At Unity Arts Ministry we hold the belief that all art forms can be a means of experiencing and deepening our understanding of the Divine. It is always a pleasure for me to meet individuals who demonstrate this practice through their work. A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of guest speaking in Springfield, Missouri, where I met Richard Bingman, 89. Richard shared with me his passion for writing short stories with a spiritual lesson – and he happened to have some samples of his writing with him! Immediately, I was drawn in by his use of personal narrative woven together with heart-centered, life lessons. When asked if he would be open to sharing his stories on our site, he gratefully agreed.
It is my honor to share with you the following short story, Hand Shake by Richard Bingman.
by Richard Bingman
I grew up in a rural area in Southwest Mo. which suffered extensively from the depression. There was little cash flow and people resorted to trading. My mother would trade cream and eggs for groceries.
This set the stage for neighborhood traders. We had quite a few visits from a livestock trader from Joplin, Mo., about 40 miles from our farm. He showed a tattered appearance and drove an old truck with bent fenders, bald tires and a missing bumper. However, his truck had a large stock rack divided into compartments in which he kept hogs, calves, goats and poultry. He liked to trade with my father because he had good hogs and my mother had lots of chickens, ducks and geese. Also, there seemed to be another reason for his visits, but I couldn’t put my finger on it.
When the trader and my father decided what they wanted to trade, the verbal exchange grew very heated, faces got red , as each one would elaborate on the merits of his offering. Regardless of whether they completed a trade, they would end the visit with a hand shake and a statement of good will such as “Have a good day or I will see you soon.” I noticed that both of them seemed very relieved and I wondered how the hand shake would make such a difference.
I knew the heated exchange created lots of energy. Later, I came to believe the hand shake provided a point of contact which allowed the energy to be exchanged in a two way manner. This provided a bond which united the two men into a positive commitment. It was positive because I learned from the Explorers Class at Unity Spiritual Center that when there is competition between the negative signals such as the overheated situation and positive signals from the hand shake, the latter will win and be expressed. This is true provided there is sincerity in the exchange and that was apparent in this case.
I didn’t know what principles the men had shared a commitment through the hand shake. It could have been joy, honesty, truthfulness, helpfulness among an array of divine qualities. Evidently, it worked as they were relieved and looked forward to expanding their relationship.
Perhaps , these two men of simple origin provide a lesson for us to extend our hand shake to persons less fortunate, and want to have a chance to reach their full potential and we in turn, benefit from their talents. Isn’t this very important when we live in a world that is so detached and divided?
Author Biography: Dr. Richard Bingman is a member of the Springfield, Mo. Unity Spiritual Center. He has had a long professional interest and experience in creating programs and articles of an educational and spiritual nature.