Wednesday, December 21, 2016

The Man in a Can

By Shoshanna Schmalz

There once was a man who grew up in a can. The can was secure and stable and provided protection of the unknown. As a child, he longed to be free and endlessly searched for a way out. He pushed on the walls in all directions and tested their strength, but to no avail. They were securely held together with generations of woven webs. He had searched for cracks in the walls or a secret door he could open, but he could not find any. He was routinely discouraged by the adults in the can, “Why would you want to go anywhere?” they asked him, “Everything that you need is right here in the can.” They distracted him with treats, shiny toys, and empty promises. He was told that there is no way out and that this is just how it is.  

So as he grew he filled his life with menial thoughts and tasks and filled his can to the brim with worthless treasures. He spent most of his time worshiping his treasures, counting them and shining them. He took pride in his junk as if he was worth that which he owned. He became so accustomed to the can that the inner calling to find a way out grew fainter and fainter and was almost forgotten.

Then one day, while walking by the mirror as he had done countless times before, he took a really close look. He noticed that the mirror was full of dust and smears that had gathered there over time. He started to clean the mirror and as he washed away the grime of years, it became an obsession. He cleaned and cleaned and scrubbed and scrubbed until it was crystal clear. Then he took a look into the mirror and for the first time he could really see himself. He noticed aspects that he had never seen before. As he looked closer, he noticed something sticking up from behind his shoulders. He had wings! Had they been there all along? How had he not noticed them before?

He spread his wings and flew. He flew right out of the can. As he soared higher and higher looking out over the glories of the world. He could see the can and all its contents far below him, small and cluttered and limiting. All the worthless treasures that he had gathered throughout his lifetime were meaningless in comparison to the freedom and wonders of the world.

All was clear and all was simple.

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