Friday, August 12, 2011

An Unexpected Test of Character

A young man was walking through a shady, canopied expanse of land. The sun was mild and the air was warm and fragrant from the blooms of early spring. The man had a smile on his face- life was good and it seemed that the drudgery and defeat that was reserved for the one willing to make his mark in the world had made him strong and capable of finding peace and beauty in everything. His steps were assured and fluffy dreams filled his mind. True indeed is the carefree nonchalance of youth.

Around a bend and the young man walked the path that wound at the edge of a small pond. The water was green and reflected the sun as clear as a mirror. The youngster admired this scene and in his calm reverie almost crushed a small, colorful fish that lay on the path in front of him. The fish was bouncing about, willing the escaping life to reconsider, so tantalizingly close to the edge of the pond that a lucky bounce and back it would be in the water- one with life again. Our youngster decided to help the fish himself and bent down to pick it up. That is when he saw the majestic lone eagle- perched on a branch nearby and with an intent eye on the struggling quarry before him.  The man understood the timing of his presence- a game of life and death was on and he was an unexpected participant. What would he do? Help a creature live? Steal food off the grasp of another creature? Silently walk away and let nature take its course?

Most often life does not judge us with big questions, tasks that need the character of a hero to accomplish. Often, the questions presented to us are small- our answers however, define who we are.