It was a typical mid-winter day in February. A mix of light rain and snow was beginning to fall leaden gray skies. A well-dressed young man stood in the doorway of the municipal library, waiting for it to open. Three of the librarians arrived for work at the appointed hour.
They were anxious to get out of the gloppy weather that was falling. They unlocked the door, went in, and locked the heavy metal door behind them. After completing their opening ritual, they decided to open the door five minutes earlier to let the young man in "How may we help you?" asked one of the librarians. "It is I who have come to help you," he said. "Please gather your colleagues around, I'd like to speak to them as well." "I'm sorry, sir," said Gretchen, one of the librarians sternly, "we don't accept sales solicitations.
If you would like, I will give you the card of Mr. Roosevelt Parker. He is our Library Administrator. You may have to schedule an appointment to see him. He is very busy." "It's not about selling," the young man said.
He showed her a sacred symbol, which he pulled out of his coat pocket. It gleamed in the small branch library with an eerie glow. Gretchen, the librarian, turned still and pale.
Her breathing and pulse quickened almost instantly. She readily determined that this strange visitor was not a member of some far-out cult. "Mary and Jean," she snapped, "You had better come here quickly. This gentleman has something he would like to say to us." Once they were all gathered in a little circle, the mysterious young man spoke. I will skip the introductions and will get right to the point.
I know you are all very busy and I will not take up any more than five minutes of your time. With that, he began. "Many people die of fear while they are still alive. They live an unfulfilled life. They live in constant fear of falling.
They find their comfort zones in as safe a way as possible. They do not allow their living to ever happen. They are afraid and totally inaccessible, harboring tight feelings in their chest as they suppress their emotions". "These people do not choose to take any risk at all.
They watch with surprise and dismay as others take the seed of an idea, make it blossom out, and go to fruition." The three librarians looked at their visitor with wide eyes. Their morning had scarcely begun and they were being shocked into a wake up call.
The young man continued. His eyes shone into their faces like laser beams. "Every year that passes, these people are convinced that the fault is not their own. The blame lies in missing the love that they have never sought. Their sorrow comes about due to the talent that they have but their inner self has never encouraged them to use.
" "In trying to avoid pain, they miss happiness. In trying to be prudent, they shrink away from adventure. They totally miss the growth that comes with it as they encounter new people, new experiences, and new learning.
" "These folk live on a short leash. They are terrified of what might happen if they would ever test their leash out to the fullest. They conform, just in case they have no leash and are free after all." "The ultimate measure of a person is not where they stand when things are going well. It is where they stand when things are not going well. When are they when challenge affects them? Where are they when controversy stalks them?" "A person that is truly alive in mind will risk his or her position, prestige, and everything else to make a dream come true.
A person that is awakened in spirit will lift the bruised and beaten neighbor to a higher and nobler life with his or her special talents and gifts to the world." His audience sat there,completely mesmerized. "Those folk who are alive in mind and awaken in spirit are happy. They have the capacity to feel deeply. They enjoy simply.
They think freely. They risk everything because they need nothing more than to follow their special dream." The young man quoted a saying from the late President Roosevelt, "There is nothing to fear, but fear itself." "That is all I have to say. I will be back someday. Whenever I return, it will always be too early.
I have come to tell you a very important message for your lives." "The rest is up to you. The risk all of you take to repress your passion and talent will become more painful for you with each passing year. It is time for you to risk bloom before I return again.
With those ominous closing words, the mysterious visitor disappeared into thin air. No door had opened; no trace remained of this eerie visitor. The three librarians stood there with eyes wide and jaws wide open. They were in a horrifying stage of fright. In her apartment, Gretchen, the librarian, woke up, screaming and gasping for air.
"What's the matter?," asked her husband Steve, who saw her panic. He was knotting up his tie and had dashed into the room to wake her up. "I had a nightmare", Gretchen sobbed, "A horrible dream." "Oh, just a dream. You'll get over it soon enough. Come on, get dressed, I'll drop you off at the library.
" "I'm not going back there anymore," said Gretchen. "It's time for me to start the life that I've always wanted to live. I've got to start my writing life and I am going to start it today." "You have to go to work, honey," Steve protested.
"It wasn't an ordinary dream, Steve," Gretchen said. "It was very crisp and clear, like it was really happening. It was more like a visitation and a warning." "It's too late for you or me to become a great novelist," he said, rolling his eyes.
"We have bills to pay. Please hurry up, I have to go to work, too." "Steve, you don't understand." "I met the Angel of Death.".
Bob Carper is a veteran information systems consultant specializing in verbal and written communication. He is an ardent writer and belongs to various societies. You may contact him at email@example.com or visit http://www.secure-webconference.citymax.com