A Sad Man
It was a very sad day after all. The man had lost all of his wealth and his family had left him. He awoke that morning in the grip of loneliness and despair. He had nowhere to go, no one to talk to and nothing to look forward to. These were tough times indeed
There had been better days not so long ago. A successful business, a happy family and many rewards flowing his way. But something happened on that fateful evening, something that changed his life forever.
If we look back now, we can retrace those steps. In his younger days, our man Anton was given to fighting and arguing, pushing his way past others to gain what he wanted. His temper cost him dearly in those early days. The losses were huge and the failed relationships, many. Anton could not fathom it at the time. His father had conducted himself in similar fashion and his mother had acquiesced. So why wouldn’t this style work for him?
As Anton learned to push his way along using those familiar methods, he became even more subtle in attaining his desired ends. In addition to the bullying tactics acquired from father, Anton learned to cajole, to manipulate, to embarrass, to transform resistances into something pliable in order to further his own agenda.
The woman Anton had married was won over in that fashion. It was not a union based on love and respect, but on need. He needed a mate and wanted power over that person. When the children arrived, the pattern carried on. No one was allowed to be their Self, since that would threaten our man Anton. He had to have control in order to feel secure, and to that end he would do whatever was required.
As his business grew and prosperity reigned, Anton felt proud of his accomplishments. His family appeared well and his friends seemed to admire him. But his employees feared him as did most of his neighbors. He was too demanding they said, not a man you could get close to. He wielded power in a way that kept everyone at bay.
And then one day it happened, the unthinkable, the unbelievable. A rebellion had been brewing in the hearts of his wife and children. They had enough of being cajoled and manipulated. All their cries for true intimacy had gone unanswered; their pleas for compassion went unheard; and their need for closeness remained unmet. Anton was not to be swayed. His formula for life was working, he believed, and he was not prepared to abandon it. But upon arriving home this particular day, he found a note. “I am gone forever,” it began, “and have taken the children. You are not to trouble us or pursue us in any way. We want peace, we want freedom and we want affection, none of which has ever been available from you.”
Anton was devastated. At first rage swept through him like a violent storm. All kinds of corrective and punishing scenarios were imagined. This soon gave way to sadness, and finally, to grief. What had happened? He could not fathom it. He tried to carry on with his life, but his efforts were without spirit or design. His business began to fail and, soon after, others left him too – employees, friends, acquaintances. Anton was now all alone. He had failed. His father’s formula for life was in disarray. He could not understand what had gone wrong.
While Anton sat in what remained of his home, feeling desolate and despairing, an angel came to offer him some much needed comfort.
“What can you do for me?” He implored. “I am a broken man. I have lost everything. My life has no value. I am a failure.”
“Tis true” replied the angel, “that all about you has collapsed. But are you certain you have lost everything? Are you sure there is not some important remnant for you to take away from all this?”
“I do not understand what you mean,” Anton responded. “I just told you I have lost everything, my family, what few friends I had, my business, my life really. I have nothing left. Can you not see that?”
“I can see that externally you have lost a great deal,” the angel continued. “All those things that you thought mattered have vanished, that is true. But, are you not left with something, a portion you may not have noticed before. Beneath your father’s shadow, beyond your family and friends and all that you once valued, is there not a spark that still glows, that sustains you, that gives you life?”
“What do you mean?” Anton asked, now curious as to where the angel was going with this.
“Well,” the angel went on, “in the heart of every living creature lays a spark, a bit of the Divine fire, the energy that animates all life, including yours. Have you not noticed that in the areas where externals are not so important there is still laughter and joy? People with very little to show materially still enjoy good humor, good fellowship and an appreciation that their lives have merit. If this type of happiness exists in the absence of external wealth, could this not also exist for you?”
“You mean at the core of my being lies hope, drive and energy in spite of external appearances?”
“Why yes, that is exactly what I mean,” the angel went on. “Some refer to this core as Self, others may call it Soul and some identify it as Spirit. Each race and culture has their own name for it. In this case, the name that fits best is ‘Heart’ – the heart of love, the heart of being, the heart of unfettered self-expression and creativity. All life experiences refer to this common source, Heart, Soul, or Self, at the core of your being.”
“I see,” Anton reflected. “So if I still have my Heart, my Soul, My Self, I am not destitute, nor a failure. I can recreate anew. I can express my Self in other ways. I can go forward and rediscover life. So, I am not lost; I am free. I am not broken; I am whole. And, I am still valuable. I think I understand. This makes sense to me now. How can I thank you for showing me this truth about my life?”
“Express it,” the angel said flatly. “Express that core to the best of your ability. And respect the needs of others to express their Self. There is a balance to life when everyone does their part. How else can it be since you are an expression of the Great Creator? Go forward and make yourself proud again. Share what you have just learned. You are worthy and you can heal because you are willing to heal your Self.”