The old man was prepared to accept that this was it. This was the end. He had been laid to rest after years of living in the beautiful garden.
He didn’t mind really. He had enjoyed his life, even though he had been battered around by storms, survived the heat, the drought, the floods and kids climbing all around him. As he aged, he had folded his bark coat more thickly around himself, giving his aging limbs protection from the elements and attacks from marauding insects.
Although, at the time, he wept a little, he was proud of the heart the young lovers had carved in his bark. He had offered them privacy from the onlooker’s gaze as they swapped their innermost secrets and committed themselves to each other.
Now, as he lay within the slabs cut from his generous girth, he allowed the breezes to filter between the thick slices of his body. He whiled the days away thinking of the good times in the past.
Months passed. The timber cutter returned to survey the slabs he had cut and stored some time ago. Pondering for a while he then made his decision. The old man was to be born again. His beauty was revealed once again, as his outer coat was removed and the dirt and mould of his years sanded away. He was fashioned into a bench seat and placed in the local park, where he was again surrounded by flowers and other trees.
Now the children play around him and lovers whisper sweet nothings to each other while they sit and hold hands. His gnarled old twisted frame has been transformed and his inner beauty on display for all to see and use. His life was not wasted. He is happy and useful again.
And so, it can be with us, if we deliberately seek out ways to use what gifts and skills we have to benefit our community, irrespective of how old we are.
I’m Peter Mack and that’s life.