The compound of the temple was a busy place today as it was every Tuesday. Food was served to poor people on this day. Rickshaw pullers and labourers sat in lines waiting for their turn to be served. Quietly and swiftly the food was served and one by one people started to leave after eating.
One little boy went out smiling after having had a hearty meal. Within minutes he came back, sobbing. The man who organized the meal was standing on one side, watching. He went up to the boy and asked him, “Why are you crying, son?” The boy was barely able to speak. Amidst the tears and the sobs he said, “My shoes.. I left them outside while I came in to eat. Someone has picked up my shoes.”
The man helped the boy to look for the missing shoes, but there was no sign of them. A worn out pair of slippers were left behind after every one had left.
The man looked at the boy and his tear stained face. He looked at his clothes and bare feet; he knew that the boy could not have got those shoes easily. He asked him, “Where did you get them from, son?” The boy said, “My mother washes the dishes in a house. Her mistress gave them to her for me, two years back. But now the mistresses son too has grown big and his old shoes won’t fit me. I will have to go without shoes this winter.” “No, you won’t,” said the kind hearted man. “What is your foot size?” “Four,” said the boy. “Where do you live?” asked the man. “Down this lane, the second house from the corner. I live in the annex behind the house. My mother works in that house.” “Alright, I will send you a pair of shoes tomorrow.” The boy managed a doubtful smile and said, “Do you have a son?” The man nodded. “And his old shoes would be of size 4?” “Yup!” said the man.
The little boy was telling his sister how unlucky he had been that his shoes had got stolen. Just then there was a knock at the door. And the unlucky boy became a lucky boy! He couldn’t believe his eyes, as his trembling hands opened the box and found a brand new pair of shoes rolled in crisp white rice paper! He had never worn a pair of new shoes, ever before. But as they say, strange are the ways of God!
Sometimes a loss may lead to a greater gain, but if only we have the patience to wait with faith!