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One Wish

by Thomas Durbin 2 years ago in success
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The Genie

I was walking along the Middle Fork of the Vermilion River one sunny afternoon and happened to see an old oil lamp half buried in a sand bar.  I dug around the lamp and washed most of the river mud and sand off of it in the river.  I mused about the possibilities of who had owned the lamp, whether or not it had lit the way for one of my ancestors who had lived in the area, where it had been, and how long it had been lost.  It was tarnished and the river had partially sand-blasted it, but it was still a nice relic.  I used the sleeve of my shirt to try to remove more of the sand and mud and shine it.  The lamp shook and smoked in my hands and the strangest being I'd ever seen appeared before me.  The old cuss looked like a cross between a coal miner and a rancher;  a mix of the ancestors of us local folk.  He wheezed a bit, said "Howdy", tipped his tattered hat, and smiled.  He said many people had held that lamp along the river over the years, but only a certain person could release him from the lamp.  I asked him what that meant, but he only said, "Though many are capable, truly great things are done by few, stay the course, you will be needed."  He turned his eyes to follow a hawk searching the nearby lea for prey and then stooped and drank slowly from the river, as I had done many times.  He cleared his throat and spoke again, "Try to think of all the things you want, what you truly feel in your heart and soul, tell me about them, but be brief, for I have not much time to spare here.  I shall be free after granting you one wish, but it must be the right one.  So, tell me what brings you here."

I thought only for a moment, because I knew why I travelled along the river, across the meadows, through the woods.  The real reasons, not the pretenses.  Sure, I sometimes carry a bow or a shotgun and a hunting permit, sometimes a sack for mushrooms, sometimes a camera, but those are just excuses to be out there alone.  He knew that and I knew it.  He wanted the real answers and I needed to share them.  So, I began speaking, "I come here to soothe the spirit, ease a heavy heart and a troubled mind, find harmony that cannot be found amid the horrors of humanity, if only for a while."  He nodded, but I sensed he was waiting for more and it wasn't enough that he already knew.  I had to tell him myself.  "Many days the world makes me feel weary, insecure, inadequate, and uncertain." 

"How can I rest when I wasn't allowed to hug my children before bed tonight?  In some ways, I am sure I have failed them, " I said softly.

"How can I rest when I have yet to wield my pen mightily enough to effect the changes desperately needed in a government that I have allowed to do unspeakable harm to my children, to myself, and to many others?  I know it is not a task I should expect to accomplish alone, but what army can I muster?  It is time for the worthy souls, my brothers and sisters, to arise and walk beside me.

"How can I rest when the travails of the social world, the human condition, the evolving society, anxiety, confusion, the variances in morals and values, the differences in perspective, are mystifying and confounding?  How does a crushed heart or a shattered soul mend?  Can one really expect consistency, monogamy, honesty, dependability?  Can I even trust myself?  Am I the certain individual you said I am or am I just playing a part?  Am I too numb to feel again?  Am I just too self-protective to believe in people again and too self-critical to believe I am enough?  Actions speak louder than words, so what of my ears?  Can I trust my eyes or do they deceive me?

"How can I rest at night when others are fed from my labors before my children and I are allowed a place at the table?  When I have refrained from wielding the sword against those binding us with capricious rulings, cheating us of time we can never recover, taking our earnings and costing us the opportunities they would have afforded? 

"How can I rest when I have not yet fought hard enough to win justice, thereby not fulfilling my responsibility to my children, my family, my friends, my community, and myself and allowing myself to feel used and even lampooned?  The bad winning, the good losing.  The good have to stand strong and forsake their silence, for in doing nothing, we are complicit in wrongdoing.  When will the tolerance of chicanery, theft, sloth, lechery, greed, and dishonesty end?"

My eyes met his and I saw the tears on my face reflected in the tears in his eyes.  I continued, "I long for solutions to those many troubles, yet you offer only one wish."

Should I choose to put to rest my parental concerns?  Should I choose to end government corruption and free my people from the dismal failures of the courts and the congress?  Should I choose to end social concerns and ensure the existence of healthy relationships, family structure, commitment, passion, and love in each of our lives?  Should I choose to solve the financial strain we face and finally see the day one gets to keep one's own earnings?  Should I choose to smite those who are bad and reward the good for their kindnesses?  All this I wondered in a whirlwind of thought.  Yet, I already knew that plurality was the undoing of those of the past.  The lamp was useless to them for they did not perceive the answer.  Solutions were not necessary, because the troubles can all be found, bound, as one, and therein lies the answer.  "I am ready to make the One Wish," I said as our eyes met once again, this time wide open, filled with power, wonderment, and awe.  "Yes," he said quietly, "You have been through the harsh trials and the remaining battles will soon end.  Your struggles were not in vain, but were necessary to prepare you for this great responsibility.  You are ready to make the One Wish that will give us both our freedom."  There wasn't a moment of hesitation as I uttered the simple words of the One Wish requiring that all other things be brought into harmony, "My brother," I said, "I wish this for us both and for all who would share in our triumph.  I wish for Justice, which will yield Peace of Mind for all."

Thomas Durbin

copyright Durbin 2010

All Rights Reserved

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About the author

Thomas Durbin

Raised in rural east-central Illinois, I appreciate nature and the environment. I'm a father, grandfather, professional engineer, leader, researcher, coach, scouts leader, stoic, minimalist, costumer, historian, traveler, and writer.

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