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Tuesday, 02 April 2019 05:07

The Gift of Selfless Love

 2019.07.The Gift of Selfless Love.1

In mid-October 2017, I flew home to Sri Lanka to be with my dad who was dying from liver cancer. Although any visible symptoms of his illness were absent, he started deteriorating quite rapidly by the end of November. On a few occasions he had to be admitted to the hospital for blood transfusions and albumin intake to maintain equilibrium in his body due to his dysfunctional liver. He eventually reached a condition of ascites where his stomach fluid needed to be drained several times a day. This made it difficult for us to care for him from home and he was admitted to the cancer hospital in the city.

Travelling to the hospital from home involved about hour and a half of travelling, but Mum and I were determined to see him every day. We would travel in the morning and stay around the hospital until we could see dad around dinner time at 6.00 pm. Both mum and I longed to have a rest somewhere due to our physical and emotional weariness.

It was at this point that we got to know the Buddhist communities around the hospital, and one family began to welcome us to join them for lunch often. They also prepared a light meal every evening for us to take back to the hospital for dad, and even visited him on a day that we couldn’t due to other commitments. When they weren’t available, the neighboring families would also look after us. The Muslim communities also constantly provided meals to the visitors at the hospital grounds. I was deeply touched by this experience.

This outrageous generosity that I experienced from non- Christian communities taught me that agape love (selfless love) is undoubtedly present in every religion and culture.The people I met were amazed by my decision to follow Christ as a sister, and I grew in my appreciation for the richness of their culture steeped in contemplation, moderation, detachment and fortitude that has encouraged and helped me immensely in my journey with Christ.

Ayanthi Perera