As A Peace-Loving Global Citizen: Episode 13
As A Peace-Loving Global Citizen: An Autobiography by Rev. Sun Myung Moon
Chapter 2: My Heart Flows With a River of Tears
A Key to Unlock a Great Secret, pg 45-48
A Key to Unlock a Great Secret
Just as I had climbed all the mountain peaks around my hometown, I explored every corner of Seoul. In those days, there was a street-car line that ran from one end of the city to another. The price of a ticket was just five jeon (one jeon is the equivalent of a penny), but I didn’t want to spend that money and would walk all the way into the center of the city. On hot summer days, I would be dripping with sweat as I walked, and on frigid winter days I would walk almost at a run, as if piercing my way through the bitter arctic wind. I walked so quickly that I could go from Heuksok-Dong, across the Han River, to the Hwa Shin Department Store on Jong Ro in just forty-five minutes. Most people would take an hour and a half, so you can imagine how quickly I was walking.
I saved the price of a streetcar ticket and gave the money to people who needed it more than I did. It was such a small amount it was embarrassing to give it, but I gave it with a heart that desired to give a fortune. I gave it with a prayer that this money would be a seed for the person to receive many blessings. Every April, my family would send me money for tuition. But I couldn’t stand by and watch people around me who were in financial difficulty, so the money wouldn’t even last to May. Once, when I was on my way to school, I came across a person who was so sick he seemed about to die. I felt so bad for him I couldn’t pass him by. I carried him on my back to a hospital about a kilometer and a quarter away. I had the money I intended to use to pay my tuition, so I paid the bill. However, once I paid the hospital, I had nothing left. In the following days, the school repeatedly demanded I pay my tuition. My friends felt sorry for me and took up a collection for me. I can never forget the friends who helped me through that situation.
The giving and receiving of help is a relationship that is matched in heaven. You might not realize it at the time, but thinking back later, you may understand, “Oh, so that’s why God sent me there at that time!” So if a person who needs your help suddenly appears before you, you should realize that Heaven sent you to that person to help him, and then do your best. If Heaven wants you to give the person ten units of help, it won’t do if you only give him five. If Heaven says to give him ten, you should give him a hundred. When helping someone, you should be ready, if necessary, to empty your wallet.
In Seoul, I came across baram ddok, a fluffy “air-filled” rice cake, for the first time in my life. These are colorful rice cakes made in a beautiful design. When I first saw one, I was amazed at how wonderful they looked. When I bit into one, however, I discovered they had no filling, only air. They just collapsed in my mouth.
This made me realize something about Seoul at that time. Seoul was just like an air-filled rice cake. I understood why people in Seoul were often thought of as misers by other Koreans. On the surface, Seoul seemed like a world filled with rich and important people. In reality, though, it was full of poor people. Many beggars, clothed only in rags, lived under the Han River Bridge. I visited them, cut their hair for them, and shared my heart with them. Poor people have many tears. They have a lot of sorrow pent up in their hearts. I would just say a few words to someone, and he would break down in tears. Sometimes, one of them would hand me rice he had been given as he begged. He would hand it to me with hands caked in dirt. I never refused the food. I received it with a joyful heart.
I attended church every Sunday in my hometown, and I continued this practice in Seoul. Mainly, I attended the Myungsudae Jesus Church located in Heuksok-Dong and the Seobinggo Pentecostal Church that held services on the opposite shore of the Han River. On cold winter days, as I was walking across the frozen river to Seobinggo-Dong, the ice would make cracking sounds under my feet.
At church I served as a Sunday School teacher. The children always enjoyed my interesting lessons. I am no longer as adept at telling jokes as I was when I was young, but back then I could tell funny stories. When I wept, they wept with me, and when I laughed, they laughed along with me. I was so popular with them that they would follow me around wherever I went.
Behind Myungsudae is Mount Seodal, also known as Mount Darma. I would often climb up on a large boulder on Mount Darma and spend the night in prayer. In hot weather and in cold, I immersed myself in prayer without missing a night. Once I entered into prayer, I would weep, and my nose would start to run. I would pray for hours over words I had received from God. His words were like coded messages, and I felt I needed to immerse myself even more deeply in prayer. Thinking back on it now, I realize that even then God had placed in my hands the key that unlocked the door to secrets. However, I wasn’t able to open the door, because my prayers were insufficient. I was so preoccupied that when I ate my meals, it didn’t feel as though I were eating.
At bedtime, I would close my eyes, but I couldn’t fall asleep. Other students rooming in the same house didn’t realize I was going up on the hill to pray. They must have felt I was somehow different, though, because they related to me with respect. Generally, we got along well, making each other laugh by telling funny stories.
I can relate well with anyone. If an old woman comes to me, I can be her friend. If children come, I can play with them. You can have communication of heart with anyone by relating to them with love.
Mrs. Gi Wan Lee became close to me after she was inspired by my prayers during early morning services at the church. We maintained our friendship for more than fifty years, until she left this world at age eighty. Her younger sister, Mrs. Gi Bong Lee, was always busy managing the rooming house, but she related to me with warmth. She would say she didn’t feel right unless she could find something to do for me. She would try to give me extra side dishes for my meals. I didn’t talk much and wasn’t much fun, so I don’t know why she would want to treat me so well. Sometime later, when the Japanese colonial police were holding me in the Kyeonggi Province Police Station, she brought me clothes and food. Even now it warms my heart to think of her.
There was also a Mrs. Song who ran a small store near my rooming house. She helped me a lot during this time. She would say that anyone who lives away from his hometown is always hungry, and she would bring me items from her store that she had not been able to sell. It was a small store, and she barely made enough money to support herself, but she always took care of me with a kind heart.
One day, we held a service on a sandy stretch by the Han River. When it came time for lunch, everyone found a place to sit down and eat. I was in the habit of not eating lunch and didn’t feel comfortable sitting there doing nothing while others ate. I quietly walked away from the group and found a place to sit on a pile of rocks. Mrs. Song saw me there and brought me two pieces of bread and some flavored ice. How grateful I felt! These were just one jeon apiece, and only four jeon in total, but I have never been able to forget the gratitude I felt in that moment.
I always remember when someone helps me, no matter how small it may be. Even now that I am ninety years old, I can recite from memory all the times that people helped me and what they did for me. I can never forget the people who did not hesitate to put themselves to great trouble on my behalf and generously gave me their blessings.
If I receive a favor, it is important to me that I repay it. If I cannot meet the person who did this for me, it is important for me to remember that person in my heart. I need to live with the sincere thought that I will repay the person by helping someone else.