Saturday, November 22, 2008

Sharing the Burdens of the Heavy Laden

Dr F W Boreham shares a story about his mentor J J Doke moving from New Zealand to South Africa and collaborating with Mahatma Gandhi:

After granting me seven years of such happy intimacy, Mr. Doke [Boreham’s mentor] left New Zealand and I saw him no more. It was a year or two later that he and Mr. Gandhi met. Mr. Doke had recently settled as minister at Johannesburg; and Mr. Gandi was in South Africa as the legal representative of the Indian population, who, just then, were involved in a serious clash with the authorities. Mr. Doke's sympathies were with the Indians, and he immediately got into touch with Mr. Gandhi. Each was astonished at the other's diminutive stature. They did not look like a pair of champions. Mr. Doke says that he expected to see ‘a tall and stately figure and a bold masterful face’. Instead of this, ‘a small, little, spare figure stood before me, and a refined earnest face looked into mine. The skin was dark, the eyes dark, but the smile which illumined the face, and that direct, fearless glance, simply took one's heart by storm. He was only thirty-eight, but the strain of his work showed its traces in the sprinkling of silver in his hair. He spoke English perfectly and was evidently a man of great culture.’

On the wall of Mr. Gandhi's office hung a beautiful picture of Jesus; and, the moment that Mr. Doke's eyes rested upon it, he felt that he and his new friend were bound by a most sacred tie.

‘I want you’, he said to Mr. Gandhi, ‘to consider me your friend in this struggle. ‘If,’ he added, with a glance at the picture on the wall, ‘if I have learned any lesson from the life of Jesus it is that we should share the burden of those who are heavy-laden.’

F W Boreham, I Forgot To Say (London: The Epworth Press, 1939), 140.

The full story about J J Doke and Gandhi is written by Boreham in The Man Who Saved Gandhi, a book which has been republished as F W Boreham, Lover of Life: F W Boreham’s Tribute to His Mentor. Available from these places.

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: “Friends in this struggle.”