A travelling man sat down to rest from his journey by the side of the road. As he rested, another man passed by. This other man, the traveler observed, walked very slow and was bent forward, his expression was troubled and pain reflected in his eyes.
“What ails you fellow?” called up the wise, but simple man. “Come and join me and take a rest, for your form is such that I see a need in you to share the burden that you carry.”
The other man sat down, stared far into the distance for a while and then began.
“I have lost the very dearest person known to me.” Tears welled up in his eyes as he spoke, he then fell silent for a short time before continuing. “I feel that I am constantly walking up a hill and that the wind is always against me, my feet are as heavy as clay and in my stomach I carry hot coals. I say to myself now that I must turn back to ease this pain. If I walk back down the hill then maybe I will find that all of this is not true and that my loved one will be waiting to greet me.”
The traveler sat listening to the other man’s story, and replied. “You must not go back down the hill. You need to reach the top, for thereafter you will find the path will level, the wind will soften, your feet grow lighter and the hot coals will cool. To go back down the hill will prolong your pain, for the path to your healing is forward and up the hill.”
As the traveler got up to continue his journey, he said to the other man, “The one you have lost is not at the bottom of the hill but with you all the time, for you carry their spirit in your heart.”