Apologies if I've already posted this, it is probably my all-time favorite post among a lot of favorites by JWG, the Invisible Man of QSMB.
Posted 04 January 2013 - 11:01 PM
By the color of his salt and pepper hair I would have guessed him to be in his mid 50’s
I would not say he was overweight , but a few walks in the park would not be the worst way he could spend a little bit more of his time. The biggest impression he really made on me was how , unimpressionable he was . If ever there was a John Q. Citizen this would be him. Everything about this man was average, from his shoes on his feet to that look of bewilderment on his face.
Normally I keep to myself, Im not one to go around offering free advice. But I must say, he looked so lost- not that I had any answers. But perhaps I had the right questions or at the very least I had time to listen.
I placed the butt of my fishing pole on the walk and set the drag to loose. Then testing it with a tug , to make sure I would not loose my rig , if I were to get a bite. I walked down the bridge a few paces to where “john” sat on the rail. I was not even yet close enough to offer my hand and introduce my self , when that old familiar smell of stale smoke and tobacco hit me in the face like a brick.. “wow - this one is ripe” I thought to myself.
“ hows it going” I asked as I stepped in closer. “fine” he answered in a nonchalant way
That’s , good I said nodding my head in affirmation.. “ you ?” he asked. “I’d be better if they were biting”. “ I imagine so” he said as he jumped down from his perch
“ you from the other side ? “ he asked. “sure am” I boasted with some pride “been over here for past two years now” I love it I added , I could never imagine it being any different. “ yeah” he said in a smug tone “ I hear life is perfect over there , it never rains
And life is roses all the time” Hog wash on that I said. “ we all got ass crap days” no matter what side of the river you live on
Really ? he questioned ,, “sure” I said.
What about money he asked “ I hear tell everyone over there makes more money”
“ Oh my goodness , who have you been talking too ?”
“ no one in particular , A guy just hears things you-know”
“ Well I can assure you non of us make more money then we did before crossing over. Now we just have better opportunity’s to save some of it, or spend it on things we once wernt able to, things that make us truly happy”
“huh” he said looking over my shoulder off onto the other side; trying to get a peek as to what life might like be living on the other side
“your scared of crossing?” I asked.
He then turned his head back and looked down the river, then he looked left; back in the direction he came from, then he looked down to his feet and in a small voice “ yes” he sighed
Slowly he lifted his head and said “ Im scared if I cross and don’t make I will have to go back home a failure” “ Im scared if I make it I could loose some of my friends, or even loose myself, and who I am”
“Hmm , I see , these are great concerns” I said
I understand your dilemma. For a few miniutes we both stood there in silence looking down the river. He nervously kept his hands in motion as if he washing them in some imaginary sink.
After thinking a min or two I said to him
“ you know, if you don’t cross over to the other side your guaranteed to fail yourself “ but more importantly. I added “there is a secret to making it on the other side that the ones who never cross over can ever learn”
“really ?” he asked “what is the secret can you tell me?”
I smiled and put my hand onto his shoulder , looking him in the eye and said
“ No one that has ever truly wanted to make it on the other side has failed. Its only the ones who question there decision and wrestle with the though of going back “ that ever fail . You see I explained , “when you cross over you can not live on both sides of the river”
Then off in the distant we both heard a great noise, the sound of fireworks and celebration,
“whats that” he asked”
“oh that.” I said is Just some one that crossed over some time ago , having an anniversary party.
“wow” he said , “ that sounds nice, I think I would like that”
“yes… yes, you would” I assured him.
“ there is so much in this world , you have been deprived living back there in the darkness”
He smiled and said to me “ I think I’ll try”
I smiled back to him and said “ leave “try” here on the bridge , or throw it in the river.
The the path to freedom can not be walked with hope , each step has to be planted with confidence , leaving no room for doubt”