A gemologist, towards the end of his career, found himself alone in an abandoned African mine. This last search meant everything to him, for the respect he so deserved and his own validation as a professional depended on it. So far, he had found nothing and even his fellow workers had long ago left the mine in defeat leaving him completely alone.
Looking behind his shoulder, just to make sure all were gone, he vowed to himself that he would not come out until he had it. The Eye. It had been a myth for centuries, but in his heart he believed it existed. His entire career was built on his belief, even when everyone else laughed and scorned him.
He was going in. All the way in. A s he traveled on his belly through the airtight cavern, thoughts of his family entered his mind. They had ridiculed him, ignored him, and then eventually stopped talking to him about the gem all together. They deemed his dream a silly dream, for crazy men and fools, and he had no one to share this last journey with. Even the looks on the faces of those he loved most should they see it, should he find it, would now no longer validate his life. He knew, going deep into the dark recesses of the cave; this was for him.
Hours passed leaving his hands bleeding and his body consumed in heat. Yet, he went on. Soon the crew out at camp began to worry. One man who held a deep friendship with him said, “Oh, you know him … getting carried away with his dream as usual. He’ll give up soon and come out, just you see.”
But the old man didn’t come as the stars revealed the time far past midnight. And he wasn’t asleep in his tent the next morning. As the men rushed to form an emergency crew, the sun was just setting over the African mountains. One young boy, who had bee listening to the old man’s stories of the Eye looked out at the horizon with great concern. There, through the mirage of heat waves, standing in the shadow of orange … was the man.
Reaching the top, heaving in breath and pouring sweat from every inch of him, he stood in silence with the old man. Without moving his head, he could see the luster and the enormity of the gem cupped in the blood crusted palms of his old friend.
Finally he whispered, “You found it. Is it the real thing?”
The man didn’t look over, but the boy could hear the years of his dreams as they fell and sizzled into the rocks and dirt below. Just before they heard the men from camp running up the mountain, the old man barely whispered, “It’s the real thing,” and then, he threw it as far as the Eye could see.
The old man knew that taking that beautiful stone back to sell would only discredit what it took him to get it. No one would ever know the blood, the sweat, and the tears of his journey that that lonely African mine. So is our story, our journey, and the authentic purpose for which we fight for it.
Make your dreams authentic. Claim them as your own. Let it be the real thing. Remember, no one else on earth will ever appreciate is as much as you do. Let the life you live be evidence of how authentic your journey is. Love like the mother you are. Fight like the protector you have become. Laugh with the freedom of forgiveness. Succeed by the sacrifices you’ve endured.
Give your dreams flight, and reason and purpose by living authentically so that others can reap the blessing of what you have to offer in the truth you dare to live by. Don’t sell out.