For the waxing and waning of many moons, the Old Man and the Child walked along their path. All around them the sands of time shifted and sorted and brought with them many encounters with others. Often times, these brought knowledge and growth; other times they brought pain and for a while, the Child would suffer.
After a while, the Child noticed they were being followed. Each time he turned to look behind him, he noticed a much younger child walking in their footsteps. Sometimes the child danced. Other times he seemed to struggle over the rocks. Always he was there. The Child began to wonder as to who he was.
“Old Man,” he questioned, “Who is he?”
The Old Man turned to look behind them. For a long time, he watched the younger child stepping in and out of the mooncast shadows.
“Well Child,” he answered, “Do you not recognise him?”
“No, I do not.” The Child replied. “Should I know him?”
“Look again.” The Old Man commanded.
The Child looked once again. He looked deep into the young face and began to read the story hidden behind the eyes. Something familiar tugged impatiently at the edge of his reason but he could not make it concrete.
“Have I met him before?” he asked.
The Old Man smiled. “It is you.” He answered.
“Me?” The Child questioned. “How can that be?”
“My Child, many times ago you were hurt. It was not an ordinary hurt; it went deep into your soul and stopped you growing. This boy is your Self. He cannot leave you; he has always been with you. He is the part of you that is damaged.”
“Why is it then,” the Child answered, “That I have only just realised he is there?”
“Because now it is time for you to heal.” The Old Man replied.
The child sat on the roadside and held his head in confusion. A short way behind, the younger child continued to watch them carefully.
“I don’t know how to heal.” The Child whispered.
“Yes you do,” The Old Man replied, “You need to forgive.”
The Child shook his head and laughed bitterly.
“It is not easy.”He said
“No,” The Old Man said, “It is not. But you must find a way. In order for you to walk your path until its end, you must be whole. In order for you to fully know and understand your purpose, the reason for your being, you must know and understand your selves.”
“But how do I forgive?” The Child asked.
“How to explain forgiveness,” The Old Man mused, “I will try. First, Child, you must see only love. When you see another through loving eyes, it is like a light shines where before there has only been darkness. All pain will fall away. It is a difficult task; you will try and fail many times before you succeed. Remember we are all loved by God. No one is asking you to forget what has happened; it will become part of you and guide you later on your path. Rather, you must separate the person from what they have done. Then, my Child, your peace will come.”
For a long time the Child thought upon the Old Man’s words. For a while, as they continued once more upon their journey, the younger child followed. Then the day came when there were only two sets of footprints left in the sands of the path, instead of three.