One day an old man boarded a bus. As he was going up the steps, one of his
shoes slipped off. The door closed and the bus moved off so he was unable
to retrieve it. The old man calmly took off his other shoe and threw it
out of the window.
A young man on the bus saw what happened, and could not help going up to
the old man and asking, "I noticed what you did, sir. Why did you throw
out your other shoe?"
The old man promptly replied, "So that whoever finds them will be able to
The old man in the story understood a fundamental philosophy for life - do
not hold on to something simply for the sake of possessing it or because
you do not wish others to have it.
We lose things all the time. The loss may seem to us grievous and unjust
initially, but loss only happens so that positive changes can occur in our
lives. We should not always assume that losing something is bad, because
if things do not shift, we'll never become better people or experience
better things. That's not to say of course that we only lose "bad" things;
it simply means that in order for us to mature emotionally and spiritually,
and for us to contribute to the world, the interchange between loss and
gain is necessary.
Like the old man in the story, we have to learn to let go. The world had
decided that it was time for the old man to lose his shoe. Maybe this
happened to add momentum to a series of events leading to a better pair of
shoes for the old man. Maybe the search for another pair of shoes would
lead the old man to a great benefactor. Maybe the world decided that
someone else needed the shoes more.
Whatever the reason, we can't avoid losing things. The old man understood
this. One of his shoes had gone out of his reach. The remaining shoe would
not have been much help to him, but it would be a cherished gift to a
homeless person desperately in need of protection from the ground.
Hoarding possessions does nothing to make us or the world better. We all
have to decide constantly if some things or people have run their course
in our lives or would be better off with others. We then have to muster the
courage to give them away.
- JAMES OH
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