I sat down with him and noticed his feet. They were torn and bruised, calloused and beat. His clothes were rags, were ripped and tattered, but his eyes they shone as if none of that mattered. He glowed with pride, his scars stories to tell, and when I asked where he'd been, with the slightest of grin, he looked at me and smiled.
"To both heaven and hell."
I drew back.
"I walked." Said he. "Through brush and through briar. I withstood the trials, the fights, and the fire. I made a friend but for each an enemy, and spent long hours considering the chemistry between he and I. For this man to prosper, that one must suffer and so on and so forth life couldn't be tougher for the next. I watched women weep for lost children and children look for mother. I cried myself to sleep when reminded that tomorrow there would be another and another.
"And I went for bike rides along the way, took a stroll here and there, and often I stopped to watch the setting sun, and was forced to reflect on the toll the world would take and remind myself my work was not yet done.
"I dug in the dirt to plant trees that the children of tomorrow might enjoy the shade. I fed all I could until I'd run dry yet refused to turn them away. I promised the meals would never end and the wealth would never cease if they but help their fellow man to stand, to walk, to ensure the peace would not decrease but be found in spades. But most had no interest in learning to fish, to provide for more than their fleeting desire of being granted a wish as if time were that of a shooting star.
"I made no list of commands, closed no doors, but asked that they love one another and learn to be loved in return. But somehow along the way they took my words and turned them to swords to murder and pierce all to justify their fierce need for conflict. And though I begged them to lay down arms, rather using their arms to embrace, still they would cut the ears from their captors and mistake violence for grace.
"I only wanted to support, to help, to motivate, but most would rather wallow in their sorrow than stand to debate the fact that there is more to live for than the pain and the hate. I promised that the world is good and people are kind, that if you're really willing and looking will find the sun also rises.
"Maybe it's too soon, maybe it's too late, but how will we ever know if we're not willing to risk it all to discover our greatness. I saw men holding hands and singing songs, support and community and throngs of those whose skin were all the colors of the rainbow. I saw the poor fight back, the powers that be fall, and together we rebuilt God to stand for all but fear.
"What I found was that there are no ends, only beginnings. Men are born in the ways of good and not of sinning. All that is original is naiveté and what a beautiful thing it is, for children who know no ways of man know all of God.
"And in the end, when my time had come to return home I packed my things and took my bow and looked at how far I'd come. And though my path was soaked with tears and my feet were red of wound, I knew that leaving here meant leaving behind at least my tune, my march to a beat I'd created of the most different drum. I knew at least one was left, maybe two or three, and tomorrow would be five would be ten and all would soon be free.
"I wrote no book. I carried no tablet. I merely walked and talked and hugged and loved and knew that at the end of time that was enough."
I took my breath and shook his hand. "Any last words or plans?"
"If tomorrow I lived and told my friends to be positive, happy, and to fight; if I promised things would be better and brighter and there'd be an end to the night they would smile and nod and soon disregard since they would have me for that tomorrow and tomorrow.
"But why tomorrow? Today must be light or it will be dark. Today you must listen for now I say 'Hark!' There is no tomorrow."