Last night I had a dream; a dream that moved me. I dreamt that I was walking down a straight road in the middle of the desert. The road was paved, but everything around me felt dry, baron and without color. I kept walking straight down the middle of the road though as if I was waiting for something to happen; as if this road was going to take me somewhere.
I remember being a combination of lonely yet purposeful. It was as if I had convinced myself that all of this, the road and everything around me, was for a greater good. It was as if I was certain that this was the journey I was meant to take and that the certainty I felt was enough to keep me moving forward; that eventually I would find my way to something extraordinary, and so I kept walking.
Every so often, I would see a little boy standing on the side of the road, beckoning me to follow him. But afraid to stray from my path of “certainty,” I could not get myself to stop walking long enough to approach the little boy on the side of the perfectly paved road. So to the little boy”™s dismay I just shook my head as if to say “not now” and walked past him, only to see him later on further down the road.
Finally, about the fifth time I passed him, he realized I was not going to come to him and so he walked up unto the road and met me. He turned forward and walked there beside me, in perfect stride, and we talked. He told me about all of the amazing things that he had seen, and how he wanted to take me to those places. But it would involve me leaving my perfectly paved road. “Leave my road?” I thought to myself. “No Way!!” The little boy realized that I would have no part in it so he changed the subject back towards the amazing things he had seen in his own journey. I found myself feeling like his protector; as if he needed me to look after him while he walked “my path.” And sensed that the little boy felt no fear or anxiety and believed that it was his trust in me and the certainty that I possessed in my Journey that made him feel at ease.. The truth however was that this little boy did not need me or my certainty to feel safe and protected because HE had found equal comfort in “UN-certainty” and this detour he was on with me was in fact strengthening his beliefs that every journey has a purpose even if the scenery isn”™t all that great.
I shared with him that I also had a purpose and that this perfectly paved road led to something great. I even told him that it was in his best interest to stay with me and follow the road if he really wanted to discover happiness, success, and greatness. After all, this was the road that “everyone” took and had been paved for this very purpose. It”™s the path everyone told me to take and “they” would never lie or steer me wrong. I was so certain of it that eventually, the little boy stopped trying to convince me to stray from the path and go his way. I assumed it was because he believed I was right, but the reality had more to do with the wisdom of this little boy knowing that I would need to find out for myself that “certainty” does not always bring you where you want to go.
After some time, he began to look frustrated and doubtful and so I told him that I had many more years of experience in life and that I knew what was best. Reluctantly, the young boy followed and the longer he did, the sadder he got. He was used to bright colors and vibrant sounds; but this road had neither. I kept telling him to hold on and have faith, it would get better; but it never did. Even with no sign of hope, he stayed committed to my words and seemed to want to believe that I would in fact prove to him what I had been saying was in fact true.
After a couple of hours both of us were exhausted. We had not realized it but we had lowered our heads as we walked and were only seeing the road right in front of us. We stopped for a break and raised our heads to look up ahead and were struck with panic.. The road stretched about 20 more feet and then ended abruptly!! We no longer had the benefit of its direction nor did the end of the road have any grand rewards for our laborious walk. There was no prize for holding onto the certainty as we did for all of the hundreds of miles we walked.
I could not bare to look at him because I knew I had failed us both. He had put faith and trust in me and I had led him to a dead end. I knew that if I looked at him, I would be ashamed of what I had done. but I had no choice, I had to comfort this little boy who had followed me all of this way. I had to console him and convince him that things would be okay.
I turned down to look at him, expecting to see tears, but I saw the opposite. The little boy stood there smiling and rubbing his hands together. What I had seen as a dead end, he saw as an opportunity. Without saying a word, he grabbed my hand and pulled me off the road and into the desert. I fought as hard as I could to not turn around and go back to the safety of the road. I tried hard not to think about the past and where I may have gone wrong or missed a turn. Instead, I trusted in the young boy to lead me, the way he had trusted in me.
Within minutes we were surrounded by trees, plants, flowers, and exotic animals. The sights were amazing, but equally incredible were the sounds that we heard. This was like a fantasy playground for grownups and kids alike. Suddenly an amazing new feeling came over me. I tried to define this new feeling as we walked through the fruit filled trees and mossy green grass but my attention kept getting pulled away
After a short time it hit me and I knew what this feeling was; it was the feeling of “UN-certainty!” Like putting knew batteries into a flashlight I found myself with a glow I had not seen in many years and I was CERTAINY that the UN-certainty was exactly what I needed in this moment. I was lost and found at the same time and it felt perfect
What may have been hours, seemed like minutes. I felt recharged and full of life. I didn”™t know where I was heading, but for the moment I was happy. In this moment I was a kid again; and then something amazing happened. The little boy stopped and pointed up ahead. There before my eyes I saw a newly paved road just a straight as the first one I walked for so many miles, but with an obvious difference. This road had trees along the roadside, birds in the trees, and the sound of a gentle wind.
The little boy and I stepped back onto the road and continued to walk with new purpose and vigor. We didn”™t say anything, but we both knew what the other was thinking. Our journey continued just as it began; with purpose.
The moral of this story is simple; when you”™re walking thru life, do not to stay on the wrong path just because it”™s what you”™re used to and comfortable with. Don”™t be afraid to trust the child that is in all of us; the one who wants you to take chances, play from time to time, and walk new trails. Believe that life is here to serve you and that certainty and UN-certainty work equally in your favor. Keep that balance and life promises to get you where you need to be. Be a grown up and take charge when you have to, but don”™t be afraid to play every so often. Be open to these principals and you”™ll find a better path, and will stay young forever!!
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