Just a story

Archived from http://doinglikewise.blogspot.com/

Many, many generations ago a man was walking along a path. Then, for no reason he was responsible for or for any active thought on his own, he looked up and noticed an object, shiny, bright; an object which seemed to have its own light. As he approached he noticed it was a pearl, a very unusual one which must have been dropped by some great king or nobleman as they passed by. He walked over to the pearl and then bent down to touch it, picked it up, checked to see if anyone was coming to get it and then; with a peaceful mind he did not fully grasp, put it in his pocket as his own.

Each day as this man would do his chores and go about his living he would spend some time with the pearl, looking at it and imagining what it must have been like when this pearl was in its kingdom for surly such a valuable pearl must have had an amazing background. Daily the man would do his work when he had finished his time with the pearl. As time went by the man grew more and more attached to the pearl and hardly a day passed when he did not spend time just holding it and taking in the majesty which must have surrounded it.

Then one day it was as if the pearl spoke to the man, just a simple word, a small task that the man could do as he went about his work. Days went by small tasks continued to come, and the man continued to do these small tasks as he went about his day. More tasks, more days, the man married, had a family and still he worked at the daily tasks. Then one day the pearl vanished, some say it was found again but no one seemed to know for sure. The man however continued his work as if the pearl was still present. People around began to write letters to each other about this man’s efforts and how he just kept working but no one knew what it was he was building.

It happened that the man’s son had a son and so as the grandson grew he began to spend his days with his grandfather. As he watched he was curious what was being built so he asked his grandfather, ”I Don’t know” said the grandfather, “I just keep doing these little tasks but I don’t know what this will look like or be, it seems this is the pearls purpose not mine”. The grandson mentioned that sometimes it looked like a garden, or a road or a foundation for a grand castle or meeting place but the outcome of all this work was unclear. The boy enjoyed these days very much, until, one day the inevitable, the grandfather died; the boy wished he had paid more attention to the words and the thoughts of his grandfather, it was, however, too late. The boy was very sad and everyday for some time he would go to the place his grandfather worked and wait, looking for someone to come and continue the work. No one came.

For weeks the boy came and then his visits became fewer and fewer. The frequency of the grandson’s visits that had become weekly changed to monthly and then hardly at all. The boy grew and had children of his own. Sometimes the family would ask about the great grandfather’s project but no one really remembered. They gathered all the notes and letters people had been taking to try and continue the work, but everyone had a different idea of what the project should be and no one could agree. One day someone mentioned that they thought they remembered something about a pearl but the family said that was just an old tale and who would believe a pearl would give any instruction anyway. So with time, the story became about the letters and the eyewitness accounts, after all it was easier to believe the stories and try to find clues in these stories as to what the project was.

More generations came and went but the family was unwilling to completely forget the story so they began to gather together, to remember the project, they gathered on the day the pearl was supposedly found and they gathered on the day it disappeared. The gatherings gave the family comfort and a sense of remembering the work started decades before. The work however had eroded and crumbled so there was not even a hint or any reflection of what their ancestor had actually done.

One day a young woman came along the path to the place of the project, she stopped and looked at the tangled mess, trees had toppled over and there were no signs of the garden or the road or the place of the grand castle; all that appeared was rubble and chaos of overgrowth. The young woman looked at the place and became sad; she thought “what was it my great, great, great, great grandfather was doing?” “Whatever it was he poured his life into it and now there was just rubble. Was her ancestor crazy as so many had said, after all over the years many had tried to follow the stories and became confused about the project’s real purpose.

Turning away the young woman noticed a stranger standing on the path. “Why do you stand and look at this place, and why such a sad face?” the stranger asked. The young woman recounted the story of her great, great, great, great grandfather’s project and how many had tried to follow the stories and writings and how different everyone had thought these writings meant. The stranger asked, “what do you see when you look at this?” the young woman answered “a mess, a real mess”. “That is too bad” said the stranger,”I don’t see that at all, perhaps you need new eyes?”. The young woman glanced at the stranger and almost in anger said, “new eyes?, I think these are perfectly good, my family has always had very good vision, it is a family trait”. Then almost as an afterthought she said, “What do you see?” The stranger said, “I see beauty and design, I see faithful work and effort, I see the beginnings of a kingdom, a place of royalty, a place like no other”. He paused, then added, “there is another piece of this story you have not told to me”.

After thinking for a minute the young woman remembered the part concerning the pearl and related this to the man saying, “Everyone agrees though that a pearl cannot speak, it is just too impossible for that part of the story to be true”. Turning her attention to the stranger she thought “How can he see beauty in this mess?” and then said to him, “do you know anyone else who has eyes such as you and would see this as you?” “Oh yes, there are some with the same eyes as I have” replied the stranger. A silence came upon this unlikely duo, standing on this path, one seeing ruin and another seeing great beauty.

“Sir” said the young woman, “how do I get eyes such as yours?” “How can it be that I might see what my Great, great, great, great grandfather saw and what he was doing?” The man smiled and quietly replied, “Find the Pearl”.