Once upon a time there was a businessman who was sitting on the beach in a small Italian village.
As he sat, taking a brief break from the stress of his daily schedule, he saw a fisherman rowing a small boat back into the harbour. In the boat were a few large fish. Impressed, the businessman asked the fisherman, “How long does it take you to catch so many fish?” To which he replied “Oh, not so long.” The businessman was confused, “Why don’t you fish for longer to catch even more?”
“More? This is enough to feed my entire family and even offer some to my neighbours,” the fisherman said. “So what do you do for the rest of your day?” enquired the businessman. The fisherman replied, “Well, I would usually have caught my fish by late morning, at which point I go home, kiss my wife, and play with my kids. In the afternoon, I take a nap and read. In the evening, I go to the village to have a drink with my friends, play guitar, sing, and dance into the night!”
Putting his entrepreneurial hat on, the businessman offered a suggestion. “I have a PhD in business! I can help you become much more successful. From now on, you should spend longer at sea and catch as many fish as possible. When you’ve saved enough money, buy a bigger boat to catch even more fish. From there, you’ll soon be able to buy more boats, set up your own company, build a production plant to can the fish and control distribution, and move to the city to control your other branches.”
To this, the fisherman asks, “And after that?” The businessman laughs, “After that, you’ll be able to live like a king, take your company public, float your shares and be rich!” “And after that?” Asks the fisherman once more. “After that, you can retire, move to a house by the sea, wake up early in the morning to go fishing, then return home to play with your kids, kiss your wife, take a nap in the afternoon and join your friends in the village to drink, play guitar and dance into the night!”
Puzzled, the fisherman replies, “But isn’t that what I’m doing already?”
Be content with what you have. Do we really need to keep pushing for more? Stress is often a choice. There’s joy and peace in simplicity.
Life is a sacred journey. Hopefully our pathways are level and smooth, but in our humanity, we know at times, we walk the mountainous and tough terrain. Our pathway, is a journey where we’re not in control, ultimately, all we have is now. Living in the present is a very challenging but most rewarding and life-giving blessing. We all can feel at times weighed down and overburdened, this is very true, if we have not acknowledged or processed the wounds and scars that life can inflict upon us from the past. Resentment, bitterness, unforgiveness and genuine hurt can weigh us down. Similarly, another distraction on our journey is to worry about tomorrow. The mortgage repayment, the exam results, what will happen if?
The iconic Saint Padre Pio, had a very practical spirituality which empowered him to live in the present moment and experience the power of now. His celebrated prayer is one that offers deep relevance to all our lives. “My past life I give to your mercy O Lord, tomorrow I hand into your Providence, this day let me live in your love”