When I was a kid I once heard a story at school that has stuck with me all the way through until now.
If ever you feel like you’re losing your way a bit, or if ever you’re struggling through a bit of a bleak patch perhaps it might help you.
Once upon a time, in a world not so different to ours, there lived a lumberjack. He was a really nice guy who would do anything for his friends and was well respected in the community.
He was also renowned for being fearless and would never turn down a challenge or a dare.
The land where he lived (probably Scotland) got really, really cold at nights – so as soon as it got cold everyone would stop working and gather in the local pub by the roaring log fire.
Some miles away from the settlement where they lived stood a mountain. As it was up so high, it was seen as the coldest spot on the land and no one ventured there without very good reason.
One evening, after a few too many mugs of ale, the lumberjack was challenged to spend a night on the mountain with just a small blanket. It would be the true test to just how tough he claimed to be.
Whether it was the beer or just his stupid male bravado, I’m not sure, but he said yes.
(I can only imagine that he woke up in the morning with a splitting headache and thought ‘what the fuck have I signed up for!?’)
Being such a proud guy he couldn’t go back on his word, and so off he went that evening – with just a small blanket to keep him company.
His friends said farewell. And, so there he was. Left to his own devices as the bone-chilling cold began to set in.
The first few hours were okay, but then things got worse and worse.
He spent the hours thinking only of how cold he was. Nothing else. And it made it worse and worse.
But then he noticed something. A candle in the window of a house many miles away. The flame was burning confidently and, asides from the twilight moon, it was the only light he could see.
And so he watched it. This one bright thing in the distance. It made him feel warm. And it gave him hope.
The candle burnt through the night, and by the time his friends came to pick him up at 6am in the morning it was still going.
If he hadn’t have kept concentrating on that one light in the distance, do you think he would have made it through the night?
The positives are out there. We just need to look for them.