The Old Man and the Life After Death
An old man and his grandson were traveling through the desert. They’ve been walking for days, visited sacred places, shared stories with strangers around the fire, followed the voice of the wind, the whispers of nature and the trails of stars at night. As the sun sank one more time behind the sand dunes, they stopped before the gates of an ancient town. They stood silent for a while to admire the beauty of the place. Bright torches lighted the old streets and the joyful laughter of locals in the central square floated above the town’s walls.
“My boy” spoke the old man gently while handing him a few coins, “Go in this town tonight, eat well and sleep at the inn. Get some rest and tomorrow morning before the break of dawn, come and bury my body. This is my last night on Earth, and I want to be here under the stars. I want to be alone tonight and pray.”
The young man turned pale, and mumbled a few words:
“How do you know…? Are you not afraid to leave this world? I am very afraid of death.”
The old man smiled and spoke gently:
“Sit down here for a moment and look around. You see how beautiful it is? Imagine now you could speak to a soon-to-be-born child. If you were to tell this unborn baby to come out in this world and be born because he has a wonderful family that will care for him and love him unconditionally even beyond the realms of this world, that he will have friends to play with and the animals as his dear companions, that he will fall in love with beautiful strangers and travel across the oceans, that he will be surrounded by the magical beauty of these lands and will be in awe under the starry sky at night…Do you think this baby who is still in his mother’s womb will believe you? He will be afraid to be born.
I was once born, and I loved my life and this world. I learned not be afraid of the unknown. Why would I be afraid to leave this world, and be born into a new one? You are still young, but there will be many times in your life when you will have to die to the old, face the great unknown, and be reborn into a new you.
You will be afraid, but fear has no power in eternity, only in the moment. You will have dreams you will want to follow, but you will doubt yourself. Love will call you to distant lands, and you will want to answer Her voice. The voice of Love is the voice of God, why wouldn’t you listen? And with every dream and with every love, you will have to die to the old, and be reborn to the new, to leave the known behind, die to the familiar, and surrender to the mystery. For thousands of years humanity has been trying to answer the question: “Do we have life after death?” Maybe for the first time you must now answer the question: “Do I really have a life before death?”
(from my book Sleepers: 10 Bedtime Stories for Grownups, a little book on how to find meaning & the courage to fall in love with your dreams)
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