Be the Cause

Its a secret!

Last Saturday, as I walked into the Royal Cup Coffee Shop, I was greeted by Rajeev.  He said that a package had arrived for me, I asked him from whom, he said he didn’t know.  I couldn’t figure out why a package would come to our Seva Cafe location and not to our PO BOX Address but I was too distracted to try to piece the logic together. 

I was setting up for our regular Seva Cafe location when Rajeev finally handed the package over to me.  It had already been opened.  I looked on the Priority Mail package and noticed that instead of putting their name and address, the sender had only left the word: “Smile!”.  I immediately recognized that this was something special in my hands and consequently a desire to share this gift with others arose.  I took the package over to the where five new volunteers were sitting and I showed them the package.  Ever since they arrived the new volunteers were asking me questions of what the Seva Cafe was.  Here, I thought, was an opportunity to show them in action.  Before I opened the package, I told them that these are the kinds of things that happen here.

We opened the Priority Mail package and inside we discovered a book, a note, and a self-addressed envelope.  I first proceeded to read the note out loud:

Sukh bhai,
I read this book from start to finish in one sitting.  I have never done this before.  I hope this book finds you well and has the same profound effect on you that it had on me.  I know this breaks the rules, but I would like you to read my secret before mailing it.  Thank you for helping me,

I contemplated the latter part of the letter for a moment.  Not quite understanding what rules were being broken and what this person’s secret was, I proceeded to look at the book for some clues.  The book was entitled: “The Secret Lives of Men and Women“.  It was a compilation of selected secrets submitted to  Individuals anywhere could send in their secrets by depicting them on a postcard.  It allows them to share their common humanity with others, and relieves them of a burden that they may have been carrying for a long time.  I opened the book to a random page and the ‘realness’ of the human experience hit me immediately.  A postcard with a woman confessing that she is more afraid of aging than of dying, and another photograph of a priest with “Some Days, it feels more like a noose!!” written on his clerical collar.

Then it hit me.  The self-addressed envelope contained the secret of this anonymous sender, and they actually wanted me to read their secret before it made its way to  I looked inside the envelope unsure of what secrets were awaiting me.  I pulled out, with little surprise, a Smile Card.  One the smile card was hand written the anonymous senders secret: “I can’t give gifts or do community service without expecting something in return.”  … and at the bottom in big bold letters: “Not Anymore!“ 

In that moment, we all wondered if we do service without expectation.  Maybe that was a secret that all of us were harboring and was unleashed through the courage of this anonymous sender.  I also thought about all the secrets that I keep locked up in myself.  How the things that actually make me human are the things that I try so hard to hide from others.  I keep my own pain and anger locked away so that others won’t think poorly of me.  That’s my secret.



  • gianna

    It’s so powerful that someone wrote this:

    “I can’t give gifts or do community service without expecting something in return.” … and at the bottom in big bold letters: “Not Anymore!“

    I wasn’t hearing this right when u read outloud at seva. Thx so much for sharing…so many things you read dropkicked me right into my heart. Thx for the website too…that someone thought of this..amazing!

  • HelloWorld

    Peace people

    We love you

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