In the annals of the Way-Side folklore it is recorded that many had drifted into her abyss, but few….a very few have been known to return to the former life” As the proverb of the Way-Side folks goes, ‘there be many drift-ins, but few drift-outs…the path is full and the sides littered’.
1. The Beginning
1. The Beginning
I sat by the pass of the Wayside in sorrowful contemplation like one in a trance; the vista of my troubled past flashed through my clogged mind.
Journey men and women passed on by, some looked at me scornfully, haughtily. Most never even glanced, and I pondered if I really existed. The looks and non-looks only made the pains within worse and my misery unbearable.
Within me I really did wish one would stop and acknowledge me with a sympathetic greeting, or better still bid me rise; but nobody cared, they all came and went their way as I sat in limbo. But I fore-knew this would be it, or I thought I knew what would be on this side of pass.
After a while, unconsciously I stared intently at the journey-men to lock eyes with any of the faces that throng past. I searched intently for just a face or two to find some iota of sympathy or even the faintest of smile. As I stared, my eyes locked with some of the folks. I fathomed depths of mixed emotions in the eyes of the passers and loiters; despair, courage, fears, weaknesses, sorrow, and uncertainty. Some were in haste, others passed by languidly, still some more loitered, uncertain, out of themselves and unmindful of the great throng this side of the pass. Strangely my mood lightened, my interest peaked; it's like the faces transmitted some strange feelings of 'knowing', of an inner balm of calm, a certainty that nothing is lost, but much more to be gained on the Wayside.
As for the journey, most trudged on alone, some had companions, others in groups. Many had with them bags of burdens for a long journey; they went with bikes, trucks, bicycles and many more on foot. And of course there were the merrier ones, boisterous. The Wayside pass was a mixed bag of faces, destinies, and lives undecided and decided.
On the Wayside I deed I have companions, a mixed multitude. They were not exactly what you would term companions in the literally sense, probably neighbors or my Fellows would suffice, because we are all neighbored on this side of life; the Wayside.
By my side were itinerants; good, bad and the ugly, mockers, sprinkled with ordinary folks, cynics, saints, egoists, schizophrenics, jetsam, flotsam and all sorts.
The vision of my dream portrays the Wayside as a descent into limbo, more like the transit side of life, could be a stop-gap, temporary state of lapse, or better still a place of rest from the harsh rigors of reality.
It is like a place to recuperate, muster energy, be reinforced, learn and discover the other part, or the unknown side of our selves i.e. capacities, limits, weaknesses, darker natures, better sides and of life in a clearer perspective in order to metamorphose and reinvent into the larger life positively into someone better.
To many of my neighbors however the Wayside has become a permanent abode. For such the will and courage to move on has long dissipated so that the resolve to hang on and live their dreams is broken. What was meant to be a brief repose, a momentary lull form the vicissitude of life has become a permanent refuge.
As for me I knew I have to be strong in order to move on move, I have a destiny to fulfill, a prophetic destiny at that.
To maintain focus here is a most difficult task, given the desensitized and despondent atmosphere prevailing by this side of life. An elderly Fellow in the colony informed me that to find oneself be by the Wayside is to be out and off focus. He concluded that the only escape is to constantly focus on the journeymen that pass by the Wayside.
The vision of my dream portrays the Way-Side as a descent into limbo, more like the transit side of life, could be a stop-gap, temporary state of lapse, or better still a place of rest from the harsh rigors of reality.
It is like a place to recuperate, muster energy, be reinforced, learn and discover the other part, or the unknown side of our selves -our capacities, limits, weaknesses, our darker natures and better sides- and of life in a clearer perspective in order to metamorphose and reinvent into the larger life positively into someone better.
To many of my neighbors however the Way-Side has become a permanent abode. For such the will and courage to move on has long dissipated -the inner resolve to hang-on and live their dreams broke- what was meant to be a brief repose -momentary lull form the vicissitude of life- has become a permanent refuge.
2. A Mix Multitude
The reality is that the activities on the Way-Side are distractions that could easily lure one into Way-Side politics.
Many of the fellows here come by and start little chats, little chats that turns into bigger discussions, and once in its difficult extricating once self from going deeper.
Not to seem rude, unfriendly and aloof, I nod and wear a smile, chipping in now and then but wittingly shutting out the tirades of mundane tittle-tattle issues being flung at me.
In several respect the Way-Side is like a peculiar kind of colony; peopled by a mixed multitude.
One or two Fellows caught my interest; they shared my desperation to journey on. There was this particular Fellow, and we ultimately tagged together, believing there is help out there amongst the journeymen, and we took turns calling out to the folks passing by the Way-Side. Many did not as much as glanced our way, others merely mocked and heaped scorn at us; some responded with excuses that they were in great hurry.
I and Fellow kept this up for times and days without number until we lost sense of time and days.
Some living on the Way-Side even mocked, scorned and laughed at us, saying soon we would become tired, and give up as many before us have done.
Some residents of the Wayside called out to us to come over, and engage our selves in things according to them, more worthy than soliciting help from strangers who care nothing about us. They said it was a futile effort. I turned and looked at my Fellow, tears were brimming from his eyes as he stared drearily back at me seeking for assurance. I do not know what he saw in my eyes, but suddenly he burst into sobs, great sobs came out from him, frustration, despair and depression had set in, Fellow cracked. I felt tear drops streaming down my face, and I could barely contain myself as his sudden outburst drove me to breaking point. But seeing Fellow broke suddenly sent a jolt of strength beyond my measure -mingled with tenderness and sympathy at his plight- coursing through me.
The abrupt surges of currents of welled-up, unbridled emotions were as huge as the violent waves of a tumultuous sea at its crescendo. Instinctively I drew close and clutched Fellow thinking to comfort him, but in reality to still the rising waves within from drowning me. I held on tightly, willing the waves to subside.
Then it dawned on me that we both were like singing to an empty gallery. At this point I heard myself mumbling inaudible words of comfort; they were something like: “we got to be strong Fellow…all is not lost, we got to stick together…ride it out…and believe”.
I doubt if I really believed myself, because when the next storm shall come…God help…God help me if I fail to hold it together. While Fellow unconsciously held on from drowning, I held on consciously for a shield and standard against the Powers and Principalities of wayside.
We held and stood for what seemed an eternity, it finally subsided…the very first waves of despair and disillusionment.
Then came this other Fellow from the neighborhood, seen him a couple of times on the wayside always apart, never mixing, strange Fellow the ordinary type you’ll never even glance at, willowy, dark, tall with long hair locks and haunting eyes embedded in deep sockets that cast a mysterious aura about him.
There is this something strange about him, sort of like a hermit, you get a feeling that his type has no home, no friends, a drifter with probably no family to care about him. From his uncanny disposition it does seem he cares for that matter if any one cares about him.
I remembered he had come like others to me, but he had made no chats just stood aloof starring at me with intense misty eyes, and a far away look. I hastily concluded that he must be a loony, probably way out and off focus, like a living dead. I speculated within that he has probably been on the wayside all his life...lost to everything.
3. An Encounter Of No Kind
Anger rose instantly within me as I saw him come over to where I and Fellow stood. Some how he must have sensed my resentment, he stopped short some distance and sat on the ground yoga style.
I and Fellow by now have both overcome our initial failure and disappointment and we stood apart starring at him some few distance away. As I starred at him intently I could feel the notions of my shifting emotions dissipating from anger to fear, and fear to curiosity and interest at the person before me. I felt some one nudging me consistently until I was jerked back to the present by Fellow. I turned towards him and saw fear on his visage, he was pointing animatedly at something while murmuring incoherently in a sort of weird manner. It took me time to realize he was telling me something, and as I turned to behold what it was all about, suddenly directly before me was this mystic looking fellow.
The shock of his appearance close-up terribly unnerved me, and just as a scream was about coming out from my mouth, but was cut off as our eyes locked. The intensity of his gaze to say the list was so mesmerizing and I thought that there was something about the eyes. And as I held his eyes, I had the feeling that this loony Fellow was some how hypnotizing me, I felt like in a trance and my whole being was been sucked into the deep abyss of his fierce fiery eyes. I fought it, tried to pull my eyes from his gaze but in vain I couldn’t. And at just that moment the thought flashed through my mind that I had just some few minutes ago emerged from a battle of will, and here I am again engaged in another onslaught; the former from within, the latter from without.
Then I heard as if from a distance or within, couldn’t really tell, but a gentle soothing voice with the softest of whispers saying: «Why seek the honey from the bee…is the honey not found in the comb? Is the juice of the fruit found in the outer or the inner?....is it not written; ‘His visage is so marred than any man and His form more than the sons of men, as a root from a dry ground he hath no form or comeliness and when we shall see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire him’.
I do not think I can possibly in words describe appropriately the waves of emotion that surged through me as I held the gaze of him that was before me; it was like time stood still and only those eyes and the contents lodged behind the depths. The words he spoke were surreal echoes from a distant existence, reverberating endlessly, striking hitherto dormant cords, like a calming symphony, awakening, inspiring, and empowering the inner core of the whole being. I felt like a raging wave subsiding, calming, smoothening out as it touches the shores, washing away tears, sweeping away fears and sinking doubts until all that’s felt was a deep calm.
And I stood transfixed there, in the wake of the calm came another uprising from my depths; it came creeping in, slowing building within, suddenly my eyes became stingy. I felt like hot scales were peeling from my eyes, and a bright dazzling kaleidoscope of colors of lights beamed on me.
There, and then it deed dawned on me that He whom I had called ‘Fellow, loony, hermit, drifter with the haunting eyes, was and, is Jesus the Christ, Savior, Redeemer, and Only begotten Son of God. Then the uprising took control and I burst out into tears, uncontrollable sobs racked me, I really cried before I finally fell before Him in supplication, asking for pardon, and help at the same time. Still prostrate on the ground I raised up my face to meet His eyes, and see what lurks behind those piercing fiery like eyes; but alas my Lord is gone like an apparition, He that appeared, and revealed Himself to me on the highways of the Wayside has suddenly disappeared into thin air. One moment He was there, and the next Has was gone, just like that! It all seems so unbelievable and frightening, and unbelievable.
I became dumbstruck, and strangely empty; I had nothing to say as to what just transpired, and I wondered how long it would take to sort out, and make meaning of all these fearful occurrences. I suddenly felt weak and exhausted, unable to stand on my feet. I sat down and stared at where He had stood some minutes ago.
-To be continued...
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