The wise one knelt in his garden, patiently weeding a bed of spring flowers.
A young man watched him from the garden gate.
“Enter my son”, the wise man said without glancing up from his task.
Sheepishly the young one approached with bowed head. “I did not wish to disturb you wise one”, he said softly.
“The garden is to be shared my son. The flowers and trees welcome you, as do I. Kneel down with me and give tribute to the spring flowers. They will welcome your hands.”
They worked together in silent accord while the young man summoned the courage to declare his true purpose.
Sensing the boy’s discomfort, the old man finally broke the silence. “What troubles you on this fine day my son?”
After a bit of thought the boy begins. “Wise one, I am great greatly disturbed by the world that exists outside this garden. “Through your guidance I find peace, love, and beauty…but, I fear this is no longer the way of the world.”
A faint smile formed on the old man’s lips as he tugged on a particularly stubborn weed. “What is the way of this world that you speak of my young friend?”
The young man frowns. “Sir, I read of great discontent among people. In my travels, I encounter hatred and mistrust of others. I see evil, and the murder of innocent people. Where I once saw peace and coexistence, I see separatism. I hear speeches from great leaders that provide little solace to those that are most affected by this hatred. I find myself with little hope and much anger. I am lost.”
The wise one continued his task while gently humming, as if serenading the flowers he tended. After a moment, the old man glanced upward and smiled at the young one who gazed at him expectantly. Pointing downward toward the flower bed, he spoke in an even, patient tone. “Look at these lovely flowers” he said. “Their continued beauty depends on the care they receive. The weeds threaten to choke the life from the fragile flowers. Do you hate the weeds my son?”
“The weeds require work to control but, no father; I do not hate that which is a living thing.”
“There are those in the world that are like these weeds, my son. Their hatred, like the vines of these weeds, clings to everything beautiful and threatens to choke whatever may threaten their own desire for power and control. It is up to us to nurture beauty by removing evil from our life. Killing the weeds with caustic poison will only threaten the beauty of that which we wish to retain. Instead we must have the patience to pull the vines up from the root and be prepared to do so with diligence and regularity. This will keep the weeds at bay my son.”
“I understand the wisdom of your lesson wise one”, the young man replied. “But I feel that the weeds of hatred threaten to take over our whole world.”
“To have such fear is perfectly human,” the old man replied. “We are imperfect creatures. We care for our own gardens and, at times, we lend a hand to tend the gardens of others. But, we must not choose to do so at the expense of our own garden. We must have faith and hope that others will view the beauty that we have created and do what is necessary to create the same beauty in their own life.”
Standing, the wise man extends a hand toward his young student. “Come my son, sit with me awhile and enjoy the beauty of our creation.”
Together, basking in the morning sun, the pair sat and shared their hopes and dreams with one another.