One Friday afternoon, a thirteen-year-old boy named Bobo strikes up a conversation with a man in a field near his residence.
“Why are you always laboring tirelessly here, sir?” asks Bobo in a nervous voice.
The man smiles, ponders the question for a moment, then replies: “I’m doing what I was called to do.”
With a bewildered look, Bobo says: “digging holes?”
Unwilling to overwhelm Bobo with excessive details, the man responds hesitantly, “yes.”
Considering the level of energy it must require to handle this man’s unfathomable workload, Bobo says, “Do you ever get tired?”
“I do, but my drive to create a better future attenuates my exhaustion.” Answers the man while pulling out a handkerchief from his pocket to wipe thick sweat and dust from his forehead.
The old man, feeling the confusion washing over Bobo, asks: “How old are you?”
“Thirteen,” says Bobo.
“Let me tell you a story,” says the man as he leads Bobo to a shaded area under a magnolia tree in the middle of the field.
“My existence, since birth, has been a succession of struggles. Shortly after I was born, my dad left the house, leaving my mom struggling to make ends meet. Before long, we were evicted from our home for failing to pay the rent. Having burned through all her savings, my single mother took several low-paying jobs and often relied on the kindness of friends and colleagues to provide us with basic life necessities. For many years, we moved from one friend’s living room to another. The earliest we could sleep was when everyone had finished watching their late-night shows. My mother thought of giving up multiple times, but my presence gave her hope. Her dedication, courage, and belief in me have inspired me to labor for a better future.”
“How can you be so sure your hard work will lead to a better tomorrow?” asks Bobo.
“What comes after day?” asks the man.
“Night,” Bobo replies.
“What follows summer?” the man inquires.
“Winter,” says Bobo as he nervously tightens his grip on his backpack shoulder straps.
“Do you think there can be a rainbow without the rain?” the man asks, contemplating the sunny blue sky.
Bobo thinks for a while, then shakes his head, “no.” After a long period of uncomfortable silence, Bobo asks, “What are you getting at?”
With a smile and a feeling of admiration for Bobo’s inexhaustible sense of curiosity. The man adds:
“I believe lights would be meaningless without the darkness. And to reap success, we must first sow its seeds. The universe is governed by natural laws that are infallible, immutable, and unbreakable. They hold the planets together, make the plants grow, and cause the sun to shine. They’ve maintained orders for millions of years and will continue for millennia to come. We may not see them, but we experience their effects every time we let fresh air into our lungs or experience the beating of our hearts.”
That analogy was the perfect tool to kill Bobo’s doubts and satisfy his curiosity. However, he’s not done. When the man thought Bobo was going to thank him and leave, he shoots back:
“What is the job you are doing called?”
“Gold digging,” replies the man while leaning toward his shovel.
“You are a gold digger?” asks Bobo in disbelief that he heard the man right.
“Yes,” answers the man. “Everyone possesses a gold mine. We’re all called to be gold diggers.”
“Do you mean I’m a gold digger too?” Bobo asks.
“Yes, son,” replies the man. “Your mind is your gold mine; if you dig, you’ll certainly retrieve golds. The amount of gold and time may differ, the timeframe may vary, but with hope, dedication, and perseverance, your mind will inevitably reward you with the golds that are rightfully yours.”
“I’m sure going to ask mummy about that,” answers Bobo while looking far ahead in the distance.
“One last question,” says Bobo, “What do you plan to do with those barriers?”
The man replies; “oh, those barriers?” “I don’t know what I’m going to do with them yet; I will either go over, under, around, through or smash them… but one thing I’m sure of, I’m never going back.”
Bobo realizes he’s running late. He gives the man a hug, then runs home.