I was wandering an well trodden path when I met an old man at a bench.
He asked me “what is your purpose?”
Taken aback, I told him to bugger off and mind his own business.
I then continued down the path. Reached a waterfall and spent the afternoon enjoying natures splendour. On the walk back the old man just smiled, and waved ne by.
I went home, went to sleep, went to my job, met a woman, became a husband,travelled overseas and was successful in my career.
and yet, I would think of the old man.
Why did he wait at that path asking people about their purpose?
I went back, this was many years later. I had expected the old man to no longer be there, and was prepared to just walk by and enjoy the outdoors.
The man was there, visably older and smiling with fewer teeth then before. He asked me
“What is your purpose?”
Thinking, I said “to be happy and successful”
Laughing, the old man said “that is just a symptom! Come back when you know!”
Confused again, I went straight home. Told my wife I loved her and went to sleep.
My encounter with the man drove me to seek more wisdom. I visited nepal and spoke with monks. I climbed mountains, painted sunsets and enriched my every sense.
My wife and I had three beautiful children, and in their faces I could see the world. I knew what my purpose was.
I went back to the path, prideful and victorious knowing what to say to the old man.
When I reached the bench, there was no man. Next to the bench was a wreath of flowers and a small wooden cross, and I sat, grieved and looked to the sky.
As I sat young man came walking by, and I thought “why not”
I asked him “what was his purpose?”
The young man said “bugger off geezer”
With a smile, I waved him on and waited.