Once, when we were first looking after Mac, we hired him 24 hour caregivers, but I could not trust them completely and checked in on him many times during the day and night. Mac was a hopeless insomniac, so after a night of driving my taxi, I drove by his house at 3:00 and was not surprised to see a light in the window. I stopped in and found him reading, as his caregiver slept in the next room. We made bowls of cereal and sat at the table to enjoy some quiet conversation. I told him about my night and my passengers. As I was talking, a look of sadness came over his face and when I prodded, he asked me if I ever resented him for never working. This is the story I told him that night.
There once was a young monk who wanted to discover a great truth. He knew that the words of men are remembered for centuries after the men had died and gone. He wanted an original truth that would be remembered as his, for posterity to know him as having been very wise.
But where does one find a truth? He decided that there must be great truths in the wilderness, in places that remain exactly as God made them. Men had not defiled the original truths of God in such places. So he dressed and headed deep into a forest in search of a truth.
On the first day of his journey, deep in the forest, he came across a crippled fox. The poor thing was completely unable to care for itself and would surely die soon. “Aha!” he thought. Here is a good possibility. Everyone and everything must die. There must be truth in death. Let me sit and wait and watch as the fox dies and then I might find a great truth. And he sat down to wait.
Around dusk, a noise in the trees and out jumped a tiger, with it’s prey in it’s mouth. The monk was alarmed but the tiger showed no interest in him. The tiger dropped it’s prey close to the fox and sat down for a meal. When it was full, it bounded back into the thick trees and was gone. The monk watched after it in awe, thanking God for deliverance from certain death, but when he turned back to the fox, he realized that it had lifted it’s little head and eaten from the left overs of the tiger’s meal. The light of life was back in it’s eyes and surely it would live another day. He humor was too high, from surviving such danger, to be too discouraged. He was a patient monk and could wait another day for the fox to die and teach him a great truth. He sat down to wait.
Again, the next night the fox was weak from hunger, surely about to perish, when along came a tiger, with prey in it’s mouth. It dropped, ate, then left…the fox ate and was sustained. This time the monk was not as good natured at this turn of events. His time in the forest had been slightly less comfortable than his small chamber over the tavern in town, and he still had not found his truth. Then he had an idea, an epiphany, really! The tiger is a cat. Cats follow their familiar trails by scent. All he needed to do was to move the fox, deeper into the woods, away from the path of the tiger and then the fox would die and he would find a truth in death. So he did exactly that and sat down to wait another day.
At dusk, the familiar noise in the trees, the tiger, the prey, the leftovers, the fox sustained.
“AHA! A TRUTH! If God cares so much for his creatures…even this crippled fox…how much more would he care for me. We do not need to toil and worry. God will take care of our needs.
He was very excited as he ran back to his little room. He stripped off his robes and lay on his bed and waited patiently for God to come and care for him. He waited three days. As hunger and thirst became to much for him, he got up and weakly dressed to search for food and wine to drown out his disappointment that he had found no great truth after all.
He went down into the street and there he saw a pitiful, dirty, toddler, sitting in the road. She was obviously abandoned, hungry and filthy. Her cries upset him so that he raised his fist to heaven and yelled at God. “What manner of God are you, that you take care of that fox and care nothing for this child! ”
A voice from heaven said “WHAT MANNER OF MAN ARE YOU, THAT I CREATED YOU WITH THE MIND OF A TIGER, AND YOU BEHAVE AS A CRIPPLED FOX.”
This is not my story. I heard it when I was young. It is a very old story. It is also the foundation for my own life philosophy. I AM A TIGER!
Mac was cared for his entire life. He was not lazy or incompetent. He was exactly who he was designed to be and provision was made for him, because he could not provide for himself. I, on the other had, have always had to worry about our next meal and a roof my head. I also spent a great deal of my working years, providing for others who could not provide for themselves. I did not resent Mac. I could not resent him without first resenting myself. Does a tiger resent being a tiger? Or even question it? It just is!
Contentment in life often depends on knowing who and what you are. I am Carol Curry and I am a tiger. Who are you?