#206: The Story of the Banana
Thursday, January 21, 2010
"We must never forget that we may also find meaning in life even when confronted with a hopeless situation, when facing a fate that cannot be changed."
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Tonight I talked with a friend from Trinidad who lives in New York City. He related a story his very traditional and wise grandmother told him when he was a young boy. It's a poignant story he has never forgotten.
The tale tells of a man who was depressed because he had no home, no job, no friends or family and nothing left to eat but a banana. He decided life wasn't worth living and vowed that after he ate the banana he would hang himself and gain relief from his worldly worries.
As he began eating the banana, he climbed up a tree and tied a rope to a branch. He then fashioned a noose and put it around his neck. He took the last bite of his banana and tossed the fruit's skin to the ground beneath the tree.
Just as he was about to leap from the branch, he saw a boy run to the tree, grab the discarded banana skin and begin eating it before running away.
The man realized that what was a useless banana skin to him was a meal for someone less fortunate than himself. He realized, too, that as bad as he thought his life was, there was someone else whose life was worse.
He undid the noose from around his neck and climbed down the tree.
He still had no home, no job, no friends or family and now nothing left to eat. But he now had hope. His faith was restored. He vowed to begin his life anew. He didn't know how or where he would end up but he understood that no matter how bad off he was, there was always someone worse off, like the little boy.
When times seem overwhelming and we have nowhere to turn, let us remember the story of the banana and realize that there is always someone worse off.
For, what is life without hope and faith?