The Beggar’s Box of Dreams
There was once a beggar living in a cardboard box in an alley. Daily he would peek out into the street – far enough to beg for crumbs and spare change that he needed to make it through the day. In the back of his mind, he always hoped for the opportunity that might restore his former life. He would settle for a few bucks and a cheeseburger. Often he would be the recipient of discarded fries and a dime.
One day, a well-meaning man passed by and told him, “If you want to achieve your dreams, you have to leave your box and seek after them.”
“But I have no friends. I have no pedigree to rely upon. And the only resource I have is my box and the rags upon my back.”
“Nonsense. You have the knowledge and wisdom in your mind. That is enough,” the man assured, not even looking at the beggar, but staring off towards the horizon.
The beggar wrestled with this word day after day. Finally, one bright morning, something clicked and he thought he would try to reach out. He left his cardboard box behind and ventured down the street. He turned the corner, watching his box as long as he could … before it left his view. Emboldened, he turned down one street and then another.
Finally he found himself on Main Street, standing in awe at all the people walking by – wealthy people, evident by dress, food, and friendship. With an inspired smile the beggar held out his cup, empty of change but full of hope and aspirations…
And was met with cold glances, upturned disdain, and outright hostility. He felt the weight of their calloused stares. How dare he profane their pristine street with the dirt from his clothing.
As he started to lose hope, he finally saw the man who had encouraged him to leave his box.
“Sir, do you remember me?” the beggar asked.
With scarcely a glance, the man, “I’m afraid not.”
“You told me to leave my home. You said, if I want to achieve my dreams, I have to leave my box and seek after them.”
The man smiled a gigantic grin of self-satisfaction. “Oh that. That, my good friend, is something I make a point of saying to everyone I meet. I find it to be very inspirational in my life and I’m sure others do too.”
Confused and hurt, the beggar said, “But sir, I came out of my box to be here. No one has stepped in to help and I don’t know how to do things on my own. I’m lost.”
His visage unbroken, the man said, “That’s great! You’ve take the first step.”
“Can you help me with the second?”
For the first time, the man’s eyes actually fell upon the beggar. He paused for a moment, sizing him up. “Can you lift heavy objects? You could work in one of my warehouses?”
“In my younger days, I could. I’m hungry though and my muscles have grown week.”
“How about selling things?” the man asked. “I need people who can spin the truth and speak eloquently to convince people of what they need.”
“I’m not a master orator though I make a point to speak the truth in all my dealings.”
“That may not be the best place for you, then,” the man said, disappointed. “I need a model who can look good and stand strong, but sir, you are definitely not qualified for that. I’m afraid there’s nothing you can offer me.”
The beggar noticed a trend. “So you’re saying you only have time to help people who have something to offer you?”
The man shifted uncomfortably in his suit. He started to answer, but turned his gaze away and walked down the street.
The dejected beggar realized his mistake. He sulked back into the alley to return to his box. With every retreating step, he felt sadness creep deeper into his bones and pool heavily into his feet.
All he wanted was to get back to his box and enjoy the comfort that only solitude can bring.
When he turned the corner, his legs gave out and he collapsed to the ground. Where his safe shelter had once stood, was an immaculately swept street corner.
With nowhere to go and nowhere to stay, the beggar, a once proud man with dreams, aspirations, and a calling, wept uncontrollably as the last of who he was disappeared in the back of a garbage truck.
C.2016 Matthew E. Morgan
Permission to freely share granted, but please give credit to, “Matthew E. Morgan, author. www.matthewEmorgan.com”
Rev. Matthew E. Morgan, MA, LPC
Certified Minister, Licensed Professional Counselor
Matthew E. Morgan molds his work as a husband, father, therapist, minister, and general Renaissance man (*salute* General Renaissance) into discussions of worldview and philosophical ideals … or sometimes just to find things to laugh at.
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