Still, his cheeks puffed in delight with every extra effort. He didn’t even care that a long queue (of adults) had built up behind him. Nothing else mattered. No worries in the world – only that one goal: to walk! So, when I carried him to make room for the queue, the tears were volcanic.
Seconds after his feet were re-united with the ground, he was back to his new-found obsession. His twin-stumps had no strength and his brain no mastery – but something made all that logic irrelevant. His heart had a purpose. He was going to walk – and the roadblocks only brightened the fire in his eyes.
The truth came alive – and its bitterness filled my stomach. The message was clear and unmistakable. At that point, if I suddenly vanished from physical reckoning, what victories would I be remembered for? If death came in that moment, would it all have been for nothing? What battles had I spent my energies fighting? Had my life been a campaign or a mob-march?
Speechless, I left my new hero and walked on. Grateful, yet saddened beyond words, I began to double back on events. Where did it all go wrong? Somehow, it didn’t matter that I had an unusually bright start to the year. It didn’t even count that I had put in more effort than most to shape things up. All that mattered were the 2000 years it had been since I last felt alive. In that time, I had sub-consciously undone everything I worked to build.
Unless the Olympic torch makes it to the venue, its entire journey was in vain. The year started well; everything came together like chords from a grand orchestra, but there are no awards for the first sprinter off the blocks – moreso if he runs backwards. I had forgotten that.
Again, I asked myself what battles I had managed to win. I asked if I had been an ambassador or a mercenary – if the causes I advanced were heartfelt or paid for. Humans may try their sentimental best to remember a fallen soldier – but memories are fickle. Even the best of them must fade. What outlives us is purpose – and so far, I managed to ignore mine.
And how does one attend to purpose when routine has dethroned inspiration? What’s the journey worth if process replaces progress? When do we look within if we’re forever looking ahead? Why do we plan if nothing is within our control? To whom have we handed our reins of control? How do we fight an enemy that lies within? What chance do we stand when the enemy is also the referee? How does one measure victory in the fight between heart and head? Are we even fighting the right battles?
It’s been a while since I last felt alive. All I’ve heard in forever is the silent hum of a noisy schedule; no air, no inspiration, no spark – only frantic routine. Rules replaced creativity and emotion submerged logic. And all this for what – a cause I believe in or one thrust upon me? How long can one ignore the important for the urgent? If nothing changes, soon there won’t be much left.
It won’t be worth much if I died for a cause that wasn’t mine. I know now what I must do. I must return to the original calling – the blueprint, the purpose! Purpose makes it all simple. If my mission is to walk, I better ignore the nagging queue and do just that? If I know that which I was born to achieve, then I need to know that ‘greener lands’ are a mere distraction – that porting is not an option.
The path we’ve been called to walk may not be the most lucrative, but it’ll bring us peace. The hard work is finding that path. And, as with the kid, purpose may not teach us ‘how’ [to walk], but it’ll remind us of ‘why’ [we should rise after every fall] – and sometimes, that’s all we really ever need!
Specially dedicated to all those who have found purpose, and are lacking the courage to face it. To those still searching, please don’t quit; it’s never far away!
Of course, the comments box is open. Nothing brings more warmth than hearing from you.