I stood outside the rusty cattle gate, grasping the top rung with both hands.
The rough, weather-pocked metal felt uncharacteristically warm to the touch, especially for 5:00 AM on a December morning.
Today’s belligerent Texas weather was paying no attention to the calendar.
The main reason I had a jacket on was to protect my arms from the thorny talons of the Mesquite trees that strategically stood guard over the pasture.
Plus, I could hear my departed father’s voice…”It’s better to have a jacket and not need it… than to need a jacket and not have it.”
Now to work the combination lock on this gate.
Normally, I would need to juggle a flashlight or leave the truck headlights on to see the digits at the bottom of the lock.
Not this morning…the Moon was so bright, it offered ample visibility.
However, the lock was not cooperating.
I had it correct…didn’t I?
When I bought it…I’d set the combination to be one day after the Fourth of July.
As evidenced by the pair of bolt cutters I keep under the back seat…my memory for numbers is not great. But, this numerical sequence has stuck with me over the years.
I gave the lock a few more attempts with no luck.
I should have known this might happen…it had been giving me fits for the last several days.
What I had learned…in those days…was that forcing it was not going to work.
Unfortunately, I had left my patience somewhere back at the house…so… a little frustrated, I decided to step back from what should have been the simplest task of my day.
No legitimate reason to hurry this morning…any “rush” I felt was self-imposed.
Realizing that…with arms folded and hat tipped back, I leaned against the gate and stared up at the sky.
The full moon was descending, but had not yet given up its reign over the pre-dawn morning.
Interestingly, it was bright enough, that it could easily be mistaken for the rising Sun.
In fact, the scene above me shown so magnificent…it overwhelmed my petty thoughts and called out to me…compelling me to search the vastness of its celestial wisdom.
Maybe, I am being overly profound…but at this stage of my life…when I take a moment…I find myself prone to seeking answers to the big questions.
What should I be doing with the time I have left?
Are there still “mountains” to climb?
WHY AM I HERE?
All alone and feeling very small…I sent those questions upward.
However, as beautiful as it was and as hard as I listened…I received no response.
Just like with the lock…I was trying to force things.
With greater Faith and less urgency…I began to listen again…this time with my heart.
It was then that the sagacious, gleaming Light spoke to me.
A Light whose brilliance was not lunar in origin.
After all, the Moon…left to its own devices…is a cold, dark and desolate place.
Yet, when it reflects the radiance of the Sun… it takes on new importance and becomes a beacon in the night.
So…Why am I here? What is my purpose?
The World tells me it is to chase my personal desires until I find MY happiness.
I’ve tried that…those pursuits provide fleeting joy at best.
If I have any major purpose at all…it is to be like this moonlit morning.
I am an unworthy vessel…but if I spend my remaining days reflecting the Light…perhaps I can help illuminate a path through the darkness, loneliness, pain and uncertainty…both for myself…and for those in need.
Bolstered…I gave it another try and unfastened the gate with only marginal effort.
I did not stop to ponder why it worked this time. I was far too absorbed in what had just occurred.
With the gate wide open and the answers to my questions “unlocked”…I took some meaningful steps past the paint-chipped, cast iron fence posts that marked the threshold to my renewed purpose.
This morning’s barriers behind me, head up, eyes fixed on the horizon, my pace increased.
After all, I had much to accomplish…before the Sun returns.
From Hall (1.15) Acres…
Please have a good day.
Greg T. Hall
– Greg Hall and his wife Stephanie reside in Midlothian. He is a graduate of the University of Texas at Arlington Business School and serves as COO at Spring Creek Restaurants. With his writing, Greg…a former award-winning, small town columnist…strives to use a positive perspective, humor and personal observations to connect with readers from every walk of life.