The Winter Path

I

Winter has come to Melbourne with full force. The days are short, the nights are dark, the hours humid. I’m not sure how the wind blows anywhere else, but here the wind is sharp and it cuts like the sharpest of razor blades. It enters your skin and caresses your bones with a chilling effect. 

I have always loved winter and don’t think for a second that my love for it is a thing of the past. It may sound like I am complaining about it, but in truth, I am not; I am simply describing what the last few days have been like in our part of the world, close to the sea. 

I have always been one to fall sick easily. My life is littered with colds, flus, bronchitis, and asthma. Some of my earliest memories are a poor little kid, hardly alive, pale like snow, frail as withered flower, in a sterile hospital room trying to breathe through a mask. My concerned parents always stood by me, feeling defeated with a sense of futile deja vu. The doctors and nurses busied themselves around, trying to make sure that they had covered all bases, left no stone upturned. 

II

As I returned home from school I tried to walk fast in order to warm up. I pulled my iPhone out, plugged the earphones in, and pressed play. The music of Within Temptation filled my ears and I immediately felt better. Some students still haunted my mind, some issues I must resolve in preparation for the reports that I have to complete next week, but Sharon’s voice instantly soothed me and pushed those concerns back to dark corner. 

Since I had the phone in my hands, as I continued to walk, I decided to quickly check Facebook. A person I’ve never met wanted to be my friend. I declined. Then I realised I had three messages. One of them was from him and I opened it immediately.

Perhaps I should have heeded his warning, close the thread and read the message upon arrival at home about ten minutes later; but I didn’t. It was a message from a friend and his warning only made me more curious to read it immediately. 

As I continued to walk and listen to Sharon I started to read his words. 

I was soon overcome by emotion and tears surfaced. They were not happy tears. They were not sad tears. They were tears of unashamed emotion. 

The humanity, the wisdom, the sincerity and raw nature of his words touched me. 

III

I know it has been tough for him. He is fighting a long drawn battle and I admire his courage and perseverance. Heroes (understood as someone who embodies the better qualities of humankind) rise to the occasion no matter how steep the path, no matter what obstacles fate throws at them. Heroes, though, don't stop there, they go further; they help others. 

When we take the reins, when we do good, we start a new path. We are no longer following the path that we were on, we are creating a new one; turning negatives into positives. Teaching ourselves to start anew, reinventing ourselves; true to our roots, to ourselves, but with a new identity. We grow stronger and wiser; growing in mind, body and spirit.

When things go astray, that's the moment when we make a mark, the time when we can make a difference. As we grow we tend to dismiss some paths, shy away from others, and close down some we don’t understand or frighten us. When we hit the wall, we must look back and reassess them. With new confidence we can reestablish links and regenerate some we thought we did not need.

Everything changes and evolves constantly and so must we. Life is a constant path to learning, to improving ourselves and our community. 

Life is a set of uncertainties that we will never fully understand or solve, but that we must always tackle; with ever renewed wisdom, courage, and will. 

We often don't see it that way. It is impossible to see ourselves. There is no perspective, and our own ego confounds us. 

As I arrived home, the tears were still moist in my face. The salt burned my skin more than the cold wind, but I did not care; these were good tears. I know there will still be obstacles for him. I know there will be steps back, but I know that he will overcome them because he has now taken the reins. He is making his own path.

Epilogue

We make our path every single day, with every step, with every breath. The path is ours and ours alone. We must make it our own. We must make it an interesting, entertaining, gratifying experience; but above all make it a challenging one and embrace the challenges it throws onto us in the battle towards betterment. 

Rise and soar, I say, to the heights you always dreamed of. As the mother of an American writer said “Jump for the sun, you may not reach it but at least your feet will be off the ground.”

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