Personal Reflection: 04 January 2011

I just read a very moving story about the awesome power of kindness…

One day, a poor boy was selling goods from door to door to pay his way through school, found he had only on thin dime left, and he was jungry.  He decided he would ask for a meal at the next house. However, he lost his nerve when a lovely young woman opened the door.

Instead of a meal, he asked for a drink of water.  She thought he looked hungry and so she broought him a large glass of milk.  He drank it slowly, and then asked, “How much do I owe you?”

“You don’t owe me anything,” she replied.  “Mother has taught us never to accept pay for a kindness.”  He said, “Then I thank you from my heart.”  As Howard Kelly left that house, he not only felt stronger physically, but his faith in God and man was strengthened also.  He had been ready to give up and quit.

Years later, that young woman became critically ill.  The local doctors weer baffled.  They finally sent her to the big city where they called in specialists to study her rare illness.

Dr. Howard Kelly was called in for consultation.  Whe he heard the name of the town she came from, he went down the hall of the hospital to her room.  Dressed in his doctor’s gown, he went in to see her.  He recognized her at once.  He went back to the consultation room determined to dfo his best to save her life.  From that day, he gave special attention to the case.

After a long struggle, the battle was won.  Dr. Kelly requested from the business office to pass the final billing to him for approval.  He looked at it, then wrote something on the edge, and the bill was sent to her room.  She feared to open it, for she was sure it would take the rest of her life to pay for it all.   Finally, she looked and something caught her attention on the side of the bill.  She read these words:

“PAID IN FULL WITH ONE GLASS OF MILK.”
(Signed)
Dr. Howard Kelly

Dr. Howard Kelly was a distinguished physician who, in 1895, founded the Johns Hopkins Division of Gyneclogic Oncology at Johns Hopkins University.  According to Dr. Kelly’s biographer, Audrey Davis, the doctor was on a walking trip through Northern Pennsylvania one spring day when he stopped by a farm house for a drink of water.

You’ll never know the effect one simple act of kindness can do for a person.  In this story, that glass of milk restored a failing faith of a destitute boy…a failing faith in God and in his fellow man.  It didn’t call for much, but the effect was profound.  To those of us who may sometimes feel a loss of appetite for a dish repeated often, some people might look at that same meal as if the Heavens opened and Christmas just arrived!  Let us be kinder to our fellow human beings regardless of the their station in life.  Mother Teresa said it so eloquently, “Even the rich are hungry for love, for being cared for, for being wanted, for having someone to call their own.”

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