Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: JOY (12/07/17)
- TITLE: The Quest
By Yvonne Blake
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His father loved Paco and suggested, “Perhaps if you go to the old wise man who lives in the cave on the top of Majestic Mountain, he will tell you what you seek.
So Paco bade his father goodbye, and set off to find the source of happiness in life. He hiked through the Foggy Forest, across the Dusty Desert, through the Roaring River, and up the Majestic Mountain. Bending low against a swirling snowstorm, Paco finally found shelter in the rock. The warmth and light of a fire drew him into the depth of the cavern. An old man hunkered before a bubbling pot of food.
When Paco stepped into the circle of light, the man dipped a bowl into the soup and handed it to him. Neither one spoke until Paco finished his meal and the old man added more wood to the fire.
“What is it you seek, young man?”
“I would like to learn the source of happiness in life.”
“Ah, that is a great thing.” He tugged at his long beard. “What you really seek is joy, but be careful. It is not the same as happiness, and it is not always as it appears. Sometimes it wears different names, but they are all the same thing.”
Paco frowned. “So how will I know when I find it?”
The old man stirred the coals. “Joy is precious, but costs nothing. It is always given to others, not clutched to self. It may appear for only a moment, but endures forever.”
“Thank you, Sir.”
As Paco hiked down Majestic Mountain, he met another hiker. As they walked together Paco asked him, “What is joy to you?”
“Joy? That’s easy. It’s the satisfaction found in conquering great difficulties.” He puffed out his chest. “I’ve climbed the six highest mountains in the world.”
Paco wasn’t so sure. That joy seemed to be full of self.
As he ferried across the Roaring River, he noticed the ferryman carry a woman’s baggage and chat with her children. Although no one laughed or even smiled, all seemed to enjoy their time together. Perhaps this was joy wearing the names of gentleness and kindness.
As Paco trudged through the Dusty Desert, he collapsed in the burning heat. As night approached, so did a man. He couldn’t speak a word of Paco’s language, but he gave him water and carried him to the nearest village. Paco recognized joy dressed up as love.
The next night, he got lost in the Foggy Forest and bandits attacked him, stole his pack, and chortled with delight as they left him to die in the darkness. It didn’t take him long to discard their laughter as a source of joy.
As Paco travelled around the world he asked those he met, “What is joy to you?” Some answers seemed to fit the wise man’s descriptions; others took on the faces of greed, laziness, or pride.
A professor tapped his head. “It’s knowing things – science, mathematics, sociology, economics, and such. That’s what gives me joy.”
A man with a suit coat and tie paused in his rush down a city street. “Joy is having enough in the bank so I can finally retire in ease.”
Paco asked a granny who was sweeping her front steps. She smiled a wrinkled grin and kissed him on his cheek. “Do what’s right, Sonny. Do it without complaining.”
A little girl giggled. “Joy?” She twirled around. “Joy means not worrying about anything.”
A homeless man shared his park bench with Paco. “See all those stars up there? It’s knowing that the One who made those stars is also the One who has forgiven my yesterdays and will take care of my tomorrows.”
Paco nodded. Joy was peace, contentment, gentleness, faith, and love. They were all the same thing.
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