adj: freed from illusion {syn: enlightened}

He awoke from a dream he could only remember with bursts of colour and joy.
"World! O beautiful world! I understand!" he cried, and ran to his bedroom window. The sun had just cleared the horizon and was colouring the world with warm, cheery colours, lifting his spirits even more.

Life. Oh wonderful life. Everywhere, in everything, working its purpose in every movement, every thought. There's no need to be afraid..

Minutes later he was outside, running to the park, eager to share his newfound joy with the world. Early as it was, there were few people in the small grassy city park. An old man sat on a bench, wrapped in a giant overcoat.

"Good morning, sir!" he called breathlessly, "Isn't it beautiful today?"

"Harumph!" the old man snorted, "Beautiful, is it? All you rich types shout that at me. You try my life. Homeless, friendless, with nothin' but the clo's on yer back and the hope that maybe today you'll get somethin' to eat." The old man scowled and walked away.

He stood beside the bench, a little surprised, but smiled again and walked back home to get ready for work. He would share this with his coworkers - they could use some brightening up.

In the afternoon he arrived home, in significantly lower spirits than when he woke up. He had tried to explain to everyone, tried to make them see that it was all so simple, so wonderful.
But they wouldn't listen.

"Wonderful? Wonderful? Darwin, my wife left me for some bodybuilding jerk! How is that wonderful?"

"So life's purpose is that I work a nine-to-five job that I hate just to be able to scratch together enough money to live on, and then go home to a lazy, unemployed jackass who treats me like a slave, and two whining kids who idolize him? In that case, I think I'll shoot myself."

On and on all day. He had swallowed his sorrow each time, had approached each person with renewed hope. It was simple. They couldn't see past the small things; that was their problem. He would help them. They would see.

But they didn't.

He decided to buy dinner from the couple who ran the chip truck near the park. They understood, he was sure they did. They smiled to everyone, did business every day, and seemed content with themselves.

Unfortunately, they too did not understand.
"Happy? I'd be perfectly happy if we won the millions and moved into a rich neighbourhood and never had to sell fries to you crazy city people ever again!"

Walking sadly through the park, holding his damp, steaming box of fries in one hand, he looked around at the people wandering through the park. They didn't know it, but they were living out life's purpose. The little things didn't matter. They were growing, bringing others into the world, and dying to make room for these new ones. It was a cycle, and it worked. Being rich, being famous, that didn't matter. It was a little thing.

He sat down on the very bench where he had met the homeless man that morning and ate his fries quietly. When he finished, he held the empty box between his hands and sighed. It was hard to hold onto the dream's enlightenment if no one would even try to understand.

"Hey mister, don't be sad."
He looked around, surprised, and saw a child standing near the other end of the bench, holding a giant stuffed cat tightly in her arms. He shrugged, and said, "Why not?"

"Everything will be okay," she said, edging closer and smiling brightly.

"How do you know that?"

She hugged the cat closer to her and told him, "Everything has a happy ending. Grown-ups always forget that. I thought maybe you needed someone to re-mind you." She beamed at him and skipped away. "Goodbye, mister!"

He sat in silence for a time, and then he smiled. The smile turned into a grin, the grin turned into a chuckle, and the chuckle turned into a laugh. He stood up and walked home, still laughing.

Leave it to a child to understand life.

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