By Bob Perks
He was a big man with a huge pain in his heart. Not the kind that a doctor can cure.
Not the kind that one can define easily. He was hurting and there was nothing anyone could say.
I think it comes with age. Not a particular point in life that one can mark on a calendar.
Nor can you see it coming. It just seems to sneak up on you and suddenly you find
yourself crying over little things that appear to cast big shadows on your life.
I approached him from behind and couldn’t tell that he was crying until I walked past.
I turned and glanced his way to simply acknowledge him standing there and saying
"Hello!" I startled him.
He looked up quickly and then struggling to gain his composure he reached for a
tissue and mumbled "Hello."
I walked just a few steps and stopped. I couldn’t just walk by without offering a
word or two.
"Anything I can do?" I asked.
"No." he replied.
Sensing he wanted to be alone I turned and continued on my journey.
"I’m just educating the soul," he said.
"I’m sorrying, I didn’t hear you right. Did you say you were educating the soul?"
I asked as I turned back toward him.
"Yes, I am."
Now you know I was intrigued by this. I had never heard of such a thing before
so I walked back to where he was standing.
"Tell me, how does one do that?"
Wiping his eyes, he smiled a little and began to explain.
"I have never been so sensitive to worldly things. I mean, I’m a tough guy or at
least I always thought I was. You would never catch me shedding a tear. No way.
Suddenly life has grabbed my heart and I find myself so wrapped up in it. I am not a
bit depressed. I can easily find joy in many things in my day. But even joy brings tears," he said.
Now shuffling his right foot nervously back and forth he looked down and up a few
times before continuing.
"I have lived a good life. I don’t have all the things that I once dreamed of having,
but still, I am a happy man. My heart aches for those who are hurting. In recent weeks
the millions caught up in hurricanes, the bombings over seas, the soldiers far from home
all have taken a spot in my heart. In stark contrast I have been thrilled with the announcement
of my first grandchild, the recovery from a cancer operation for my old friend and we just paid
off our car," he said.
I didn’t interrupt. I waited.
"My reaction to all of this is so powerful, so emotional…so alive!"
I smiled. "I like that part. "So alive!" I think you have the answer if you are indeed searching
for one. I am guessing you are retired," I said.
"Not to suggest that you have not been "alive" before, but I believe you have arrived at that
place where you have suddenly realized that life is exciting. Being fully aware of everything
around you, being so in touch with the energy that comes from life itself, has awakened your
spirit," I said.
"That’s why I call it, "Educating the soul." I have lived a full life in the direction I was headed
but I have not lived a full life emotionally. I believe I was so focused on "doing" that I paid little
attention to "being."
He smiled and said, "Wow, even that last statement was pretty amazing for me."
"So now you are educating your soul. I love that idea."
"Yes, I am teaching me to be more in touch with reality, with the stuff of life, with my soul
however one defines that."
I met a man today who lived and then began living more.
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Submitted by Madeleine.