I am taking the opportunity to write some short moral stories. I am not sure how this will turn out, but I am going to try. I hope that these stories will cause us to look internally at ourselves.
John stood before the time clock at his regular time, ten minutes till eight. He had a routine. He woke up at 6:00 every morning, but he stayed in bed till 6:30. At 6:30 he arose out of bed and walked into the kitchen where he ate the same cereal day after day. He always read the morning newspaper till 7:00. After eating and after reading, John shaved, showered, and dressed. By 7:30 he was walking to work. On the way he picked up a cup of plain coffee at the same diner, at the same time, and arrived at the time clock at ten till eight.
John didn’t notice that he was alone, the office was empty, the whole building was empty. Every day John stared at the time clock for ten minutes. He made sure to swipe his badge at eight o clock. He was always the first one. Normally people would snicker and make fun of John. But he never noticed, or he didn’t care. Today he was alone. There was no snickering, no jokes, only quiet. He didn’t even notice that he was alone.
At 8:01 John went to his cubicle. First he checked his email, and then he wrote a list of things that he needed to accomplish. He began to work. John was a steady worker. He didn’t goof around like many others, nor did he waste time at the water cooler. He didn’t have any funny stories or jokes to tell. In fact, most people wondered if he had friends. John’s co-workers were uncertain if he ever noticed anyone besides himself. He was quiet, and never made eye contact.
John quietly made his way to the lunch room. He sat in the same seat and ate the same lunch, a turkey salad sandwich, pretzels, and an apple. John never looked around the room; he always stared at the table or his food. The room was empty. He still noticed nothing. After eating his lunch John returned to his cubicle.
Returning to work John thought that his day had been extraordinarily redundant. Every day was redundant, but today was different. The second hand of the clock moved so slowly, and at times the minute hand didn’t move at all. John realized with a new awareness that he was not happy. He felt nothing at all. What a strange thought, John asked himself, is it possible to feel nothing? He spoke out loud. His voice echoed across the fourth floor, down the hallways, up the stairs, and throughout the whole building. For the first time John recognized that he was alone. He heard a door. And then he saw a shadow.
John ran down the closest set of stairs, there was no time for the elevator. Someone was chasing him, but who? He was confused, his mind was unclear. He wondered how long he had been alone; he wondered why. He was afraid; he saw the shadow again and again. At one moment the shadow seemed near, then far away. The shadow was large, and then it was small. Nothing made sense any longer. After running for what seemed like an hour he realized that His apartment was near, one more right turn at the next street and he would be there; he would be safe. He ran up the steps to unlock the door; he reached into his pockets for the key, but it was not there.
The shadow grew larger and came nearer. John was truly afraid, more terrified than he had ever been before. In fear, he stared at the corner waiting to see who was chasing him. It was silent, and all of the sudden there was darkness. All of the city lights and all of the street lights went dark. He heard heavy breathing, perhaps it was own, John wasn’t sure.
The light over the door began to flicker. He saw a man in front of him, but not clearly. After a brief humming sound the light became bright, the noise stopped. John saw clearly;. He saw himself. It wasn’t really John, not in the same way at least. The follower had longer hair, a nasty smile, and a scowl that would frighten any child, and maybe adult. His fingernails were long, his skin was peeling, and his clothes were tattered. John mustered up the best voice he could and said, “who are you?” “I am you,” replied the follower. “I am who you really are. Before we proceed, I want you to know that you created me.” “Before we proceed, proceed with what?” asked John. John screamed. He awoke.
John did not realize that his discontent left him without generosity, compassion, love, selflessness, and kindness. He only thought of himself, what he wanted and what he didn’t have, and as a result he failed to notice everyone and everything around him. The discontent that John suffered from was internal, no one really noticed. Eventually the discontent stole from John all the goodness and grace that he had ever experienced and witnessed. He felt nothing.