A 6-month old boy was having a good crawl about in a park when he came across an acorn on the ground.
“Hello”, he said, “and who might you be?”
“I am an acorn”, came the equally courteous reply.
The youngsters struck up a conversation without much inhibition, as they do. “So what do you want to be when you grow up?” inquired the curious baby.
“I am going to be a mighty oak tree”, the acorn responded in a heartbeat, “I will have a trunk that would take 3 men to hug, I will have branches that stretch out in most inspirational gestures, I will provide shading for the tired, allow lovers to make indelible declaration on my veneer, and bathe in the moonlight while I create wonderings about the vastness of the Universe.”
“Wow!”, cried the baby, full of admiration and enthusiasm. The baby also made his declaration: “I am going to be a park attendant in a large and busy park”, the boy smiled, “I am going to be the one making sure that the grass is well trimmed, the flowers well groomed and the facilities well kept. I will be providing a place of rest for those tired of body, a place of tranquillity for those tired of mind and a place of solace for those tired of spirit. I will be making silent connection with those I see come and go, whether they realize I have been of service to them I care not. For those who do notice me, I will help them realize that in the midst of today’s hustle and bustle, it is still OK to stop and mark the moment of Now with a smile.”
The 2 friends exchanged a briefest moment of eternity, and went their separate ways.
It took a total of forty five years and a hundred and seven days before the acorn was able to catch the attention of the baby again. The acorn, by now, was of course a mighty oak and the baby a man.
The recognition was mutual and unmistakable.
“Hey, it’s been a while my friend”, the man sighed as he exhaled, pondering on the fact that he has time to notice how his breath was made visible by the cold winter air.
“Not for me”, parried the mighty oak with warmth and wisdom as he persisted, “I see you everyday, twice a day, very early in the morning and very late in the evening. But your presence had always been somewhere else, so how did you expect to see me? So how have you been my dear friend?”
“Well, I was a partner in an established architect firm”, began the man, sounding somewhat contrived, “I so called designed and built high street shopping malls, car parks and affordable housing units”, his tone conspicuously deteriorating, “everyday I walked into a soulless office, pored over soulless pieces of diagrams, translating them into formidably soulless structures, just so the masses could enjoy sustaining their soulless lives.”
The wise old oak remained empathetically silent as he subtly encouraged the man to continue.
“I had a childhood where I had lacked nothing. I did well in school, so I had to choose a subject commensurate with my potential. I did well in college, so I had to apply to the top firms for my internship. I did well in my internship, so I had to accept their job offer. I did well in my job, so I had to accept the offer of partnership. The firm was taken over by another company, I was the most junior partner and so I had to be the first to go.”
“What about you?”, barely mustering up the energy to reciprocate the courtesy.
“I have been providing a place of rest for those tired of body, a place of tranquillity for those tired of mind, and a place of solace for those tired of spirit. I have been making silent connection with those I see come and go, whether they realize I have been of service to them I have cared not. For those who do notice me, I have been helping them realize that in the midst of today’s hustle and bustle, it is still OK to stop and mark the moment of Now with a smile.”
He sat down and wept.