A man once looked upon a high mountain peak
And said, "Finally I’ll find that happiness I seek.
I’ll climb to the top and when I get there
I know I’ll be free from all my sorrow and cares.
The journey will be painful but if I endure
The reward will be worth all my investiture
For there from the top at last I will gaze
Above my life’s troubles above my soul’s haze.”
So grimacing this man began to bitterly climb
Over river and boulder from ten until nine.
And all the while he was fussy and grumpy
The weather wasn’t right and the road was too bumpy.
The path was too steep and the birds sang too loud
And occasionally there burst a stormy rain cloud.
But the man stomped on and said, scowling his best,
“I hate this journey but I am almost near the crest.”
The suddenly behind him came a voice loud and clear
‘Follow me my friends come and join me up here.”
For up climbed another man on that high mountain trail
Determined that no fellow traveler would fail.
So he helped them all out to navigate on their way
And he did so happily day after day.
This second man didn’t frown, fuss, or scowl
And he never complained when the weather was foul.
His thoughts were on others never retained on himself
His wants were all neatly put away on the shelf.
His smile was warm and his eyes they were bright
And his very presence seemed to radiate light.
He was a common man with uncommon desire
With a spring in his step and a heart full of fire.
As the first man looked out over the other
He mockingly laughed and said, “Oh Brother!
At this man’s rate he will never reach the top
He can’t help himself but to constantly stop
To help out a friend or to aid some stranger
Or to rescue some lad from an upcoming danger.”
He yelled, "Don’t you care about finishing your climb?
Don’t you count down the days and measure the time?
Till your journey is finished till you mission is done
Till you can finally relax, finally have some fun?”
The second man turned but he made no reply
But he looked at the first and he let out a sigh.
A moment later he was right back to his task
Helping out others not waiting to be asked.
And the first man continued on in his ways
Ecstatic that he only had forty seven more days
For if he finished his climb he was sure that he knew
He wouldn’t feel so hollow so constantly blue.
So without any honor and without and pep
He whined and companied up to his final step.
And gazing around he looked out from the top
Enthused that at last he could finally stop.
But alas that feeling staid for only a while
And despite his best shot he couldn’t muster a smile.
For there from the top he had nothing to do
No challenge no obstacle, just a really nice view.
He expected fulfillment, he expected relief
He expected great joy to swallow his grief
But he still had the same emptiness the same sour mood
The only real change he had made was in his altitude.
As he stood in a stupor of the time he had lost
Of the joy he had missed because he counted the cost
There emerged from behind him that second climber he saw
Whose acts of service he thought was a flaw.
This man’s hands were dirty, weathered and torn
And the clothes he was wearing were exceedingly worn.
He had lost himself but a full life he did find
In serving his fellow man with his heart, might, and mind.
This man paused for a moment and gazed back on his way
And tears filled his eyes and he did softly say,
“Goodbye my great journey, farewell my dear friends
My mission is done but memories have no end.
I have fought a good fight I have finished my course
But I have no regrets not a hint of remorse.”
That man tuned toward the first and said with a grin
“Happiness doesn’t come when you finish or win
It’s found in the journey it’s forged as you go
And only when you serve do you truly come to know
That happiness is a choice so let come what may
And love is only found when you give it away.”