January 1, 2010

From: Mohammed Rafiq Lodhia
To: My Fellow Americans

My Fellow Americans,

On the New Year’s Eve, reflecting upon the year that has just passed us, I kept wondering about the word “Compassion” and clicked upon the wonderful world of YouTube to search for the meaning. Dr. Hunter “Patch” Adams, brilliantly played by Robin Williams in the movie “Patch Adams” caught my attention. At one given point in the movie Patch Adams packs his things and leaves medical school and standing right at the edge of a steep cliff turn against God with a moving dialogue as follows:

“OK, let’s look at the logic. You create man, Man suffers enormous amounts
of pain. Man dies. Maybe you should’ve had just a few more brainstorming
sessions prior to creation. You rested on the seventh day. May be you
should’ve spent that day on compassion. You know what? You’re not worth it?”

We humans do every now and then question “Our Creator” when we see wide spread sufferings on this beautiful Planet Earth. The crux of the problem is that we utterly fail to realize that it is not because God lacks compassion, but because we remain so self-centered that most of us have lost the art of caring and loving one another for humanity at large.

Why question God for not having a few brainstorming sessions? Why not have a few reading sessions of our own greater than life personalities who have dedicated their lives to serve humanity with compassion? Let’s look into the lives of such great persons as, Dr. Albert Schweitzer, Mother Teresa, and the three living legends, Dr. Hunter “Patch” Adams, the founder of Gesundheit! Institute located in Hillsboro, West Virginia, Dr. Devi Shetty of Narayana Hrudayalaya Hospital in Bangalore, India, who was a cardiac surgeon of Mother Teresa, and Abdul Sattar Edhi of Edhi Foundation based in Karachi, Pakistan who according to the Guinness Book of World Records maintains the largest volunteer ambulance service in the world.

HANDS THAT SERVE ARE MORE SACRED THAN LIPS THAT PRAY remains inscripted in one of the two pictures of Mother Teresa which hang in Dr. Shetty’s office. Human lips will continue to be plaintive about God not being sensitive towards the enormous amount of pain and sufferings, but we forget that it is only the human hands that can mitigate sufferings to a greater extent.

Every movie inspires a certain amount of Wisdom. From the movie Patch Adams one can find the answer as to why we lack compassion in a one single powerful word “Indifference. Dr. Patch Adams (Robin Williams) response before the medical review board for practicing medicine without license is thought provoking as follows:

“What’s wrong with death, sir? What are we so mortally afraid of? Why can’t
we treat death with a certain amount of humanity and dignity and decency ..
… and, God forbid, may be even humor? Death is not the enemy, gentlemen.
If we’re gonna fight a disease, let’s fight one of the most terrible disease of
all – indifference.”

Dr. Albert Schweitzer whom I truly admire and whose picture hangs in my home library also emphasized the two striking words, “Foolishly Indifferent” during his lifetime serving as a medical missionary in Africa rather than as a pastor. I do believe that to remain aloof and be indifferent is the root cause of all the problems that plagues our Planet Earth. As we embark upon this New Year, we ought to seriously think over the wisdom of Dr. Schweitzer as follows:

“All the kindness which a man puts out into the world works on the heart
and the thoughts of mankind, but we are so foolishly indifferent that we
are never in earnest in the matter of kindness. We want to topple a
great load over, and yet will not avail ourselves of a lever which would
multiply our power a hundredfold.”

“There is an unmeasured depth of truth in that strange saying of Jesus:
‘Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth’ (St. Matt. v, 5)”

I, Mohammed Rafiq Lodhia, thank you for reading this New Year’s message. My family and I wish your beloved family a year, full of vigorous health and sustained prosperity, a year which will make us display a random act of kindness towards our fellow humans, and also, help make us to eliminate an awful mental disease, that is, the attitude of “Indifference” which remains ingrained in our human nature. Each one of us can contribute to the well being of humanity, only if we are truly compassionate enough to apply our hands, minds and hearts. Above all, remember the wisdom of Dr. Schweitzer, “Constant kindness can accomplish much. As the sun makes ice melt, kindness causes misunderstanding, mistrust and hostility to evaporate.”

May Almighty, Merciful and Compassionate God bless you and your beloved family.

Compassionately yours,

Mohammed Rafiq Lodhia

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