Lakeside Park of my town is enchanting and beautiful in the month of April. Snow started melting down from higher mountains too. New flowers and leaves on the trees start blooming again. Every evening I love to sit on the corner bench at the park, after my evening exercise, that I never get a chance to do in the morning owing to my job timings as well my late rising habit. Visit this park makes me refresh again for the evening.
That day was different in every term. I got a notice of being laid off because of budget cut in the company, my car crashed in the middle of the road, insurance expired, and above all, I have none to share my grief in my life. Mom- dad died two years back in a car crash, since then I am on my own, in other words, all alone in this world. Lost in thoughts, I entered the park and bumped into an old man of age 60+.
Instead of getting angry at me, he smiled and said: “Are you, alright son?”
I said in a feeble tone “Yes.”
Without giving much attention to his reaction on my answer, I sat at my usual spot. A few minutes later I heard a calm, composed and caring voice “If you don’t mind, may I join you?” I nodded.
After a brief pause, he started the conversation “If I may ask, loss of job bothering you the most or loneliness?”
I gave him a shocked look and said: “How do you know?”
“Ha ha ha, don’t worry I am not a psychic. Actually today you came 2 hours early then your usual time. When we both bumped into each other, my watch had left a scratch on your arm and you didn’t even bother to notice your injury.” I was flabbergasted at one end by his keen observation and felt very much cared by someone after a long time.
I said “Yes” and tears strolled down from my eyes.
After listening to my story, he smiled and asked: “Why every day you visit this park?”
“I found peace, I felt happy when I see the smile of kids, romance in couples and love in families. It’s just beautiful treat to eyes and soul.” I said without noticing the sudden excitement in my voice, for that moment I forgot my tensions and sorrows.
“See yourself! How happy you were when describing your experience of this park.” He exclaimed excitedly.
He continued “My son! You don’t need a reason to be happy, it’s our mindset that you need a reason to celebrate and be happy. Happiness is a state of being as mentioned by great scholars. Life is a reason to celebrate. Appreciate every passing moment of life as it’s giving you the precious experience of living the life as physical being. Have you ever thought of saying ‘Thank you’ to nature for providing its best resources for our survival? Have you ever said ‘Thank you’ to all your senses and body parts to make healthy, active and alive? Have you ever practiced ‘Attitude of Gratitude’ towards life and people? Have you ever thought that whatever is happening with us is for a reason, which will lead to our betterment?”
I was astonished by myself an answer to all the questions was negative. I had never thought about life with this perspective.
“Ok! Let’s play a game” he said excitedly but in a balanced tone.
I nodded and said “Ok. Tell me, what has to be done by me.”
He said with a grin on his lips “Take out your tablet, please. Now, write any 5 things you are grateful for, since morning.”
I was skeptical that I might not find any as this had been the most disastrous day of my life. Just to make him feel happier, I started writing. I rewinded my entire day, I woke up with a smile on my lips, I slept quite well last night. After that, I received a lovely message from a girl I wanted to date. At my breakfast joint, I won free breakfast. In the middle of writing, I recalled that one of my long lost friends owns a garage, maybe my car repair there at a low price.
“Wow, this game is turning out to be interesting,” I exclaimed with a joyful tone.
The old man smiled at me and said: “Alright my son, time for me to go, and don’t forget to write 5 things daily you are grateful for.” And he left.
My life changed since that day, I felt serenity and beauty in every moment of life. I stopped taking things for granted, I applied for new jobs and even rejections were solidifying my faith that something better is waiting for me, all I have to do is keep moving. I visited that park daily but never found him again. A month later, a middle age man came to me at my bench, introduced himself as Old man’s son.
He handed over an envelope to me and said “My father had mentioned that you will be found here. He wanted me to give you this letter.”
I opened it and found two letters together; one was the offer letter of the company I applied a week ago, and another one was a handwritten note “TO MY SON, WHO HAS JUST STARTED CELEBRATING THANKSGIVING MOMENTS IN HIS LIFE” today I will give you one more tip of living the life to the fullest, a quotation said by an Anonymous scholar “BE SO HAPPY IN EVERY MOMENT OF LIFE, THAT WHEN OTHERS LOOK AT YOU, THEIR LIFE BECOMES THE HAPPIEST AND BEST MOMENT TOO.”
Reading both letters, I thanked and requested his son “Where is he? I want to meet him, May I?” He nodded and asked me to accompany him.
Our car entered into a white mansion, surrounded by a beautiful garden full of rare and exotic flowers and plants, the variety of roses, lilies, and daisies. I never knew that the ambiance of the garden was more influencing or thought of meeting my life savior was more exciting.
He took me to the back of that beautiful garden, pointed his hand in one direction, and said: “There he is, you can meet him now.”
As he moved out, the smile on my lips vanished, With bated breath, I saw “IN THE LOVING MEMORY OF THEODORE V. (THEO) 1950-2013.” I looked towards the sky, wiped out my tears, and said “Much gratitude God for your valuable gift. I will cherish it all my life.”
– Nidhi GS (Gratitude)
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