November 15, 2010

We Ought Not To Tell Others How To Live

Wanting to show that it is not wise for one to intervene in another's life, Elder Epiphanios Theodoropoulos would tell the following anecdote:

Once, a father was riding a donkey along a road while his son followed him on foot. Someone saw them and told the father:

"Don't you pity your son? You are comfortable, whereas that poor thing is walking. Take him also on the animal!"

So he lifted him onto the animal.

Another saw them and told the father:

"Don't you pity the poor animal? You will kill it - two men on top of it. Get off the poor thing!"

The father got off.

A third person saw them and said:

"Aren't you ashamed even a little? You give such an upbringing to your child? He is riding and you an old man are walking on foot? Teach him to respect you. Take him down off it!"

Now both the father and son were off the animal.

A fourth person met them:

"Are you stupid? What do you have an animal for? Why doesn't someone get up onto it?!"

Then the father, frustrated, exploded:

"Will you finally permit me to do once what I want to do?!"

From Counsels For Life: From the Life and Teachings of Father Epiphanios Theodoropoulos, p. 240.