I am honestly trying very hard not to hate, but she is making it extremely difficult. I do feel the worst come out in me, but it really only affects me, and unfortunately the people around me. It is something I am struggling with daily. I think we have a soul in the form of things that we create in this life. For instance your beautiful paintings, and in my case, my healing work and the way I raise my children. I think our souls are a tangible thing that creates a ripple through the people and environments we touch.

Lorna said...

He has a conscience. Not everyone has such a conscience.
~Lorna

Dominic said...

Every once in a rare while, we get to witness or be part of something truly amazing and humbling: an utterly unnecessary act of sheer goodness. Thanks for the reminder of how great people can be!

The last time I saw something like this was just before Christmas. I was sitting waiting for the bus, as always, with a modest woman and her two children, a boy and girl, both under 10 waiting across the street. A couple who jogs down these streets every morning passed by, and handed her on envelope as they passed her, and went on.

I didn't hear exactly what the note said, as I mostly heard the exclamations of the children, "5 thousand dollars! Mom!" and "Why did they give us that, mom?" with a final yelled "Merry Christmas," to which the couple waved and continued on.

Human kindness can and should be a bright light in these dark times.

Arley said...

What a great story. It took a lot of guts for that man to come back and do what he did. I only wish more people would "fess up" and take responsibility for their actions. If everyone made amends to at least one wrong doing in their lives, think of how much better this world would be!

Firefly said...

Very few people indeed would do something like that.

lovelyprism said...

That was a very brave thing for that man to do. I was starting to wonder if many people in this world ever took responsibility for their own actions.

Arcadia said...

Thank you so much for your article.What that person did it is truly a blessing,not everyone could stand and admit a mistake like that.
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Butler and Bagman said...

Yep! That is one of A.A.'s (or N.A.'s) greatest step..."Made direct amends to all we had hurt except when to do so would injure them or others. I went back to a liquor store I used to work for (and consumer their stock in the back room)...the guy was very nice and wouldn't take my money but I was prepared to give him about $200...at least he understood why he used to have an abnormally high percentage of "breakage" on my shifts.

greenpanda said...

That is a wonderful story. It shows just how, in this world where we kill each other and commit terrible crimes, that there are still some good people.

JR's Thumbprints said...

He should wear a nametag that says: My Name Is Earl.

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Russell said...

Okay.... I will upset the stream of happy talk here..! Heh!

I think it was nice for the fellow to return to the scene of his crime and make a bit of restitution to his victim. That is good but let's not forget that he stole the money years ago. He act of stealing was wrong. Whether the crime was prompted by drug addiction or something else, it was wrong to steal.

Now that the gentleman has returned and paid the money back - though a proper thing to do - does not make his crime any less serious.

I have worked with people over the years who did awful things to other people. The fact that later on in life they felt remorse for their earlier actions or attempted to make amends does not negate the wrongful act committed earlier.

I do not join in praising this man. He stole money and to now say he is a such a good guy because he returned the money, well, that doesn't work wtih me. I think it was proper that he paid the money back - but he should not have stolen it in the first place.

I will say I hope this gentleman has turned his life around and, if so, I congratulate him for that.

budh.aaah said...

I abhor thieves, and yet you are right Jo. There is some larceny in all of us. I remember how when I was 4-6 years old, used to go to the mangrove with my all my cousins and 'steal' mangoes. and boy was it fun.

DUTA said...

It happens often in the mature years that people attribute their misfortune in life to certain wrong doings in their past , and believe Repentance will ease their conscience and change to better the course of their life.

It happens sometimes on the deathbed when the dying person decides he/she doesn't want to carry to grave the burden of some heavy secret of betrayal, theft,murder , and confesses for the sake of the departing soul and for the sake of the remaining family.

In any case, BETTER LATE THAN NEVER.

Kimberly said...

Redemption is always right around the corner - we just have to make the turn.

Leslie: said...

Sounds like he's well on the path to redemption. Good for him and may God bless him.

introspection said...

Hi folks, I am with Russel again. Just bcoz one does an honest deed at a later stage in his life, it does not negate his wrong doing. He had stolen money and used it. No matter how much he repents he did wrong. May be his remorse and paying back the money deed makes him feel good and less guilty. That 's very good for him. Atleast that change in thinking will take care of his future. Good luck to him.
I am more impressed with Dominic's story of human kindness of the jogging couple. It was a superb gesture and yet so casually done....!

*¤ஐ» Battie°»ஐ¤*° said...

I like your blogs, very interesting stories you have :)

Not just this, but every one of them

Carl said...

Recovery is an amazing gift. Thank you for sharing that story.

Just Breathe said...

Is it not like the criminal who accepts/receives God on his deathbed so that he may be forgiven his/her sins?
I still like the story and think that it shows beauty in humanity. Yin and yang baby, yin and yang. Balance in the universe :-)

Dr.John said...

I love stories like that. They make my glasses fog.

jackc50 said...

are there crimes where there can't be redemption? just wondering, jc

Russell said...

Mr. jackc50 wrote "are there crimes where there can't be redemption? just wondering, jc." I will answer his inquiry with a story - that happens to be true...

A man makes a decision to drive a car - even though he is drunk. His friends try to stop him but he pushes them away, yelling "I'm okay, damn it!"

A few miles down the road he drives his car into a woman and child riding their bicycles. He kills them both. The woman was 38 years old. The child was 6.

It was the man's 7th OWI charge. But he woke up the next morning. It was the first time the woman and child were in such an accident. They never woke up.

The family of the woman and child have had their lives ripped apart forever - the joys and companionship of their lives taken away by a man who made a decision to drive while drunk.

The man can seek redemption through his religious beliefs or from society. He will never receive it from the family he destroyed.

Redemption, restitution and forgiveness are not synonymous terms.

Turning to Jesus (or whatever religious belief you subscribe to) or believing that Jesus forgives you does not elminate the wrongful act - but it provides comfort to the person who committed the wrongful act.

Faithful said...

I have to tell you.. your posts and the comments leave me thinking, somthing i enjoy. Thanks!

Mona said...

oh gosh...i've been thinking how i can repay jcpenney for a pair of earrings i stole from them when i was a teenager...i still have that pair of earrings and i feel bad every time i look at it...i need to find a way to redeem myself...thanks for reminding me...

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