The elderly traveler sits by the roadway, sipping a cup of tea from water boiled over
an open fire. His cup is oddly shaped and hand-made out of clay from the river bank.
Long, silvery hair and leathery feet. The lines on his face bear a lifetime of defiant peace, and his eyes radiate a stalwart joy.
He's lived a life apart from the crowd - beneath them, some might say, but wiser souls reckon his place has always been in the realms of higher consciousness.
Resting whenever his body commands, his stamina lasts beyond norms.
The young, weary traveler is making
his way home. He is tired, but he must
keep moving. When his job is done, on
some elusive future date, then he can
rest, but for now there is no break. Tomorrow he will start all over again.
The sleep he will get tonight will have to
be enough to carry him through
another busy day. He hides his frustration like an obedient soldier.
Hungry mouths need food. His life and happiness can wait.
“Come, have some tea,” the old soul beckons to the young man.
“You look like you’re about to collapse.”
“There’s no time for tea!” The young man sneers without sparing as much as
a sideways glance, and quickly
moves past him.
“There is no time to NOT have tea,”
the old sage asserts, “but if you must go,
I pray you go in peace.”
The young man shakes his head and keeps walking. A studio
apartment awaits him with past-due bills and a half-completed artistic project on the dining room table from his daughter's visit last weekend.
A hot dog and a beer, and then he'll collapse onto an unmade single bed.
Her parents told her, “Life is hard.
You must pay your dues and be
a good person.”
So she got good grades in school, did her chores, went to
college, organized corporate
agendas, and rocked babies.
She balanced it all, like a tightrope walker. She is the epitome of
excellence and the embodiment of clout. In her world, rest is for bedtime
and only until a buzzing clock at dawn reminds her of her next day's schedule.
Indeed, “alarm” is the base word from which she runs her life.
The old lady has a quick, delightful step as she darts here and there, making a
cup of tea for visitors. Her ankles
are slightly swollen, but the rest of her
body is lean, strong, and feisty. She talks incessantly, and her words are laced with laughter as she mocks her frail frame.
“I suppose I should realize I’m not that
tough anymore,” she chuckles, but her spirit emanates resilience. Her patchwork quilt is a colorful work of art in progress, but for now it is neatly folded on the armchair, her sewing needle tucked safely away. It is visiting time, and dunking
cookies in tea with a friend is the most important time of day.
Perhaps the most significant quest of our lives is to find a way to blend the
drive of youth with the wisdom of age.
We are all just riding the train home
after all, through countryside and cityscapes. We will inevitably miss
some scenes along the way, but
there are options in how we choose to
be in each moment. We can rest our head against the window and hold captive the fleeting moments - colorful sights and textures that bring our hearts delight, or we can bemoan the noise of the engine and our tired body. The quality of the journey home is a reality we choose. I believe our souls can find lasting rest in each mile, if our perspective allows, and when we are old our eyes will reflect a more ageless joy.