Warrior

321_Tiger_Eye

It happens at the oddest times, he thinks, still rubbing sleep from his eyes and pouring a mug of lukewarm coffee.

You’re walking through the humdrum you call life, doing your best to keep your spirits high, and suddenly, you’re given a glimpse back down the road you’ve come. 

He settles down onto his wicker front porch chair, cup in hand. The sun flashes a bright “Good morning, Welcome-to-Monday” to all nearby.

Slow sip, stirring stale thoughts. Suddenly, you see back down the road you’ve come, and you realize how far you’ve come. You realize that, in at least some ways, you’ve become the warrior you always sought to be.  

An elderly man, leaning shakily on his cane, creak down the sidewalk, an energetic Pomeranian tugging ahead. His face is creased with weariness, but lit with determination.

It wasn’t the most conscious effort. It was just a culmination of the perseverance to put one aching foot in front of the next, moment by moment.

A swirl of steam rises into the cool morning air. A twenty-something woman jogs by, pushing a double stroller.

Becoming a warrior is simply the result of, every day, pouring love into those entrusted to you, trusting them to let your love turn them into who they are, and not who you want them to be. 

A teenager makes the slow, hesitant stroll to the nearby bus stop– shadowed eyes, shadowed face, shadowed heart.

Making progress, sometimes, is just the simple choice to get up out of bed and live; to open up your heart to a fellow human just once that day, even in the smallest way. Open up the doors, and let them see who you are. 

The coffee cup is halfway empty.

A middle-aged marine sprints by, invisible anxieties trailing in his wake of sweat, the weight of duty to home and job tearing him in two.

You become a warrior when you come home every day, lay aside the worn facemask of the world’s anxieties and expectations and still say “I love you,” whether in words or the smallest action.

A young woman leans low over the bars of a worn, rusty bike, a huge backpack strapped to her back. Commuting cars whiz by her, highlighting her strained movements and heaving breaths against the wind.

Every mile you push, every opportunity you take to change your lifestyle, every moment you choose to struggle rather than take the easy way out, you are becoming a little bit more of a warrior than you were before. 

A blank-faced young boy stands on the roadside, loosely clutching a basketball, staring  into the expanse of loneliness. When the ball falls from his grasp, rolling into the road, he scrambles after it without a moment’s hesitation.

Take a single risk every day, no matter how small it is; no matter how small you are. You are a tigermouse, and you, whether alone orbeside others, have more bravery and capability than you think. 

The coffee cup is almost empty. The man leans back with a content sigh. How far he has come. What a warrior he has morphed into, without even knowing it. How blind he has been to the drastic changes that have occurred because of his everyday will to love, learn, grow, and find redemption every facet of life.

He steps back inside, a solitary sip of coffee remaining in the bottom of the cup. He always make an effort to leave it there. He leaves it sitting on the counter, as a reminder of his routine warrior-watching. As he looks at the solitary sip of coffee throughout the humdrum day, he remembers: The dog-walker. the mother. The marine. The student. The cyclist. The boy.

The surface of the coffee reflects images of these warriors, and gives him the strength to become more of a warrior, if only for that day.

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Photo credits:

http://fineartamerica.com/featured/tiger-eye-lucie-bilodeau.html

http://www.environmental-watch.com/2014/06/04/environmental-toxins-will-make-older/

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