I have a close friend, Reiner Fahrenberger (93), that I first met in Germany more than 40 years ago. Below is a letter I wrote to him a few months ago – I thought of sharing it with you and hope that it will be a blessing. (Clarifying notes in brackets below.)
My dear friend Reiner
I would like to thank you for one of the biggest lessons I have ever learnt.
About 38 years ago (1983?), Tony Abrahamse (the owner of Shelvit) and I visited you in Meckenheim/Bonn and you took us to different pharmacies in Germany to look at the layouts and construction. One evening on the way back to your (Meckenheim) factory we stopped for dinner at the Lochmühle restaurant. After dinner I saw ‘by accident’ you discreetly hand the waiter about DM150 (I think the total bill for the meal was around DM165 – still Deutsch Marks at that stage) and I thought it strange as in Germany restaurants normally sent the bill to a person’s company for payment (if a business meal and an official tax receipt is required) and 18% service is included.
The next evening we again stopped at the Lochmühle and again I saw you tip the same waiter a very large amount. I then asked you why you were giving such a large gratuity if the service was already included in the bill?
You said “I know that this man is going through difficult times. This is my way of helping him.” Then you said these words that taught me one of the biggest lessons of my life…
“Nico, always remember, you have to let it flow.”
These 9 words had a profound effect on my life up to this day and I have shared this story many times with friends and I know it has also had an effect on their thinking about their generosity. “Always remember, you have to let it flow!”
The reason for my mail is to thank you for your example and for sharing this wonderful lesson with me – you are an amazing friend and your friendship and advice the past 43 years are deeply appreciated… it changed my life.
Lord, help me in making 2022 a year where I will not give up, but look up and try and look away from my own needs and desires and help those that are going through difficult times by “remembering to always let it flow.” Amen.