The holy man had a dream or, in other words, he had a vision. In this dream a man appears to him dressed in a white robe and invites him to go with him. He accepts and does so but after a while he finds himself surrounded by a dark and dreary waste. He continues to walk but he is still in the dark after many hours. The man is afraid and alone and the only option he has is to pray his God for help.
And it comes to pass that after he prays he beholds a large and spacious field and in the field a tree with a beautiful fruit hanging from its ripe branches. He reaches the tree and, hungry and tired, partakes of the fruit of the tree. The fruit is sweet and delicious and white of a whiteness the holy man has never seen before. He is so taken by the flavour and beauty of this fruit that he wants to share it with his family. He turns around and sees a river nearby running along the tree. And he looks to see the source of the river and sees his wife and some of his children. They look like they do not know what to do. They seem lost. The holy man then waves at them and so they join him and partake of the fruit and rejoice with him. He soon realizes that some of his children are missing and he becomes worried for them. He finally sees them and waves at them to join but they do not.
The holy man is very sad. He notices an iron rod that extends for the length of the river leading to the beautiful tree. He also notices a strait and narrow path next to the iron rod leading to the tree as well. And next to the path there is also another spacious field so vast that it could contain the whole world. There are people all around, a numberless concourse of people. And many are trying to press forward to reach the path in order to get to the tree and obtain the fruit. They come forth and commence to walk the path and an exceedingly great mist of darkness arises and some of those who have started their way lose it and wander off the path becoming lost. Others get a hold of the iron rod and, clinging to it, make it to the tree. They partake of the fruit but then cast their eyes about as they feel ashamed. The holy man does not understand but as he casts his eyes about too, he sees, on the other side of the river, a great and spacious building filled with people of all ages and gender and they are mocking and pointing their fingers to those partaking of the fruit. The holy man now understands that those that have tasted the fruit are ashamed because of all the scoffing and fall away into forbidden paths and get lost.
The holy man sees many other people doing all sorts of things. Some gets a hold of the iron rod and arrive to the tree, partake of the fruit and rest, tired but content. Others go directly to the great and spacious building not even trying to get to the tree. Many drown in the river and others get lost wandering on strange roads.
This simple story tells us that as leaders and individuals in our respective areas, we always have choices. It also tells us that in order to reach our goals we have to focus and persevere or, in other words, hold steadfast to the iron rod. The path is strait and narrow and so we will have to endure afflictions, trials and tribulation but the reward is sweet and beautiful, just like the fruit of the story.
We will also have to endure peer pressure and the temptation of following the easy path, the path of least resistance. Quick fixes and easy gain will not bring to enduring happiness or the satisfying, filling sensation of having worked hard to reach our goals.
The author John C. Maxwell wrote: ‘Security provides the foundation of leadership. When we feel insecure, we drift from our mission whenever trouble arrives. We must feel secure when people stop liking us, when funding drops, when morale dips, or when others reject us. If we don`t feel secure, fear will eventually cause us to sabotage our leadership.`
Always remember who you are and hold steadfast to the iron road. The fruit will come and will be sweet and beautiful.