There lived a woman, Sabrina, who was fortunate to have great wealth. Tragedy had struck shortly after she had married, and she now lived in a palace alone, but for her many servants. Her house stood out as an oasis of wealth, in an otherwise poor district where having food to eat each day felt like a luxury.
One day as she was driving up to her gate she caught site of a poor child, alone on the side of the road, trying to sell some handpicked fruit. The girl was no more that 7 years old, and she represented the poverty that was so common in this part of town. She stood on the side of the road with no-one to look out for her. She was wearing old dirty rags, and her feet were bare. Her face and hair were dirty, and her fragile body shook as she coughed and spluttered, on the side of the street. Sabrina was appalled by what she saw. This child was filthy – how would anyone buy food from someone that looked like that? At that moment she saw a problem that she wanted to, and could, fix. Sitting in her luxury car outside her home, she decided that she should take this girl into her house and fix her. She would transform this child into a real human being. She would remove this urchin from the streets.
And so without a second thought Sabrina got out her car, picked up the girl and drove through the gate to her stately home. When she got inside she realised that the child did not speak her language, and communication was very difficult. Being unable to talk to each other, Sabrina decided to give the child a new name – she called her Amanda. Sabrina then called her servants and explained that Amanda would now be living with them, and that they would need to help clean her up, and prepare a room for her. The servants rallied around and cleaned the child. Sabrina sent for the doctor who gave medicines for her cough. A place at the best local school was secured and Amanda started her new life with Sabrina.
Amanda lived with Sabrina for many years. No-one ever spoke of where she had come from, or if she had another family that she had left behind. Sabrina saw to all of Amanda’s needs. She gave her plenty of food and saw to it that she had the best education. But even with all this, the relationship remained cold. Amanda was never treated as Sabrina’s child, but she wasn’t part of the servant community either. She didn’t fit in and spent most of her days wondering around the big palace feeling alone and out of place.
Eventually graduation day arrived. Sabrina sat with the all the parents and felt so proud of the young woman Amanda had become. She couldn’t help thinking back to when she had first met Amanda on the street, and how she had saved that young child from such an awful existence. Amanda sat listening to the graduation speeches thinking about her future. She had no intention of ever going back to Sabrina’s house. She would go out into the world to find her own life. She would go out into the world to find the family she had been taken away from.
After the ceremony Amanda came to Sabrina, gave her a hug and said goodbye. She quietly turned and walked away. Sabrina had no idea that that would be the last time she saw her. She could not understand why Amanda wasn’t more grateful for what she had received. She had no idea how lonely Amanda had felt all those years and could not see that the one need she had not been able to fulfill was the need to feel loved.
Do we sometimes forget that the material needs are not the only needs people have?