I had a problem with my hot water cylinder so I phoned a plumber to fix it. In my bathroom were two signs one says, DEATH IS COMING WITH EVERY BREATH and the other, WHAT WOULD I REGRET IF I DIED TODAY?
The plumber was attending to the water cylinder and I was in the kitchen having breakfast. He asked if he could use the bathroom to wash his hands. He went out to his van a couple of times to get some tools and each time, I see him looking at me. When he finished the job he gave me some instructions and then just stood there looking sheepish.
I drank my tea.
Then he said to me, “that’s very interesting those signs in your bathroom.”
I drank my tea
“You know, life is for living, you don’t need to be depressed and think about death all the time,” he said to me. “There is joy out there you just got to go and look for it. If you think about death all the time that’s not good. I am a Christian and we don’t think about death we think about living. Perhaps you should try that.”
At school two little six year olds had an argument. They were both very upset when I called them over to talk to me.
I asked the first one what the problem was.
Pointing at the other girl with a quivering finger she said, amongst sobs, “she called me a F F F FAT BANANA. Why are you laughing?”
“Well,” I said, “are you a banana?”
“Are you fat?”
“Is it true?”
Softly I said to her, “so darling if it were true it would be serious, but it’s not true so it’s funny isn’t it?”
I asked the other girl, “why did you say that?”
“I wanted her to be my friend but she didn’t want to, so I called her a FAT BANANA… Naomi, I really love bananas.”
I smiled and said to her, “darling if you want someone to be your friend, that’s not the way to do it. First you have to help them if they need help, be kind to them and laugh at their jokes. Then they will want to be your friend because they can see that you are a kind and caring person.”
It was three weeks before Christmas and she asked me to visit her in Wellington, preferably before Christmas. I was leaving for India the following week and no cheap flights meant it was not possible. I phoned her and told her I would visit when I returned from India.
Whilst in India, my Teacher got an email saying she had been admitted into hospice. I was unsure that I would get back in time. However, my Teacher was confident that it would be okay. At least I was in one of the holiest places and attending a prayer festival. I sponsored some group prayers for her as well as doing my personal prayers for her.
I met the Tibetan family that my friend sponsored. They were very grateful for her kindness and generosity and very sad that my friend was terminally ill. They requested me to take a beautiful woollen shawl back to New Zealand for her.
Within a few days of arriving home, I flew to Wellington to see her. She was out of hospice and back in her own home, being well cared for by one of her sons and her sister. Upon arrival, I was greeted by a much thinner version of my friend who was still quite mobile due to the loving care of her son and sister. I stayed two days with her.