Orthodox Byzantine Chants
Holy Mount Athos
The wind was blowing hard, breaking the fragile branches of the helpless trees. The child with serene eyes was pacing up and down the cold room, hoping to warm himself a bit. On the shabby table were found a crumpled sheet of paper, which was brought by the wind near the little hut where the poor child was living and half a pencil, received from a kind neighbor.
On the torn mattress was lying a very pretty small girl, covered with two old blankets which protected her from the coldness that was in that room. The walk around the room had made its effect. In a few minutes the boy warmed up enough to put into practice the idea that had come into his innocent soul. He went to the table and tried to smooth the paper, but after several failed attempts he gave that up and taking the pencil started to write:
To my kind Lord
Lord, I thank you for the two blankets received from our neighbor…Because of these blankets, my little sister is not forced to endure the harsh coldness. She is so beautiful, like a small angel. She makes me continue the fight with poverty and You give me the necessary power to succeed in that struggle. God, I know that You sent me the pencil by means of that kind man and You ordered the wind to bring me this sheet of paper. Thank you, Good Lord.
Last night I saw You in an icon from the church where I entered for a while. You were so meek and humble that I felt embarrassed and Your sweet smile, oh, Your sweet smile touched my heart so deeply, filling it with unspeakable sweetness. I wish I could be with You now, but can’t leave my little sister alone. I dearly and longingly remember the stories our mother used to tell us with such a sweet and nice voice in the evenings, before falling asleep. These endearing stories were with holy people, were stories about You, were the stories of my childhood which revealed to me the nicest gift of all and that’s You, my Lord.
Sometimes I feel alone. How silly I am…I know that You are somewhere near me and look at me lovingly and sometimes maybe You hold me in Your arms, even if I don’t see You, my heart feels You or it should feel You…but that’s why I feel so alone, because my heart is not really able to feel You.
My Lord, I thank You for each beat of my heart, for the joy of living and of having the chance to know You. Teach me, please, how to love You.
With tears in the eyes, Your child.
Ending his letter, he put it in an envelope and wrote the name of the recipient. He looked at his sister and smiled touched by her smiling in her sleep. Approaching softly the bed, knelt down and kissed the forehead of the girl then he got out, going to the post office.
The freezing wind was passing easily through his thin and torn clothes, lashing his delicate body. After a few meters, a loud voice made him stop.
“Where are you going, my boy?”
The child turned around shyly. A tall woman, with black, shining eyes expressing a strong character was standing before him.
“To the post office.” “I want to send a letter.”
The woman looked at the envelope from the small hands of the child which turned red from the cold.
“I pass by the post office.” “I take the letter there for you.”
“No, I won’t take no for an answer.” “It’s too cold outside and I don’t want you to get sick.”
After a moment of silence the boy sighed and gave her the letter. He thanked her politely and then went back without saying a word.
Remaining alone, the woman looked at the letter which attracted her inexplicably. Reading the name of the recipient she smiled sweetly and listening to her own heart beats, started to read the letter. The words touched her deeply, making her cry without cease for long minutes.
Two days passed from these events. The frost became even harder, desolating with its freezing blow the small town. In the cold room, the boy held his small sister in his arms, singing to her softly the songs he had learnt from their beloved mother.
Suddenly someone knocked at the door. The children looked at each other. After a while the boy, curious but cautious in the same time, got up, went slowly to the door and opened it. What he saw there made him remain motionless for a couple of minutes, unable to react.
At the door it was a big box and on that it was written From God for the child with tears in his soul.
The words cannot describe the joy that overwhelmed the two innocent souls, their pure tears and smiles showing their big emotions.
From behind a shabby wall, two black eyes, brimming with tears and glittering lovingly were watching them, expressing an inner peace and a hidden joy coming from a small gesture which meant a real gift from heaven for the two poor children. The heart of that woman who had read the letter two days before had got so deeply touched by the boy and she was able to find God in her own soul and to offer joyfully that gift from the fullness of her heart.
God works indeed within and through people and each nice gesture we make for our neighbor is for him a gift from God and for our soul a divine comfort.