“Listen! You only care about yourself!” The old man said. He ate pistachios, glazed with chocolate, while sitting in his easy chair.
The kid, was looking in all directions, for the way
but the adults in his life could only tell him the way they had gone,
and they did.
Nobody could tell him who he was, and when he suggested what he might do, it was always the same…
“You are prideful. Be practical. You have such high standards. Survive—that’s what life is about.”
The kid felt oppressed, listening to the advice.
“What’s pride?” He asked the old man.
“Pride, is when you don’t listen to other people.”
The kid thought about that… maybe, the old man needed to be listened to
So, the kid listened
“Stephen has pride. He wants to do, what he wants to do. I told him that he needs to focus on his marriage, and drop out of school. He wants to be a pastor, so that his congregation will worship him. My brother was like that—he could never get enough attention.”
“That’s the one who lives in Idaho and pastors a church?”
The same. Pride steals self-awareness.”
“I’ve been trying to make better decisions,” the kid said.
“Pride is getting in your way.”
The kid thought about that…
In that moment, he realized, he could not trust the old man
pride was necessary
and the fall
and, getting up.
“When I was in charge of finding a pastor, occasionally—I had to lead the congregation with a message. Once, I was mistaken for the pastor, and I said, ‘oh no, I’m not him.'”
The kid thought about what the old man said. “Are you going to plan any new year’s resolutions this year?”
“I don’t do new year’s resolutions—When I decide to change, I change,” the old man said.
The kid realized his advice-asking days were over. His thinking-about-it days were over too. He would have to make his own decisions, and live with the consequences. There was no benefit in asking others for advice. There was no benefit in telling them what he was going to do. Falling, was a certainty, and rising out of his shame would be his redemption.