It is easy to think that I have it difficult or that others have an easier life than I do. Often the adversary whispers in my ear that life is not fair or my challenges are too difficult. During these times I need a reality check. I need to remember that there are others that have challenges as well. This poem is one of my checks. It reminds me to lose myself in the service of others.
The Trouble Pile
“Where do you go today, old man.
With that great load there on your back?”
The old man just grumbled as he hobbled a long
Holding Tight to the bulging sack.
“I say, old man, ” cried the boy again
“Do you carry a sack of gold?”
“Nay, lad,” the old man whispered.
“Tis just troubles–that’s all I hold.”
“This sack I’ve carried, all my life
Each trouble I’ve had is here.
They’ve grown till now, my back grows bent
With every passing year.
“There’s grief and pain, there’s hurt and woe,
There are trials and sins galore
But I’m going now to the trouble pile
and I won’t pack these no more.”
The boy looked up with a troubled glance.
“Tell me, what’s the trouble pile?
I’d like to know, and while we talk You can sit and rest a while.”
“I lack the time,” the old man said,
I’ve got to rush along.
I want to get to the trouble pile
“Fore the little troubles are gone.
“You see, it’s a place where all can go
To trade troubles great and small
You can leave yours there and pick new ones up.
Why, I’ll trade ’till I’ve none at all.”
The boy glanced down at his twisted leg,
And he blinked to hold back a tear.
“Could I trade this leg for a good one,” he asked,
“If the trouble pile was here?”
“Of course, you could,” the old man was gruff.
“But there’s still a long way to go.
I’ve got to hurry or I’ll be late,
And crippled you’d be too slow.”
So the boy sat down and watched the man,
Disappear in the morning light,
The hours wore on and still he watched
As the day moved on to night.
At last, there in the distance,
The old man walked tall and strong,
A bulging sack still on his back,
But on his lips, a song.
“I see you trader, mister,
And lost your heavy load,
His little voice grew wistful
As he looked back down the road.
The old man grinned and tossed his bag
With a thud, in the dusty track.
And he smiled a smile at the little boy
As he sat and leaned lazily back.
“Now, I’ll tell you, lad, though you’ll not believe–
But that sack is the same as I had.
When I saw the troubles of other folks.
I found mine not half so bad.
“Sure, I’ve hardly got a trouble now,
And I’ll tell you something too–
If you could see that trouble pile,
You’d keep that bad leg too.
“Cause I’ve done a bit of thinking
As I walked along the way.
And if we worked hard on that leg of yours
It would grow straight and strong to stay,
“Now I’ve really nothing much to do
And a crutch I could make for a start.”
Then he hugged the boy to hide a tear,
And the joy in and old man’s heart.
So the boy and the man worked together,
From morning to the last light of day,
And the twisted leg finally was straightened,
And the boy could soon run and play.
It was then the old man knew he must leave,
And again he shouldered his sack,
But no longer did it bulge with his troubles–
It just hung there loose on his back!
For while he was helping another.
His own troubles faded away,
He had truly found the trouble pile,
It’s there if you look for the way.