Speaker Bob Perks was at an airport when he ‘overheard a father and daughter in their last moments together. They had announced her departure and standing near the security gate, they hugged and he said, “I love you. I wish you enough.” She in turn said, “Daddy, our life together has been more than enough. Your love is all I ever needed. I wish you enough, too, Daddy.”
They kissed and she left. He walked over toward the window where I was seated. Standing there I could see he wanted and needed to cry. I tried not to intrude on his privacy, but he welcomed me in by asking, “Did you ever say goodbye to someone knowing it would be forever?”
“Yes, I have,” I replied. Saying that brought back memories I had of expressing my love and appreciation for all my Dad had done for me. Recognizing that his days were limited, I took the time to tell him face to face how much he meant to me.
So I knew what this man experiencing.
“Forgive me for asking, but why is this a forever goodbye?” I asked.
“I am old and she lives much too far away. I have challenges ahead and the reality is, the next trip back would be for my funeral,” he said.
“When you were saying goodbye I heard you say, “I wish you enough.” May I ask what that means?”
He began to smile. “That’s a wish that has been handed down from other generations. My parents used to say it to everyone.” He paused for a moment and looking up as if trying to remember it in detail, he smiled even more.”When we said ‘I wish you enough,’ we were wanting the other person to have a life filled with just enough good things to sustain them,” he continued and then turning toward me he shared the following as if he were reciting it from memory.
“I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright.
I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun more.
I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive.
I wish you enough pain so that the smallest joys in life appear much bigger.
I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.
I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess.
I wish enough “Hello’s” to get you through the final “Goodbye.”
He then began to sob and walked away.
My friends, I wish you enough!’
Source: Bob Perks. Used with permission
The poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge once had a discussion with a man who argued that children should not be given any religious training, but should be free to choose their own faith when they were old enough to decide for themselves. Coleridge later invited him into his garden. It seems our Mr Coleridge was a great poet but not a great gardener. “Do you call this a garden?” the visitor asked. “There are nothing but weeds here!”
“Well, you see,” Coleridge replied, “I did not wish to infringe upon the liberty of the garden in any way. I was just giving the garden a chance to express itself.”
Source: Reported in Daily Walk, March 28, 1992
Simon Wiesenthal was a young Jewish man working in a Polish architectural office when Hitler’s Nazis invaded his homeland. From 1941 until the end of the war in 1945 he was imprisoned in Nazi concentration camps. he survived, but 89 of his relatives did not.
After the war he wrote a book called The Sunflower. The Possibilities and Limits of Forgiveness. In that book he relates an odd but haunting experience. At one stage Wiesenthal and some fellow prisoners were given the job of removing garbage from a hospital for wounded German soldiers. As they did so they would pass the a cemetery housing German soldiers who had died. The graves were covered with sunflowers, something Wiesenthal envied knowing he would probably be buried in a mass grave under a pile of other Jewish corpses.
One day a nurse approached him as he was on garbage detail at the hospital. She asked him to follow her, and led him into a hospital room containing a wounded soldier. He came across a man whose face was covered in bandages, with openings cut for mouth, nose, and ears. he was dying.
The man started to speak. “My name is Karl…I joined the SS as a volunteer. I must tell you something dreadful…. Something inhuman. It happened a year ago… Yes it is a year since the crime I committed. I have to talk to someone about it, perhaps that will help.”
He grabbed Wiesenthal by the hand, holding him tightly so he could not get away. “I must tell you of this horrible deed – tell you because…you are a Jew.” Karl told of atrocities too savage to repeat. Of hatred and rage directed against Jews. Then he turned to Simon Wiesenthal and said “In the last hours of my life you are with me. I do not know who you are. I know only that you are a Jew and that is enough. I know what I have told you is terrible. In the long nights while I have been waiting for death, time and again I have longed to talk to a Jew and beg forgiveness from him. I know what I am asking is almost too much for you, but without your answer I cannot die in peace…I beg for forgiveness…”
Simon Wiesenthal, an architect in his early twenties, now a prisoner, stared out the window at the sunlit courtyard. He watched a bluebottle fly buzzing the man’s body.
“At last I made up my mind” Wiesenthal says in The Sunflower. “And without a word I left the room”.
Source: Reported in Simon Wiesenthal, The Sunflower
In the summer of 1967, Joni Erickson and her sister rode their horses to the Chesapeake Bay to go for a swim. The result was tragic. Joni dived into shallow water, struck her head on a rock and became a quadriplegic. She is paralysed from the neck down.
During two years of often painful rehabilitation Joni learned how to paint with her mouth, and what this disability meant for her faith. At times Joni was angry with God, demanding to know why he let this happen, even at times wishing she hadn’t survived. But in the years since Joni has learned that it is in her weakness that God’s strength can shine through. She has been a source of enormous blessing to people all over the world as she shares the faith that sustains her.
At first Joni found it impossible to reconcile her condition with her belief in a loving God. But one night Joni became convinced God did understand. The catalyst was a good friend who said to her, “Joni, Jesus knows how you feel. He was paralysed. He couldn’t move or change position on the cross. He was paralysed by the nails.” The realization was profoundly comforting. “God became incredibly close to me and eventually I understood that He loves me. I had no other identity but God, and gradually He became enough,” stated Joni. “I prayed for healing and truly believed it would come. The Bible speaks of our bodies’ being glorified’. Now I realize I will be healed; I’m just going through a forty or fifty year delay, and God stays with me even through that.”
Source: Joni and friends website, Joni’s books