English : First Flight
Chapter 1: A Letter to God
-by GL Fuentes
“A Letter to God” is a story about an innocent man who has unshakeable faith in the generosity of God. But this faith gives rise to an amusing situation where the persons who try to save this man’s faith in God are accused by him of being ‘a bunch of crooks’.
Lencho’s Hope of Good Harvest
Lencho was a farmer who lived on the crest (peak) of a low hill with his family. His was the only house in the entire valley. His field was full of ripe corn and easily visible from the house. He was eagerly waiting for a good rain to have a good harvest so he could earn money for his family.
Turning of Lencho’s Hope into Despair
As Lencho hoped, it started raining at the time of supper (dinner) which gave Lencho a ray of hope. He was extremely delighted to see that. He compared the raindrops with silver coins which shows his joy. But soon his joy turned into despair as the rain changed into hailstones which ruined the crops. The field had been covered with snow like a layer of white salt. Lencho was worried for his family.
Lencho’s Firm Belief in God
Though Lencho was a poor farmer and had lost all his crops, he had firm faith in God. He found in God his last hope and decided to write a letter to God for help. He asked God to send him a hundred pesos so that he could sow his field again and support his family until the new crops were harvested. He also wrote that if God didn’t help him, his family would die of hunger. He told the teacher that he should not spread the poison of social inequality and communal intolerance in the minds of innocent children. The teacher accepted his mistake.
The Postmaster’s Reaction to Lencho’s Letter
After reading Lencho’s letter to God, the postmaster laughed but soon realised that Lencho had firm faith in God and his belief should not be shaken. So, he decided to help Lencho with the help of his post office employees. He collected seventy pesos and handed the envelope to Lencho himself in which he also contributed a part of his salary.
Lencho Addresses the Post Office Employees ‘A Bunch of Crooks’
Lencho became angry when he saw seventy pesos in the envelope as he had demanded a hundred pesos. He did not believe that God could do such a mistake and send him less money. So, he decided to write a letter again for the rest of money. In this letter, he requested God not to send the rest of the money through the money order because he thought that the post office employees were a ‘bunch of crooks’ who might have stolen his money.
Conclusion of A letter to God
In the chapter – A Letter to God, we learnt that faith in God has the power to move mountains and satisfy our needs. However, it should also be noted that humanity also prevails in the midst of one’s faith in the Almighty. This story beautifully sketches Lencho’s deep faith in God and how the post office employees helped him anonymously by contributing money from their pockets to help the poor man in crisis.
The title “A Letter to God” is direct and simple as it highlights the letter written to God by Lencho. This letter displays a man’s faith in God as well as the kindness of the postmaster. The poor farmer’s belief in the generosity of God is reflected through this letter. Even the helpful nature of the postmaster finds an expression after he reads this letter to God. Although Lencho writes two letters to God, it is the first letter that forms the binding element of Lencho’s story.
“A Letter to God” is based on the theme that faith in God cannot be shaken. Lencho, the farmer, believes strongly in the generosity of God. This faith gives him the hope to get help from God when he loses his crops to hailstorm. He actually writes to God for help and when he gets the response, he does not doubt God’s grace. On the contrary, he suspects the honesty of the employees of the post office.
Another sub-theme is that good and kind souls are God’s messengers. They help the believers to keep their faith intact. The postmaster and his colleagues belong to this category. Their act of kindness does not even get acknowledged but they part with their hard earned money to make Lencho believe that God has answered his request.
The story “A Letter to God” conveys the message that faith can move mountains. Lencho’s faith in God gets him financial help even though indirectly and not entirely as desired by him. However, this reinforces a poor and simple man’s faith in the power of God. The people, who take upon themselves the responsibility to uphold Lencho’s faith, inspire to keep alive the spirit of humanity. It is immaterial whether their kindness is acknowledged or not, the faith in the power of God remains steadfast.
- Lencho was a hard working farmer and an innocent person having immense faith in God. He was an ‘ox of a man’. He toiled hard and never complained about it. He waited anxiously for the rain which he thought would help in a good harvest of corn. However, when the rain turned into the destructive hail, he still believed that God would help him. Displaying his deep faith in God, he even wrote a letter to Him requesting to send him a hundred pesos as help.
- Lencho had a child-like confidence in God which made him believe that God will respond to his letter and fulfill his request. When he received only seventy pesos, he did not even once imagine that someone else could have sent that money. Rather, he doubted the integrity of the people at the post office and wrote another letter to God telling Him not to send the remaining money through mail. He had a firm conviction that neither could God have made the mistake of sending less money nor could He have denied his request.
- It was this unquestionable faith in God that gave him immense strength to face difficult situations in life. His child-like simplicity, innocence and honesty make him an inspiring character.
- The postmaster was a kind-hearted and a compassionate man. He was amazed by the deep faith of Lencho in the kindness of God. He expressed his appreciation for Lencho’s belief by sending him money on behalf of God. He took upon himself the responsibility of collecting money for Lencho and generously contributed a part of his salary to this fund. His sincerity can be seen in the way he made every possible effort to save a simple peasant’s faith in God. He made sure that Lencho’s faith remained intact so that the novel way in which he had started a communication with God does not become a wasted effort.
- Like a true believer, he wished to have a similar faith in the goodness of the Almighty.
- The postmaster, thus not only becomes a source through whom God sends help to Lencho but also becomes an admirable character who inspires thevirtues offellow-feeling and generosity.
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