Bread Crumb Trails
Carter is my twelve year old son. I have known Carter for seven years. No matter what the courts, or a DNA test, or a family tree might say, Carter is my son. We love each other. We help each other grow. Though he only sometimes calls me “dad”, and I only have a chance to call him son in conversation with others or while writing a blog, he is my boy. I get to raise him with my wife Michelle and we enjoy the journey. While I make mistakes, and he makes mistakes, there is a purpose in how we treat each other. I want him to be independent, yes, but I want him to be kind, above all else.
On occasion, he says goodnight and requests that I come into his room before he falls asleep. This tickles me. He has done this for seven years. There was a time when I thought he was too old for such nonsense, but after a while of saying, “no”, I began the routine again. It takes little time. It only provides a chance for one more hug and one more “I love you” before he sleeps. Tonight, he looked at me and said, “Can you tell me a story… it has been a while since I have heard a story”.
Immediately I thought of dragons, motorcycles, cops and robbers, and reptiles. Even the rapper Drake came to mind. After a few moments of consideration, this tale came to mind. The tale I am about to share with you. On hearing it, he had some questions that were answered with my saying, “I don’t know… you finish the story in your dreams”. You might, with this glimpse into the world of Carter and me, wonder how he will ever make it in the world. You might think we are sweet. Do not think either. Do not consider us at all. If you see kindness, spread that kindness. If you hear the ridiculous, ridicule and feel the pride of knowing you are not as naive as we.
“There was a man who, when he passed by flowers, only felt sad. When he saw a rainbow, he only felt sad. When he felt the sunshine, he only felt sad. All his life he walked around, experiencing good things, and only feeling sad. Until one day, when he passed by a stranger, who had rags for clothes, barely enough food for one meal a day, and who had to sometimes ask people for money in order to get a bottle of water for his thirst. The sad man noticed the stranger was always happy.
In his attempt to find happiness, the sad man thought of the stranger, and how he had so much more than the stranger, and how he should be grateful for all that he had (Carter interrupts to ask if the sad man had a Lamborghini… I obliged). Even though he had a Lamborghini, he was sad, and sought happiness by comparing what he had, with the happy stranger. He did this for thirty days, but still felt sad when he passed by flowers, saw a rainbow, or felt the sunshine.
One day, the sad man passed the stranger and the stranger asked for $1.09 for a bottle of water. The sad man did not know what to do, so he gave the stranger the money, and went away very happy. Not just a little happy, but very happy. The gift was little to the sad man, now the happy man, but was great to the stranger, as it was his only water for the day. And the now sad man’s happiness was greater than expected, because happiness comes in sharing what you have, and the degree of happiness that comes to you is not measured by what size the gift was when you gave it, but by what it meant to the person that received it.”
Is this not true? While some say it is better to give than receive, I often wonder why we bother with the worry of which is better. This giving or receiving of a thing. The magic, the real transfer of joy, if you will, is found in the middle of the transaction. The giver, blessing the receiver with a gift, and the receiver blessing the giver with the opportunity to be blessed in giving. It is a mutual gift. It is a true joy and the only way to real happiness. Deep down, we know it to be truth, yet somehow pace our lives with little room for the joy of living.
Since you have made it to the end of this article, allow me to say “thank you”. Your reading this is a gift to me and is appreciated. Here is my gift to you. It may be great and it may be small, but a gift it is, none the less. You are not perfect. You have and will mess up. Your past could have been lived differently, and most likely, something you do in the future is going to affect you in what you perceive to be a negative way. But right now, you are whole, no matter how broken you feel. Right now, your past is but a bread crumb trail eaten by the Divine while being led to you. The future is not five, ten, or twenty years from now, and it is not tomorrow morning. The future for you is a world from which you came and to which you are working your way towards. You’ve got this. Right now. You’ve got this.