The Path Ahead

She stood alone, a frightened soul. The road ahead her was dark and lonely, and seemed to lead nowhere. It was cold. The fog enveloped her, the dark clouds in the sky mirroring the gloom she felt in her heart. She didn’t know what to do. She was lost. It felt safer somehow to just stand there and not venture out alone on the way ahead. It was too immense for her.

Suddenly, she heard someone approach. She turned-an old man. Thin, pale, and bent down, so much so, that she felt that someone had put all of life’s burdens on his shoulders, burdens that she herself felt weighing her down. But his eyes, they spoke a different story. They were calm, blue pools of a still lake. And on his face was a smile. A smile that reflected such contentment, which was probably impossible to imagine in a man who looked like him.

He stopped next to her. “Are you lost?”.

“Yeah. I mean, no, I need to take this road ahead.”

“So, why don’t you?”

“I don’t know. I mean I’m not sure if I should move on just yet. Its scary, dark, and alone out there.”

“But it is alone and dark here too.”

There was silence. She knew he had a point. But she still didn’t know if she was ready. Ready to leave this place behind, and go on ahead.

“What if it just gets darker ahead?” she asked.

“But what if it gets brighter?” he replied.

She didn’t know how to answer that. So instead, she just asked, “Where are you going?”

“Wherever my way takes me.”

“But aren’t you scared? Scared that it may not take you to a better place? Scared that you may meet people who may betray you, take everything away from you? Scared that you won’t find happiness?”

“But it is better than the alternative, don’t you think? Just standing here, stuck? And I know that there may not be a promise of better times, but even the darkest dawn sees the morning. I know I will meet people who will betray me, but I will also meet those who will completely change the way I look at love. And happiness, that my child, can never be found. It is not something hidden, that is out of reach. It is not something to strive for, to assign goals to and achieve them in order to attain it. It is something that is always there, inside of you. It is something that makes you look forward when you are sad, it is what gives you something to hope for, even when it all seems hopeless. It may get overwhelmed by the other things we feel, anger, pain, agony, hurt, but it is always there, waiting for you to feel it.”

“But, isn’t it more safe to stay here, where it is familiar?”

“Safe? No, no. It is the most dangerous thing. To stay stuck, stagnant. To deprive yourself of whatever the road ahead holds for you. Comfortable? Yes, that it is. And tempting too. But it’s a mistake.”

“So what? I just keep on going, not knowing where to go?”

“No, you take the first step not knowing where to go, in faith.”

With that, he moved ahead, and disappeared into the trees, leaving her looking into the shadows he left behind.

She turned back, and looked at the dreary road once again. She took a deep breath, and took a step forward, in faith.

The sun rose, illuminating the way ahead.

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