by Mark Rickerby There once was a bright, young boy who thought and thought all day and rarely joined his little friends when they went out to play. Even when he would come out, his mind would keep on turning and while all the others laughed and played, his questions kept on burning. Like "Where did I come from? Why am I here?" and "Where will I go when I die?" Very big questions for such a small boy. Unanswered, his childhood flew by. A young man sat on a sunswept beach, away and apart from the crowd. You see, he was thinking quite serious thoughts and their laughter was far too loud. His nose in a book, he just couldn't hear the young girls when they'd call out his name and though the sun shone so very brightly above, had no time for their foolish games. No, there were too many doors to unlock and so many knots to untie like "Where did I come from? Why am I here?" and "Where will I go when I die?" A middle aged man sat on the same beach, a place he had come to know as somewhere to ponder his life's many why's though the answers he still didn't know, when a feeling of emptiness, never so deep, filled his heart and made him afraid. He thought of the voices of friends, long ago, but could only hear silence today. Then he thought, "Oh, my God, half my life has slipped by and still, no solution is near. I think I'll stop trying to figure it out and for once, just be glad that I'm here." That day, his eyes opened and though nothing had changed, the world became bright, rich and new. And as he lay back to blend with life's colors and sounds, the great sky never seemed quite so blue. An old man lies on a bed, close to death, but not worried, not sad or afraid. He smiles at sweet faces, gathered around saying, "Please Grandpa, don't go away." He says, "Don't be sad. I had a life full and rich - something not many can say." But their young eyes were still pleading, scared and confused so he searched for the right words to say . . . "When I was young, I had so many worries and fears and questions I couldn't get by. Then one day I stopped fighting and searching in vain and decided to live till I die. I traveled the world, drank in its wonders, found true love in a good woman's eyes, had beautiful children, life's sweetest reward. Each one, an incredible prize. Now, one journey ends and another begins and I was right to be patient and wait for the mysteries that plagued my troubled, young mind can't be solved on this side of the gate. So do one thing more for me. Know your own beauty. Always stand strong, proud and tall. And think of my passing not as the end but as the summer becoming the fall."
The end