A man walked the road; came upon a person lying in the pathway. He kicked the man out of his way. The man just lay there, too tired and sick to protest.
Along came another man; saw what had been done. As he watched the first man walking on down the road, obviously oblivious to the poor man's pain, the second man knelt and wiped the sweat from the suffering man's brow. He asked, "What may I do for you?"
Suffering man took his hand and a charge went between them as a bolt of electricity. Suffering man rose to his feet, still grasping the second man's hand.
He took his other hand, and looking him straight in his eyes said, "What you do for me, you do for yourself." With that the suffering man now strode away, strong in step, straight of shoulders, lightness all around him.
Second man watched him out of sight, then turned and saw down the other length of road a heap on the end of the road, lying still. He walked in that direction, and as he approached the heap in the road, he remembered the suffering man's words, and the light that emanated from him as he walked away.
He extended a hand to the man who lay in the road, crumpled in his own misery. The man cowered, meek and ashamed, curled himself up into a ball. "I cannot grasp the aid that you extend to me, for I am evil and I am sinful."
Second man lowered himself to the ground beside the crumpled man and he gently put his arms around him and held him close. "Ye are the man of little heart, yet I make you whole through my love. God works through me to treat his own, for you are His, as am I; and He is yours, as He is mine. So pick yerself up in the strength that he comes to you, through me."
They rose in unison; the one wept on the other's shoulder, tears of joy. "The thought of you has not helped me on my way. I will go alone. You are but a stepping-stone in my journey. I use you for my purposes, and then I flee. I do not need you, or your strength." With that the crumpled man, now strong, gave a great shove to the man who'd come and helped, and he hurried on his way.
The man left behind merely shrugged; a tear fell from his eye as he watched the other man, strong now, out of sight. Then he continued on his way. "I shall be there if he needs me again."
Nancy Tate, 1998
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