Here’s another analogy I’ve written up, but which did not originate with me. Thanks to N for sharing with me the God-given idea behind this.
I’m walking through a desert.
I look up into the sky and the sun burns my eyes. It scorches the air around me, and as I place my hand against my forehead to look out around me, all I see is sand.
Ugh. I’ve been wading through this for way too long.
Then again, I haven’t been the one to write these directions that I’m following. They’ve seemed kind of crazy, but all the time I’ve been following them, they’ve gotten me through the terrain I’ve been in. Don’t get me wrong: at times I’ve lost my footing, I’ve slipped in creeks, I’ve been chased by various wildlife, I’ve tumbled down hills and been rained on. But each and every time, I’ve found my way out of it with this notebook. I’ve even found beautiful vistas along the way, sampled scrumptious fruits of these wilds, and felt such peace on simple breezes. I’ve picnicked and I’ve panicked, but this book has always been ready.
Sometimes when I open it the pages are blank – no matter how many I flip through. Other times, I find exactly what I was looking for. And yet at others, the words appear before my very eyes. I know I’ll find what I need in there, whatever it is.
Now, I just need to remember that, sweating out here in this dune-filled, coarse sea.
The kicker is, some time ago I read some instructions that told me to start picking up these rocks and collect them in my pack.
I didn’t get it, but every time I did come across a rock in this dunes – whether I tripped over it or kicked up sand, exposing it – I reached down, grabbed it and stuffed it in my bag.
At this point, I’ve got a decent amount tossing around in my pack. Really, they’ve just been good at weighing me down. It takes more effort now to carry this bag with me than it ever did before. But…what the books says, I do.
It’s gotta work out somehow, right? Yeah, I’m sure it will somehow.
I walk another while, trudging through more sand and heat when I decide to check my book again. Maybe there’s something new in there that says something like, “Head East toward that glorious swimming pool attended by staff from the adjacent hotel.”
Flipping my notebook open, I read the only sentence on the page: “Pick up that rock at the top of the next dune.”
Ugh! What?! Another rock…really?
I glance up and sure enough, there’s a sharp tip just sticking up out of the sand ahead. As I glance back down at the book, I see the words there haven’t changed. Sliding the book back into my pocket, I feel some tips of the rocks and stones already in my bag digging into my back. Well, guess I’d better get to it. No use in waiting for those words to change.
Arriving at the rock, I start digging out the sand from around it, but it’s hot! Taking quick movements to try and avoid burning my hands, I manage to get the top portion uncovered and see that…
…this rock is bordering on being a small boulder.
I sit back and check the book again. The words still haven’t changed. I flop back for a brief moment but change my mind as the sun starts to blind me again.
How am I going to get this thing out and carry it?
I continue trying to dig with my hands for a short while before I check my book again, this time to see if anything has been added. Lo and behold, something has been added: “Use the folded up shovel in your bag to dig it out.”
Opening up my bag, I see there is a foldable shovel. Which is interesting, because there hadn’t been one in my bag before now…’Course, this isn’t the first time this kind of thing has happened. I shouldn’t be surprised, really.
Now the digging is much quicker, and it’s not long before I’m holding a rock the size of Jupit- Okay, so I’m exaggerating. It’s more along the lines of a large bowling ball. As I place the monster inside my bag, I groan to myself. This is not going to be fun.
And it’s not.
Carrying this bag on my back has just gotten a lot harder. I’m sweating more now from the effort.
But…I’m sure there’s some reason for this heavy load. There’s got to be…some…good reason…for hauling… all these…rocks.
Still going through these dunes, I see a distant, small shadow ahead. Immediately I dig out my book and check it: “Take a break underneath that shrubbery ahead.”
Oh yes! Whoohoo! Break time!
I book it and make it there in record time.
Resting has never been as sweet as it is now, I tell you. Ahhh….
But later, just as I think I could drift off here, the wind picks up and throws sand into my face. Yup. Got the hint. I’m going.
I continue to walk for quite some time. The rocks continue to rest uncomfortably in my pack, and I continue to pick up rocks. None as large as that bowling ball, thank goodness.
As I keep moving through the desert, I start to see some larger shadows in the distance, and I start to get excited. Are those…no, they couldn’t be….could they?
A fresh wind blows across my face with the distant yet cool scent of pine, and I whip out my notebook again. As I flip through, all I’m seeing is blank pages.
C’mon, there’s gotta be something here…
I sigh, just standing there, holding my notebook open.
I close my eyes and lift my head, just breathing, hoping to catch another whiff of that lovely pine…
And there it is. I open my eyes and look at the book, seeing the words being written before my eyes: “You’re almost there. Just keep going, towards the trees.”
Sounds good to me!
Picking up my pace for this last stretch, I see the skyline starting to darken in colour, the hues starting to play together as they touch the tips of those shadows I saw earlier. As I near them, I see they’re snow-capped and green-clad.
The closer I get, the cooler the air gets, the more solid my footing becomes, and the more beautiful the sky grows toward dusk.
Finally, I’m reaching the treeline. The trees are such a wonderful sight to me, I’d hug them – sap and all – if I wasn’t so tired from my load.
I check my notebook, and it directs me further into the woods. I follow the directions by the last bits of sunlight and find myself at the entrance of a cave. Stepping inside, I see there’s already a modest fire crackling and a meal sizzling above it.
Taking the hot meal, I drop my pack beside a thatch of pine boughs, thick and covered over with a wool blanket, and take a seat. Perfect. This’ll be heaven after today.
Eating my fill, I lay back and quickly, soundly, fall asleep.
I’m awoken the following morning with birds singing. I kid you not. I guess that actually does happen at times.
Sitting up and stretching, I can’t believe how well I rested last night.
Then my gaze shifts over to that pack full of rocks. Ugh. Right.
Before doing anything, though, I check my notebook.
The first page I open to says, “Well done, good and faithful servant! Look inside your bag.”
I do, and my eyes widen.
No longer is it filled with rocks, but the bottom is littered with an assortment of gems: rubies, sapphires, emeralds, garnets, jades, amethysts, opals, topaz and a litany of others. Sitting amongst them is this diamond the size of my fist. That has to be the bowling ball!
Huh. Well, then. All those rocks, tumbling in my bag as I journeyed…
Shaking my head and smiling, I check my book again. This is what it said:
“It’s a new day. Go out and, following the path I show you, share those gems with the travellers you encounter.”
Sounds good to me.