A hundred years ago, a Scottish farmer heard a cry from a swamp near his farm. When he ran to see what was happening, he found a boy stuck to his waist in the muck, struggling to set himself free. Without hesitation, the farmer extended a hand and rescued the boy from what otherwise would have been a slow and terrifying death.
The following day a fancy carriage pulled up to the Scotsman’s humble cottage. A well–dressed man stepped out and introduced himself as the nobleman who owned a nearby estate. He said he was the father of the boy the farmer had rescued and that he had come to thank and repay the farmer.
The Nobleman held out a bag of coins but the farmer immediately replied, “I can’t accept payment for what I did. It wouldn’t be right. Besides, I have a son of my own.”
At that moment as if he had been listening for his cue, the farmer’s son came to the door.
“Is that your boy?” the nobleman asked and when the farmer nodded went on to say, “Let me repay you then in this fashion. You have helped my son. Let me help yours. Let me pay for your son’s education. If he is anything like his father, he will make us all proud.”
The farmer agreed and the farmer’s son fulfilled the nobleman’s prophecy. He excelled in school and went to St. Mary’s Hospital in London to study medicine. He later earned international acclaim in the scientific community for his medical discoveries and was awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine in l945.
Ironically, at about the same time, the son of the nobleman once more found his life in danger. This time, he was stricken with pneumonia. As he hovered on the brink of life, his physicians administered a new drug called penicillin and the boy, now a man known to the world as Winston Churchill, was again saved.
The benevolent nobleman was his father, Lord Randolph Churchill. The farmer’s name was Fleming. His son was Sir Alexander Fleming, the discoverer of penicillin.
The patterns of the universe are not always so clear but they are always present.
The universe is one piece. No good deed is ever wasted. Causes become effects. Effects become causes. What goes out from us comes back to us in equal kind, measure, and degree.