Last weekend I visit my friends in Los Angeles. For lunch, we decided to go to a vegetarian buffet, the aptly named Sweet Veggie. It wasn’t fancy, but it was very clean and neat, with a warm and soft feeling. The food was absolutely delicious. I’d never seen so many vegetarian dishes! Turns out, the owner had a garden growing all the vegetables served in the restaurant. The best food comes from the freshest ingredients, after all.
Besides the welcoming mood and quality food, this charming little place had one more thing up its sleeves – or rather, on its tables. Under each glass table cover, there is a short story in both Chinese and English. They are all quite touching, and I think they are worth sharing.
The True Story of a Grateful Whale
If you read the front page story of the San Francisco Chronicle on Thursday, Dec 15, 2005, you would have read about a female humpback whale who had become entangled in a spider web of crab traps and lines.
The fifty-foot whale was weighted down by hundreds of pounds of traps that caused her to struggle to stay afloat. She also had hundreds of yards of line rope wrapped around her tail, her torso and a line tugging in her mouth.
A fisherman spotted her just east of the Farallone Islands (outside the Golden Gate) and radioed an environmental group for help. Within a few hours, the rescue team arrived and determined that she was so bad off, the only way to save her was to dive in and untangle her – a very dangerous proposition. One slap of the tail could kill a rescuer.
They worked for hours with curved knifes and eventually freed her. When she was free, the divers say she swam in what seemed like joyous circles. she then came back to each every diver, one at a time and nudged them, pushed them gently around – she thanked them. Some said it was the most incredibly beautiful experience of their lives. The guy who cut the rope out of her mouth says that her eye following him the whole time, and he will never be, and he will never be the same.
May you, and all those you love, be so blessed and fortunate and be surrounded by people who will help you get untangled from the things that are binding you. And, may you always know the joy of giving and receiving gratitude.
Once there were two brothers working and living together on their farm. The oldest one of them was married with a large family and the younger one was single. At the end of every day, the two brothers share everything equally, produce and profit and anything they get from the farm.
Then one day the younger brother said to himself, “it’s not fair that we should share equally the produce and the profit. I’m alone and my needs are simple.” So, each night he took a sack of grain from his bin and crept across the field between their houses, dumping it into his brother’s bin.
Meanwhile, the married brother said to himself, “it’s not fair that we should share the produce and the profit equally. After all, I’m married, and I have my wife and my children to look after me for years to come. And my brother has no one, and no one to take care of his future.” So each night he took a sack of grain and dumped into his single brother’s bin.
This continued for years and both of them were puzzled in light of the fact that their supply of grain never dwindled. Then at one very dark night the two brothers bumped into each other. Gradually it occurred to them what was going on. They dropped their sacks and hugged each other.