The Reader

Once I was in Sri Lanka. It was there where I saw hundreds of elephants going down to the river to bathe. What a marvelous sight that was for me. I was there not as a tourist, though, being one was a privilege, too. I was there to attend a Southeast Asian symposium on productivity. I was privileged to be chosen to represent our country. That was quite a gift for me.

So back there in Sri Lanka, the country delegates were housed in one of Sri Lanka’s finest hotels in the City of Kandy. Food was excellent. Ambience was elegantly rustic. The Staff and the Guests were all very hospitable and amiable. The rooms, the lobbies, and the gardens were very clean. And yes, there was one majestic corner in the lobby where an old man in very exquisitely woven white clothes was sitting. We were told that he was one of the famous palm readers in Sri Lanka at that time. They said that his readings were mostly true. Very interesting!

Our interest led the group of delegates to the queue for palm reading. While the others were in that special corner and the queue, some of us were seated at the restaurant to enjoy more of the food. One by one our friends started coming back from their palm-reading session. There were mixed reactions. Some said it was just okay. Some said he was just guessing. Some said he was just stating the general facts. Some just shrugged their shoulders.

I was not interested to go to the queue. I do not believe in palm reading although my father, when he was still alive, would accommodate requests from friends to read their palms. I never got one of those palm readings, though.

But then the group insisted that I should go, too. So as not to be branded as a “kill-joy” as we normally call one in our country, I went. There were no more people waiting in a line. I must be the last person to see the palm reader. So he looked at me and smiled. “Do you want to come for palm reading, too?” He was very kind and very full of warmth. Without hesitation I said, “yes.” I slowly went forward to sit down on the lonely chair fronting him and I silently prayed while approaching him. I prayed to God to make this man his instrument so that I will hear God’s words through this man.

Then the palm reader took my left hand and looked at the lines on it. He reached out for my right hand and again took careful notice of all the lines and the bumps on it. He gently caressed my left and right hands and he looked at me straight in the eye. He said, “My dear child, you must have been through a lot. I see the lines on your palms and they tell me of how much difficulties in life you have faced.” I was so amazed how he could have said those words because they were true. “Can you really see those in my palms?” I was trying to see if he was being honest when he spoke those words.

Then the palm reader continued saying, “Are you brave enough to hear the truth?” Oh that hit me. Was I brave enough then? What truth would he tell me that I need to know? But softly I said, “Yes, please tell me the truth.” Then the palm reader told me about my life story, who I was, my family, my children, what I was good at, what I was dreaming for, and what was soon to happen. Happiness and sadness mixed gently in my heart. I was happy to hear my life story but I was sad to hear that something was bound to happen in my life.

“Are you afraid?” The palm reader, the old and very kind gentleman that he was, was worried. His eyes were speaking of sadness. Then I got out from the trance that I was in. I told him, “You saw the lines and you told me my story. The story and the facts are real. The next part, while it may be a sad part, is also something that would bring me back to who I am. You see, you are only an instrument of my God. He wants me to know that He heard my prayers. I can bounce back and become me.”

The palm reader was happy to hear from my assuring words but he was also somehow confused. I left him at that ecstasy.

So when I went back to the restaurant where the group was waiting, they were very interested to hear my reactions to the palm reading session. “Oh, tell us, was he good? Did he tell you anything that is true?” They were surprised to hear me saying, “Yes, all that he said was true.” The group could not believe me and still insisted that I must just be being polite to the palm reader. I told them, “Perhaps the difference lies in my intention? I prayed before I went to palm reading. I prayed to God to use the palm reader as an instrument so that the words that I hear from him would be coming from God.”

We read everyday. Humans as we are, we often or always react to what we read. I am guilty of that, too. But perhaps if we read from a different mindset, one that would bring out the truth of what we read, then our understanding of what we are reading may be different. The saying says, “And the truth shall set you free.” But there is a condition for that to happen, we must first believe in the Word and the Word shall bring about the truth and the truth shall set us free. (John 8:31-32).

I love to read. Unlike before that I would criticize the stand of the writer, this time, I read with a different mindset. I appreciate the writer who takes all of his time to write to make sure that I have something to read. I am now a grateful reader just like my special Reader who always smiles to what he reads from what I write.