Sometimes in tragedy we find our life’s purpose. The eye sheds a tear to find its focus. – Robert Brault
Each turret, each tower, each little window on the sandcastle had been laid with precious love and care; each stroke of definition had a mother’s firm, devoted touch. Higher and higher it grew, taller than she’d ever expected, until she could see the distant sun tucked cosy into its watery nest as she stood astride her palace of fame. A sweet wind blew about her face, her lips turned up in a contended smile that only genuine hard work and a sense of achievement can bestow.
Of course the wind knocked out the sails of her proud ship right then, and she found herself knee-high in sand, her castle in ruins about her, her days of toil with nothing to show except a broken flag lying upturned like an insult.
How she cried then, how she bawled. “I want my castle back!” she wailed to the unforgiving wind, “Give it back to me!” She scrambled about digging with her hands, laying pile upon pile of dry, fickle sand that ran through her fingers shamelessly. Hot and sweaty with an uncertain, unfocused toil, she lashed about in all directions. Her troops had vanished; her stores were depleted; her army of support had melted into the ocean.
A silly little gull watched her madness with its head tilted to the side.
“If you know it’s so temporary, so fragile, why are you building it up again?” it suddenly asked as she sat on her knees, her hands blushing with impotence.
She stopped and became still. The silly bird had touched a chord of truth in her. “Because I cannot do anything else,” she replied, with a sigh. “I must create. I must do my karma. Krishna says action is necessary, inaction is impossible.”
“But what’s the point of creating sandcastles that the wind or the sea can wash away at any time?” the silly bird asked.
She had no answer. She did not know how to do anything else. She looked about at the vast empty expanse of the beach and the sea, and suddenly felt very disoriented and directionless. She broke up in tears again. “I am lost,” she sobbed.
“Don’t be silly,” the silly bird said. “You are right there.”
Her crying came to a halt with hurtful hiccups. A giant eraser had just wiped clean the slate of her existence, inviting her to draw something new again, to be something new. What would she make, who would she be? Wasn’t it worthless making sandcastles again?
“But anything I make on the sand will be wiped clean the next morning,” she wondered aloud. “And I cannot draw on the sea or the sky.”
“Then draw on yourself,” the silly gull said with a yawn. “At least you’ll always be there where you are.” And it flew away nonchalantly.
It was a call to a journey, the clanging of a bell she couldn’t afford to miss, she realised. The Mother calling her to a pilgrimage. Not one across the sea or the land or the sky. But one into herself, into the vast universe of her soul. Into the silence of her true spirit.
What would she find this time?