“The Path”: A Story of Betrayal, Loyalty, Determination, and Love
By Tim Carthon (Blog #11: Relationships)
You are walking from Maine to California, and, when you get to California, someone will be there to give you $10M the moment you cross the state line.
Your significant other likes how that sounds and says they’re rolling with you to the end, ride or die, so you all start out on “The Path.”
While traveling The Path, many trials and tribulations occur. They are very, very difficult and you meet them with a smile. However, your significant other meets them with slight disdain for even being in the situation.
The longer you all are on the path, the more your significant other complains.
The path is getting shorter and shorter, yet, it simultaneously seems to be endless to your significant other. For they are focusing on the length of the journey and not the certitude of the bountiful ending.
After increasingly and more vitriolically complaining for most of the way, you all come to a point where you are only 100 miles from California.
Suddenly, you hear your significant other scream:
“SCREW THIS! I’M NOT ROLLING WITH YOU ANYMORE! THIS IS TOO MUCH! WE’RE ALMOST OUT OF WATER, WE’RE ALMOST OUT OF FOOD, YOU SMELL, I SMELL, I’M JUST TIRED OF THIS!!”
“Baby, we’re getting closer to being there. Just hang in there with me.”
“I’M TIRED OF THIS! YOU SAID WE WERE GETTING CLOSER REPEATEDLY OVER THIS PAST SEVERAL HUNDRED MILES!!!!“
“And we HAVE gotten closer. It’s just a few more miles. Just hang in there with me.”
“NO!! I’M OUT!!“
Your significant other leaves, breaking their word. However, you are determined to keep your word and make it to California. So, you continue on.
You are tired and weary. You have barely enough water to make it there, but you virtually out of food.
You reach the 50 mile marker and happen upon a person on the side of the road. They look absolutely dehydrated.
You pull them into the rare piece of shade you’ve had along the way and wake them up.
With them barely conscious, you give them half of the minimal scraps of remaining food you have. You also give them a significant amount of your water.
You wait there with them long enough for them to gain enough strength to tell you what happened to them.
They tell you about how they helped several individuals over time to find their path, and gave them lots of food and water, but the people they helped ended up stealing from them. It happened three times because they gave those people a clean slate when they met them, which they felt was only fair, and those people took advantage of them and left them with nothing and rolled out.
You, being a selfless person, are the same way when it came to clean slates. So, you take time out of your trip and help them to get better. You ration your food in a ‘diet’ manner in order to stretch it for both you and your new ‘friend.’ You do the same with your water.
Over the days, your generosity and kindness help build a beautiful bond between you and them.
Once they are well enough to travel, you invite them to travel with you to California. Being the selfless person they are, they say:
“You have been so kind to me. I cannot be a burden to you for 50 miles.”
“A burden? You have been nothing but a blessing to me.”
Confused, they ask you how they, having eaten much of the little bit of food you had left and drank the same, have been a blessing. You tell them:
My life is about generosity, and someone selfishly left me while traveling to California, where I planned on helping a lot of people. So, for someone like me to meet someone who has such a generous heart as you, even in the worst of times it is the best of blessings.
The friend smiles brightly, for kindness and generosity are powerful things.
“You sure I won’t be a burden coming with you?“
“You would be a burden on my mind if you didn’t come with me.”
“But we are going to run out of food and water before we get there.”
“Doesn’t matter. As long as I’m with you, my heart and mind will be fully fed. That matters more to me than anything.”
They both look into each other’s eyes, smile, take deep breaths, then contently exhale. You let them know that you’re rolling with them to the end, ride or die, and will not leave their side.
“Ditto,” they say in return.
“Then on the way we go,” you say smilingly.
So, you and your friend begin your journey.
While traveling the path, several trials and tribulations occur. The most difficult being the lack of nourishment. But, whenever either of you felt tired and weary, the other would find a way to distract you and perk you back up…giving you a mental shot of energy.
Before you know it, you look up and see a sign that says: “Welcome to California, the Golden State!“
You cross the state line, bleeding, bruised, and pale…but together.
“I thought you’d never make it,” you hear a voice say. You look around to find a man standing there with legal documents in hand and both a notary public and lawyer standing with him.
“Who is this?” your friend asks.
You turn and hug them. Tears of joy run down your face. Your friend knows not why your eyes are running, but you feel them holding you tighter…a selfless gesture, as you have come to find rather normal for them.
As you hug them, you begin to reflect on your path…those who left you…those who bred negativity…those who were selfish…and those who brought sunshine to a bleak path.
You pull back from them slightly. They look into your eyes and ask you again:
“Who are these people and what do they have in their hands?“
You look back at the man holding the documents, then turn back to your friend. Your friend’s face has never looked so amazing. You take the back of your hand and stroke their cheek every so slightly and respond:
REMEMBER: Selfishness and disloyalty leaving you should be something that helps you get to your destination, not hinder you. For, when it departs from you, it will have wasted all of its time and effort and stops the individual who bore it from enjoying the perks once you get there, simply because they never reached the destination.
So, if you’re going to start out toward paradise, at least reach your destination. If not, then for what was your entire trip?
Tim Carthon; Advocate, Speaker, Author, Educator