|The Trouble Pile|
|by Reverend John-Brian Paprock
ABOUT JOHN-BRIAN PAPROCK
"Where do you go today, old man, with that great load there on your back?"
The old man just grumbled as he hobbled along, holding tight to the bulging
"I say, old man," cried the boy again, "Do you carry a sack of gold?"
"Nay, lad," the old man whispered. "T'is just troubles - that's all I hold.
"This sack I've carried all my life, each trouble I've had is here. They've grown 'till now my back grows bent, with every passing year.
"There's grief and pain, there's hurt and woe, there's trials and sins galore. But I'm going now to the trouble pile, and I won't pack these no more."
The boy looked up with worried glance; "Tell me, what's the trouble pile? I'd like to know, and while we talk you can sit and rest awhile."
"I lack the time," the old man said, "I've got to rush along. I want to get to the trouble pile 'fore the little troubles are gone.
"You see, it's a place where all can go to trade troubles, great and small. You can leave yours there and pick new ones up. Why, I'll trade till I've none at all."
The boy glanced down at his twisted leg, and he blinked to hold back a tear.
"Could I trade this leg for a good one," he asked, "if the trouble pile was here?"
"Of course you could," the old man was gruff, "But there's still a long way to go. I've got to hurry or I'll be late, and crippled, you'd be too slow."
So the boy sat down and watched the man disappear in the morning light.
The hours wore on and still he watched as the day moved on to the night.
At last, there in the distance, the old man walked - tall and strong. A bulging sack still on his back, but on his lips - a song.
"I see you traded, mister, and lost your heavy load." His little voice grew wistful as he looked back down the road.
The old man grinned and tossed his bag with a thud in the dusty track. And he smiled a smile at the little boy as he sat and leaned lazily back.
"Now I'll tell you, lad, though you'll not believe - but that sack is the same as I had. When I saw the troubles of other folks, I found mine not half so bad.
"Sure, I've hardly got a trouble now. And I'll tell you something, too - If you could see that trouble pile, you'd keep that bad leg, too.
"Cause I've done a bit of thinking as I walked along the way, And if we worked hard on that leg of yours, it would grow straight and strong to stay.
"Now I've really nothing much to do, and a crutch I could make for a start."
Then he hugged the boy to hide a tear, and the joy in an old man's heart.
So the boy and the man worked together, from morning to the last light of day. And the twisted leg finally was straightened, and the boy could soon run and play.
It was then the old man knew he must leave, and again he shouldered his sack.
But no longer did it bulge with his troubles - it just hung there loose on his back.
For while he was helping another, his own troubles faded away. He had truly found the trouble pile. It's there - if you look for the way.
In service to God and humanity,
Posted with Permission...