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posted 7 May 2015, 10:28 by Tim Elliston   [ updated 13 May 2015, 11:23 ]

By Louise Jensen

The disillusioned young man trudged wearily down the path, shoulders slumped and head down as he fought against the weather. He reached a crossroads. Using the last of his rapidly depleting energy he forced himself to look up to read the signpost. One arrow pointed towards hope, another to peace, the way from which he had come was pointing to love, the last arrow showed him the way to faith.

He was trying to escape his past, escape himself, where should he go? As he contemplated the available routes he realised he didn’t quite believe the directions. Come from love? That’s wasn’t how it was back at home. His family constantly fought, he had lost his job and he didn’t feel his wife loved him anymore. Figuring it didn’t really matter much which route he chose he set off in the direction of hope.

After several miles the man reached another crossroads. Confusingly the signs read trust, honour, joy and, pointing directly to him was love. “love can’t be that way” he thought “that way should point towards hope. I haven’t passed it yet and now I have missed out on hope”.

Sighing heavily he dragged his weary body towards joy. After several more miles he came to another crossroads. He tutted crossly when he realised that love was again pointing directly to the path he was on. He appraised the other choices, compassion, dignity and enlightenment.

This was an easy choice to make. Turning up his collar to keep out the wind and the rain the man set off on the path towards enlightenment.

He reached a fourth crossroads, but this time every choice was love. Angrily he kicked the wooden post, cursing as he hurt his toe.

Hopping around he noticed an old man sitting on a rock under the tentative rays of the sun.

“What’s wrong?” asked the man.

“It’s these stupid signs” the young man said.” I wanted enlightenment but every road now appears to lead to love.  I ignored all the other choices to get here, I have missed out on hope, peace, faith, trust, honour, joy, compassion and dignity. Now I am not even enlightened”.

The old man smiled. “Son the starting point to all of those things is love. You keep going in the opposite direction to love, avoiding all signs but somehow hoping you can have hope, peace, faith, trust, honour, joy, compassion and dignity. How can that be without love? You can’t run away from yourself because you don’t feel anymore. Why are you trying to get ‘there’? How will you feel differently ‘there’? What if ‘there is here and it has been all along and you just need to open your heart to truly see?”

The young man thought about his life. How bitter he had become when he lost his job. How emasculated and angry he felt all the time. How badly he had treated those that loved him. He had pushed their love away like it was worthless because he didn’t love himself. He realised the man was right. Love isn’t a direction, something you can chase. The arrows weren’t pointing to a direction they were pointing towards him. Everything he had been trying to find had been inside of himself all along.

He looked up and smiled at the rainbow stretching out above him. He thought about how beautiful his life was when he loved and respected himself, how differently others behaved towards him. With gratitude in his heart, and a knowing that it was never too late, he turned around and headed home.

copyright 2012 Louise Jensen