A Chance Encounter
I drove Uber cab (taxi) a few years ago. Being on the move, I had a wonderful time engaging with my passengers. It also gave me an opportunity to really know my hometown in depth, reaching places that I never knew existed. It was a most fruitful and exciting period in my life, getting paid and enjoying myself exploring deep into my hometown.
Of the thousands of passengers I came across, there was this particular person whose remarkable story I am sharing with you now. He has given me permission to be introduced to you. His name is Francis. On one particular morning, I received my first call of service. It did not take long to reach the caller because I was just opposite his apartment. On seeing my car, he rushed in excitedly. I felt a bit of uneasiness to see him in such a hurry. Before I could greet him, he exclaimed excitedly, "Hi, you have a very special name!" His tone reverberated with contagious enthusiasm.
My immediate thought was, "Not again, he is making fun of my name."
He continued without a second thought, "Hi brother, you have the most powerful name in the world. When I saw your name, I told my daughter that someone very important was coming to fetch me."
This increased my curiosity. Later I found out that my name sounded like the title of a senior spiritual leader of his spiritual organization. On further exploration in our conversation, he somehow mentioned giving light to others, and he was going to another town to attend a conference, or something like that.
Before I proceed with my story, I need to narrate a previous meeting with another passenger whom I picked up at a nearby spiritual center. It happened just about a week before my encounter with Francis. I picked up a passenger at this spiritual center called Sukyo Mahikari. Sukyo Mahikari or Mahikari in short, is a spiritual organization with headquarters in Japan. It is a Japanese spiritual organization. I was curious about this spiritual center, so I asked this passenger what Sukyo Mahikari was all about. She explained that members practice giving light to others. Giving light? That was new to me and I sort of got curious. I asked her whether I too could receive light from her. She affirmed excitedly and said I could visit the center any time. That was that, and we parted when she reached her destination.
The place I picked up Francis was very near the Mahikari center. So, when I heard him mention “giving light” (still fresh in my memory) I casually asked, "Are you with Sukyo Mahikari?"
That immediately "lighted" him up. “No wonder he could give light to others,” I shouted inside my mind! Then I told him I met this young lady from Mahikari the other day. That brightened up the conversation until we reached his destination. We already had each other’s phone numbers and we agreed to meet up again when he returned from his spiritual conference. We took a “we-fie” in my car to remember that special rendezvous.
(“We-fie” shot of Francis and author)
Following our first encounter, Francis and I gradually cultivated our mutual affinities mainly because we shared somewhat similar universal spiritual beliefs. Before I proceed further, may I explain a bit about “giving light” the Mahikari way. “Giving light” is usually done on a “one-to-one” basis. Both persons will be seated facing each other. The person giving light will raise one hand with open palm facing the other person’s forehead, about 12 inches (30cm) in front. This will continue for about 10 minutes or any length of time as preferred. As simple as that.
(Author and wife “receiving light” at the local Mahikari center)
Francis Tells Stories
Over the years, Francis shared with me his life’s challenges. Here are two of his stories, the third one being what I got to observe with its interesting development.
Like a great number of “modern-age” couples, Francis’s wife Shirley had a problem conceiving. For many years and after trying out various means and methods, nothing seemed to work in their favor. Then one day, they were introduced to Mahikari and became seriously involved in its teachings and activities. They started practicing “giving light” and continued to follow diligently the teachings of Mahikari. And miracles started to happen! Shirley conceived, not once, not twice, not thrice, but four times in a row. And wallah! Two handsome boys and 2 beautiful girls were created to join the happy family. This was the first of many “unbelievable” events that happened to Francis since his joining Mahikari and his uncanny ability to “give light” the Mahikari way. How I wished I had known Mahikari much earlier, as my wife had a similar problem.
On a seemingly uneventful evening, the phone rang and Francis answered. The world collapsed in front of his face! His teenage daughter had met with a very serious accident. She was riding pillion on a motor-cycle when a bus hit it head-on. Her friend, the rider died on the spot! Great invisible protectors must have been present during this terrible accident. The accident happened in front of the fire-rescue station and she was immediately taken by the stand-by ambulance within seconds to the hospital. Just imagine if this was not the scenario! Good providence prevailed. Valuable minutes could have been lost and loss of another life, perhaps? By then, Francis was a skilful “light-giver” and had great faith in his practice. The Mahikari Center as if by design, was near the accident area. Francis knelt and prayed fervently, for there was nothing else he could do to help his unconscious daughter who was fighting for her life in the Intensive Care Unit of the hospital. True to absolute faith and surrender, her daughter survived and gradually recovered fully! Let there be light!
A Most Marvelous Business Arrangement
The latest event happened recently during this terrible Covid-19 pandemic period (Year 2021). Never seen in human history of the world that this Covid-19 pandemic could wreak such devastating havoc around the world. No nation was spared. Neither was my friend Francis, who is a very popular Paris-trained hair-stylist. Pandemic, total lock-down, for months on end…. No income, nothing coming in, nil, zero! So, that period gave Francis more time to do social work. Francis did a lot of social work, including “giving light” to others. During that period of economic inactivity, Francis continued with his social work helping others tide over that difficult period.
Then one day he received a call from his landlord that he had to vacate his salon because the property had been sold. Another blow in his life. Not only no business, now even his salon would be gone! Having not much choice, he decided to close his hair salon and call it a day. What was left were the paraphernalia of a once popular hair-stylist which would not attract any interested buyer, especially since their condition had seen better days. With no buyer interested to salvage the precious tools of a once proud and popular hair-stylist, the only way left was to sell them as scrap metal. When the dark clouds hovered above threatening a thunderous downpour, a streak of silver lining appeared. And Francis looked up at a sweet angel in front of him!
“Hi uncle Francis, remember me?” the smiling angel winked at him.
Francis took a good second look at this sweet little angel, and exclaimed in his trademark enthusiastic response, “Oh hello, Carol! How are you? Why out of the blue have you appeared in front of me? It has been umpteen years since you left us! It’s great to see you again. You have grown into such a beautiful angel.”
Carol had been a very young trainee in Francis’s hair academy many years ago. Over the years he had groomed her into an able and professional hairstylist like him. Then she had left to seek greener pastures elsewhere. And did the story end here? Not at all, let me continue.
Carol had got news that Francis was retiring for good and was looking for some interested party to buy over his beloved precious tools of the trade.
“Uncle Francis, can I buy over the whole lot?”
“That will be great!” Francis got excited and felt very grateful, for that was his nature, always expressing gratitude as taught by Mahikari.
“How much must I pay you? Uncle Francis?”
With his signature accommodative gesture he responded, “Just pay as you like. I am grateful that you are here to take over my beloved tools. At least now I am very happy that they are given a new lease of life and are now in good hands instead of ending up as scrap metal.”
All loose ends settled, so thought Francis, consoling himself, “If this is the way God wants me to retire, so be it. I am indeed very grateful.”
But it was not to be the end of his career. It was only the end of a chapter. Another silver lining appeared over the dark clouds. Carol had plans to open her own hair salon in a serene and beautiful outskirt of the city. She planned to return to her roots, in a laid-back enclave just over the hill from the city. With an available piece of land owned by her family just next to a busy commercial area, she decided to build a new hair-salon and settle down there.
Over the weeks, there must be some “unseen hands” preparing special arrangements to reconnect Francis to Carol. One day Carol appeared in front of Francis again to propose an offer that Francis could not refuse, “Uncle Francis, I wish to invite you to be my partner in my new salon. How about that?”
Francis was taken aback by surprise, “What?! You want me to be your partner in business?”
“Yes, I have thought about this for a while already. Uncle Francis, don’t worry about the money. You don’t have to put in any money. And you can also continue your life’s calling in this new saloon. I have always treasured your kindness and training which have made me what I am today. I want to express my gratitude to both you and your wife for the years of patient guidance that both of you have showered upon me. Please accept my sincere gratitude.”
Francis was a bit hesitant, “This arrangement will affect your business takings. I think it is better you do it alone. After all, I have decided to retire for good.”
But Carol persisted, “Uncle Francis, your presence will definitely enhance my business operation because you will bring in more customers with your years of experience and your reputation. All your loyal clients will definitely support my new salon.”
Francis was over the moon. Ever since he practiced the spiritual act of “giving light”, many blessings have been showered upon both him and his wife. He accepted the offer and to add a rainbow to the silver lining, Carol built a bedroom upstairs specially for Francis and his wife to live in, as and when they feel like it.
Let there be light!
(Francis and Carol at their new hair salon)
(Official opening of Sihua Dream Unisex Hair Salon on 27 Nov 2021)
© 2022 Justin Choo