Eleven Envelopes with 101 Dollars
--by Sukh, posted Oct 13, 2006
What people appreciate the most is the people. That’s what we learn at the annual "Walk for Hope" each year. Sure the quotes are great. This year they were even hand made and literally took over three months to create. The activity stations are great too, they give the walkers a chance to pause, interact and reflect. But year after year, people always say that the best part of the walk is interacting with all the people that are there. What a concept, just your mere presence becomes a gift at the walk for hope. Just by choosing to walk, you are giving a gift to another walker.
The people that come to the Walk are pretty unique I would agree. They participate in both the moments of silence and the warm-up exercises by the Laker Girls. They wish to make the world a better place and they know that they can’t do that by judging others. They give of their lives, of their resources, and of their hearts.
I learned this first hand.
15 minutes into the event, someone who had traveled from Northern California to be at this event walked up to me and handed me an envelope. They said that some random person had asked them to deliver it to me and that they wished to remain anonymous. I suspected a few of the usual suspects but this was no ordinary random act of kindness. The envelope had a quote hand written on the outside: “Nature is full of genius, full of divinity; so that not a snowflake escapes its fashioning hand” - Thoreau. Through the thin envelope I could tell that it contained some money. I opened the envelope and found $101. I was shocked. Someone had just handed me $101 and I had no idea who.
All I could think about was how amazing the people at the Walk for Hope are. Their mere presence was a gift to me, but now that gift also came with $101. I wasn’t sure what I would do with the money, but I was already thinking of creative ways to give it away.
Lost in my thoughts I continued to mingle with the crowd. 15 minutes pass by and a random person approaches me. They hand me an envelope. Same story. Someone had asked them to deliver the envelope to me and yet they refused to get any recognition. There is another quote hand-written on the envelope: “The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science.” -Albert Einstein. I open the envelope and inside I find $101.
15 minutes later, someone approaches me, hands me an envelope and smiles. “This is from a random stranger who wishes to remain anonymous”. They place the envelope in my open hands and walk away. All I can do is stare in their direction as they leave me speechless. I don’t know who this delivery person is, or who they had just met, but the interaction that took place between these two strangers is changing my life. Time becomes more visible. A few minutes ago a transaction took place. Two people met, some conversation took place, and a gift was exchanged. In this present moment, one of the two strangers is handing me an envelope. Somehow, without knowing, without choosing, my life is tied to the interaction of these two strangers. “The best way to find yourself, is to lose yourself in the service of others.” - Gandhi, it says on the envelope. Inside is $101.
Noon rolls around and I now have seven envelopes in my pocket. I’m scared. I begin to fear every person who comes up to me to say hello. I have the great fortune of being able to interact with many people on the day of the Walk, and now this role scares me. I’ve got $707 dollars in my pocket and I know that each additional penny that I collect will force me to open my heart in ways it has not opened before.
I sit down and this time it’s a nun. She greets me with “Om Shanti”, which to me in that moment means: let there be love between us. She hands me an envelope, walks away, and leaves me in tears. The Walk for Hope is almost over, I have to make my way to the stage to make a few announcements yet all I can do is sit and cry. Om Shanti.
I learned to accept. I learned to bow. I learned to touch the feet of every person who handed me an envelope. I learned that there is love between us. I learned to cry. I learned that someone somewhere out there has faith in me. I learned to have faith in myself.
With eleven profound gestures of kindness, I ended up with eleven envelopes, eleven quotes and $1111 (all One's) in my pocket.
11 random strangers learned the joy of giving. They became tied to my life.
All 11 quotes from the envelopes:
- "Nature is full of genius, full of divinity; so that not a snowflake escapes its fashioning hand." - Thoreau
- "The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science." -Albert Einstein
- "The best way to find yourself, is to lose yourself in the service of others." - Gandhi
- "Strong reasons make strong actions." - Shakespeare
- "The miracle is this — the more we share, the more we have." - Leonard Nimoy
- "All things appear and disappear because of the concurrence of causes and conditions. Nothing ever exists entirely alone; everything is in relation to everything else." - Buddha
- "No one has ever become poor by giving." - Anne Frank
- "Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail." - Emerson
- "Although the world is full of suffering, it is full also of the overcoming of it." - Helen Keller
- "It is well to give when asked, but it is better to give unasked, through understanding." - Kahlil Gibran
- "What is done out of love always take place beyond good and evil." - Friedrich Nietzsche
Dear friend, whoever you may be, thank you for the envelopes, the love you left inside, the quotes, and for the 11 random people you brought into my life. Ironically, we were $1100 short this year. Now, we're looking to pay forward the $11 that we're ahead. Life is beautiful. Thank you.