Along the way I met with many characters who influenced my life journey, all had a story to tell, all had a past to protect, hide or share. I remember children full of hope, full of the joy of tomorrow, living for today. Their voices rich with the sounds of youthful discovery. I remember their eyes, their wide open searching eyes asking questions of the world around them. The what, the why, the how? They encouraged me, filled me with the hope for tomorrow, a future full of answerable questions.
The youth disengaged from the present due to others pasts. He sat, huddled and shell like on that low wall not wishing to see tomorrow but desperately seeking to forget his yesterdays.
He looked up!
He recognised a glimmer of hope, a life raft in his sea of troubles.
He tried to reach out!
He tried to ask!
He tried to hope that somewhere, somewhere out there an island of peace would lift his troubled head and show him a glorious sunrise.
I held out a hand!
No words were spoken!
No words were necessary, not a one.
Together we walked into his future, a brighter future full of hope and forgiveness, gradually seeing off the demons of the his past.
He touched my life, he opened my eyes to the hidden suffering of others. Within his short life a world of difference and a path of such complexity, yet he still travelled on, still clung on to the hope of a better future. His was a path of twists and turns, highs and lows, dark days puntuated by the odd flicker of a candle in the night and the promise of a glorious sunrise.
Then there was the father I loved so dearly, the father whose love and gentleness set me on the road to adulthood. His journey through the leafy lanes and rolling hills of an English countryside took him from farmer's son to father of a devoted family. His journey was of sacrifice, early mornings dark in the days of war and winter, storm filled nights, hazy sunrise through the mists of time. We saw little of him in those early days we still so very young, so untouched by the outside world.
Those summer days saw shared pathways cut through the unmown hay, lingering long through the early morning mists.
We walked, he and I, along soft sanded beach freshly tideswept as the sun rose beyond the purple moors.
He and I, we talked, we talked of the day, we talked of the past and we talked of our hopes for the future, our future, but I knew that soon I would have to journey on alone.
One day it would come. One day my path would be only with the shadow of yesterday. But today our path was together.
I travelled down that long, lonely motorway not knowing what to expect, not knowing what I would find?
Was this to be the time when I would journey on alone?
He lay in the hospital bed, frail and afraid. Was this to be the end of his journey and the start of his pathway to a better life?
No! This was just a reminder for all of us as to the fraility of human existence, a wake-up call that nothing lasts for ever and that we all have a pathway leading to everlasting life and a glorious sunrise!
Many years later his time came and I walked with others slowly, confidently behind him between carefully manicured hedges of soft green. I stood beside him, sang his favourite song to help him along his pathway to a better life, a life everlasting safe in His arms.
I walk alone down my personal pathway in the sure knowledge of reaching that guiding light at the end of the tunnel of life and my glorious sunrise.