Parting Glances: Rise And Shinola

By Charles Alexander
Originally printed 1/30/2014 (Issue 2205 - Between The Lines News)

There was a young man who was down on his luck. He got fired in January. In February his boyfriend dumped him. His cat croaked in March. His wallet was lifted in April. Worse still, in May he turned 29. Over the hill.

June brought summer; but in spite of the sunshine he sat stewing about the misfortunes that had so lately befallen him.

In contrast to the cloudless sky, his face revealed that he was not a happy camper, as the saying goes. And while wrapped up in his Linus/Lucy label blanket of gloom, he was unexpectedly joined by an older gentleman who sat next to him.

"Good day, young man," said the distinguished personage. "Is it not a lovely, most invigorating day?" he asked, taking out of his pocket a small bag of bread crumbs to feed sparrows, of which there was an abundance that radiant morning.

The young man sighed a deep sigh, "Yes, it's a beautiful day, but I can't for the life of me enjoy it. These past few months have been trying."

And, sensing the older gentleman to have a sympathetic ear, he told him all the things that had happened.

"May I give you a friendly tip on living?" coaxed the older gentleman, tossing crumbs to the sparrows, now eagerly crowding around the two bench sitters for fortuitous freebees.

"It's been my experience that whatever one's lot in life one should always say thank you. Indeedy, I begin and end each day with thank you. I do what I call my thank-you meditation."

"And just what might that be?" asked the young man, skeptical but curious nonetheless. (Maybe there's some hope for me after all, he mused; and suddenly the June day and the park seemed sunbeams brighter. The birds just a little less annoyingly chirpy.)

"Well," said the wiser, older gentleman, "it's quite simple. The words become a mantra that you repeat over and over until it becomes a part of what's called your inner child, your subconscious. It's a doorway to change."

"Tell me more," said the young man, convinced that perhaps here at long last was the magic key he needed to turn his life and his luck around for the promise of far better days ahead.

"I repeat. (You needn't be a rocket scientist.) It's so effortless. Just five minutes in the morning before breakfast. Five minutes at night before sleep. But! And this is important, my young friend. You must be persistent. Dedicated. Determined."

"Yes. Yes. What else? Pray do tell."

"Simple," said the older gentleman, putting his now empty bag of crumbs in his pocket, looking at his watch, slowly getting up to leave. "Just repeat 300 times, morning and night, Thank You! Thank You! Thank You! Over and over. 300 times. The Universe will surely hear you and respond in kind."

Having so instructed the young man in what many true believers fancy to be the Long Lost Key to the Universe, the aged advisor left, adding "Have a Blessed Day!" and vanished in the twinkling of an eye down the park's less-travelled road.

So encouraged the young man repeated his 300 thanks. Twice daily. Mondays through Sundays. Month after month. Season after season. He didn't get his job back. His lover left town. No one returned his wallet. Regrettably he turned 30. But a miracle happened.

One starry night out of the blue he heard a cosmic voice. It spoke quite audibly. Quite succinctly. Somewhat matter-of-factly. But loudly. And clear. "You're welcome. Set your alarm for six, Mary!"

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