A man was making his way toward a city he’d been anticipating for what seemed like for a lifetime. And along this path a windstorm came out of nowhere. The path was smooth but narrow and there was nothing he could have done to prepare for this kind of wind. To the left was a cliff dropping off into a valley. To the right was a terrace, but one full of an incredible amount of thorns.
The wind blew him toward the right into a thicket of thorns.
The pain was incredible. But the circumstances leading to the thorns was what he was preoccupied by. He’d been walking briskly and carefully, “How could this be?” The more he thought about it the more he failed to recognize a number of things. He had missed that the sharp cuts and blood dripping from his arms and legs was beginning to dry up. But he had also misinterpreted that every movement tied him deeper into the thicket. By now he was breathing hard and his brow was drenched. And most importantly in his predicament he failed to realize that a gentleman was tied up in the thicket only a few feet away.
“Got yourself in a bind my friend,” said the gentleman.
“Yea…this is the worst,” said the man. He tried to put on the facade that he was alright. But the journey had worn him and he’d be walking alone for some time. He noticed the tattered clothing of the gentleman and the number of old scars and immediately began to get discouraged that this may be the end of the journey for him.
“Well so do I. But we’ll get out of here. I know the way,” said the gentleman in an assuring tone. It reminded the man of some people long ago who had assured him by similar means. “I’m sure I have a solution but we’ll have to work together.”
“I’ll take your word for it.” said the man. He thought he might as well because he did not have a better option.
The gentleman began to inch his way closer to the man through the vines, but as he did the gentleman began to tell him a story about how he was walking along the path and the wind blew beyond his control he rolled into the thicket just like he had. The gentleman explained about how he got tangled in the thorns and how they would cut him when he tried to free himself. He explained how frustrated he was, but he relented and began to think about how much worse the left side of the path would have been.
By then the gentleman had made his way to the man and with fresh cuts all over. The gentleman told him to step where he stepped. And to duck where he ducked and wait when he told him to wait. When the gentleman pushed up on the thorns he told the man to duck and step and he did. When he told him to kneel he knelt. When he told him to wait he waited. The man was so focused on the instructions he had not noticed that with each move the gentleman was pushing thorns up with his forearms, sweeping thorns to the side with his body, and standing on thorns with his worn feet. Until they made it all the way back to the path.
When they got there Marc begin to notice pieces of thorns hanging out of the man’s body and his breathing was chaotic.
The man looked at the path and thought about where he was headed. He saw what looked like a short hill and then only a few more steps to the city. He had thought about how close he was and how he had thought it was over if not for someone else helping him. And then he thought the last leg he will not have to walk alone.
“Let me help you. You know we’re not far from the city.” said the man.
“Oh no my friend. I’m going to need to stay for a little longer. You keep moving.” said the gentleman. Smiling directly into his eyes as if to say ‘it is ok.’
“Will I see you again?” he asked the gentleman.
“Oh I’m sure you and I will cross paths again.”
“I’d like to tell you than…”
“No need to. I know you would have done the same thing for me. Now run on you’d better make the top of the hill before the sun gets too low below the horizon. Godpsied.” said the gentleman.
The man began to make his way up the hill and thought deeply about what all had happened. By now all the cuts were closed and the stinging had subsided. Or he noticed it less because the relief of being out of the thorns. He had thought about how the journey might have been walking with the man. And what a joy would had been to walk with someone. Deep in thought halfway up the hill is when it came to him that he hadn’t even asked the man’s name.
“Hey what is your name?” He said as he turned back to ask the man.
“The name is Marc.” he said smiling.
He could hear the smile in Marc’s words. As he made his way up to the top of the mountain he thought to himself that Marc should be making his way up the hill by now. He sat down at the of the hill to catch his breath and watch the sun and the city within full view now. He looked back down the hill and instead of seeing Marc making his way up the hill, he saw something eerily humbling. He saw Marc move slowly off the path inching around branches, slowly making his way…back into the thicket. Each cut slicing at the threads of his clothes more and opening old wounds again until he found the perfect place to sit down…and wait.
A gentle breeze began to cool the evening at about the same time another person made their way into the path with the cliff and the thorns. From the bottom of the cliff an incredible wind blew the person off the path deep into the thorns. The man and Marc both watched as the new person in the thicket went through frustration, desperation and then despair and then finally settle down.
“Got yourself in a bind my friend.” said Marc.