The Selfless Shine
He sat on the front stoop in front of the apartment complex attempting to gather his jumbled thoughts and place them into some sort of order.
He just sat there, headphones on to drown out the noise of the world.
He didn’t even notice the old man in the dingy grey suit, until the sun cleared from behind the clouds and the reflection off his immaculately shined shoes shook him from his self imposed isolation.
He looked up at the old man and spoke,
“Can I help you with something? I don’t give to the homeless, if you want money just move along.”
The old man laughed and replied,
“If you judge by appearance alone, all your trials will be lost, young man. I actually thought I could help you with something.”
The young man smirked and quickly retorted,
“I’ll bite….what could YOU possibly help ME with?”
“For starters, those headphones you are wearing were made to carry audio from the player to your ears.”
He reaches down and lifted up the end of the cord, which was not plugged into anything. And continues,
“You prefer to listen to the noise within your own head instead. Solving ones troubles with a troubled mind, only creates more troubles. Why don’t you lay your troubles on me, and allow me to give you suggestions through untroubled ears?”
The young man looked at the end of the cord that the old man held, then up at the old man, and then down at the stoop. He moved over from the center and motioned the old man to sit next to him.
The old man handed him his cane, and gracefully hiked up his grey slacks, a bit, by the knees to not wrinkle them when he sat down. He made a simple request to break the silence.
“Please remove the earphones. You won’t hear me with those mental silencers on.”
The young man pulled the earphones off and let them rest around his neck.
“Thank you,” he replied, “Now what’s the trouble?”
The young man paused…..
Then frantically regurgitated his troubles,
“I just don’t feel like I’m good enough….I try and try…but it’s not enough…Just trying to KEEP up brings me down. What do I do??”
The old man smiled and patted the young man on the shoulder, and calmly replied.
“It seems to me the issue at stake…is you. The world has not placed its weight upon you…..you have placed it firmly on your own shoulders and wish to solve its burden alone. You are restricted by your own self worth. You have set standards for yourself that YOU can’t keep. Therefore, not enough is the goal you constantly reach. To unbind yourself from self you must do things to improve self. The only way to improve self is to get out of self and do for others.”
The young man stared at him blankly and answered,
“That’s great. Could you repeat that in English, please….”
The old man sighed and said,
“Using words only you will understand….you suck at being you because you is all you think about. If you help others, you will in turn help yourself. Thereby redefining ‘enough’. Get it…got it…good.”
The old man saw the light turn on, as the young man’s expression and composure changed. Without giving him a chance to speak, the old man stood up, straightened out his grey slacks, grabbed his cane, and spoke before leaving him to ponder the lesson.
“Your life is not about what you can get from it….but what you can contribute to it. Time to stop sitting and start living….enough is enough.
Good day, young man.”
With a tip of his fedora, he walked off down the block, cane tapping in front of his immaculately shined shoes.
This was part of a continuing story of a character created by me. For the original story press “here“.