He Walks

by Paul Hernandez

The chill of the night goes unnoticed as the rhythm of his footsteps create a comforting trance. He is sure-footed as he travels the path of uncertainty. Destination unknown, he is eager to remain in the confines of familiarity. The only constant in his life. He walks. Faces and places are noticed at a passing glance, reminders of a painful existence. Life has dealt him a hand that would surely fold an ordinary man. It is said that one cannot enjoy a rainbow without experiencing the storm that precedes. Such is true for the human spirit. Rejection, constant berating and scrutiny of self-worth lay the foundation of a life that is capable of triumph and success. In the midst of a chaotic world, it is difficult to see the end result. The miles disappear behind him with the fading hope of a better life. The endless journey continues. He walks. Dawn breaks with the promise of fatigue and hunger. Another constant. Wave after wave, the hardships of life deteriorate his perseverance. Sweat beads his brow as his muddled emotions take their toll. He is frantic in his search for food, exhausting the last of his energy. Legs quivering, he tries to push on to no avail. The quote, It is hard to stumble when you are on your knees comes to mind. It is all too much. It hits him harder than the bare knuckles and home-made paddles of his past. He falls on all fours, screaming with rage and disparity. WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?! He recalls praying for the first time, unable to see through swollen eyes. Please help me were the words interrupted by blinding white pain to his temple. No cake. No balloons. Just survival. Year ten. Wrapped in a silver lining, abandonment is his assured gift. He lets his head hang in agonizing defeat. The world around him falls silent. His heartbeat silently counting the last of his moments. Peering over, the comforting darkness beckons him. God only gives us as much as we can handle. Brimming with pain and tears, his soul can bear no more. Shaky hands grip the rail as pebbles cascade into the water far below, ripples disturbing the motionless water. Tormented by his impending decision, he searches for a sign, anything to draw strength from. In his ultimate time of need, he cannot fathom why he is alone. So many people. A multitude of individuals have been blessed by his charitable and selfless acts. Deeds that were performed none other than by knowing anothers pain. No recognition. No self-gratification. A good Samaritan. The shivering man in Bay Shore who now wears his coat. The thirsty traveler in Newport who received his last dollar. The teenager in Oceanside who just needed a listening ear. We were all born with a purpose in our hearts. There is no way to ignore it when discovered. The image of those thankful smiles were mirrored in the ripples on the water. Insignificant is the pebble that creates a wave. Matthew 6:1 exemplifies the fine line we walk. Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven." The Lord walks us through the Valley to strengthen our talent for our ultimate purpose. With renewed vigor he steadies himself, regaining composure. He recollects a passage he once composed: "The humble man carries a light within that never diminishes. It is the source of his power. Able to endure the hardships of this world, he turns tears to smiles." He turns on his heel, away from the unlit path. His purpose has yet to be fulfilled with so many unnecessary tears shed around him. The morning sun brings a sudden peace to him. He then realizes he has never been truly alone. He glances once again at the sign on the water. Smiling, he sets out to share his joy. Step by step, pebble by pebble, they walk.

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