By Bill Dahl
Once upon a time,
There lived a boy down by the bay.
He would take long walks on the beach,
Pondering, “What will I do some day?”
He read books and magazines,
Spoke to people about their occupations.
He thought about the possibilities,
Wrote down his reservations.
Tired of contemplation,
He decided to act upon his wish.
Opening a market at the harbor,
Where he would now sell fish.
Rising early every morning,
Selecting filets to fill his bins.
He arranged them very carefully,
To attract today’s walk-ins.
He adored the people,
His service, it was snappy.
A simple life filled with joy,
Selling salmon, shellfish, cod and crappie.
As the years went by,
Customer traffic began to slow.
The landlord came for the rent,
But he had poor cash flow.
He became determined,
“I’ve been too kind…too nice.
Selling less, I must earn more!
I will raise the price.”
People had changed their appetites.
Preferring poultry, steak or geese.
Customers became bitter,
Alienated by his price increase.
He changed his signs and music,
Added lighting, and a new TV.
“If I change the external appearance,
The customers will return to me!”
The changes did not produce.
Nothing seemed to work.
He began to dislike the customers,
Shouting, “Mister…you’re a jerk!”
A little girl entered his store one day,
Gazing upon him she asked, “What’s wrong?”
He sighed and slumped back into his chair,
Recounting his sad song.
When his tale of woe was finished,
She said, “I’d like to help you if I can?”
It sounds as if your life has born the fruit,
Of a very selfish man.”
He sat up in his chair,
He’d asked for this consulting.
Insight from this little child,
My, this was insulting.
“Where you find yourself today,
It’s been a process, not an event.
You never imagined you’d be here,
In this predicament.”
“My mom has told me that it’s important,
The purpose of all my toys.
I’m to look for opportunities
To share them with all the girls and boys.”
“Your life’s all about the profit now,
You’ve wandered far from your initial wish.”
The joy of giving yourself to others,
It’s not apparent as you sell fish.”
The truth spewed tears down his cheek,
“To turn this around, how do I start?
She gazed upon his brokenness and said,
“Your tears reveal your heart.”
“My mom told me a story,
One I hope I never forget.
The story is about Jesus,
And a Samaritan woman he met.”
“Compassion is a word,
You don’t hear spoken much today.
The story about Jesus and the Samaritan remind us,
To engage with those we meet along the way.”
“Compassion is an invitation to wear the shoes,
Of each and every sister and brother.
It challenges us to embrace the reality,
Of those called them, they, and other.”
“Mom says it’s a very important word,
Even if it sounds old-fashioned.
To suffer with the other,
It’s roots come from the Latin.”
“Mom says our world is misguided,
The almighty dollar is our token.
The problem with your business mister,
Is that your heart is broken.”
Recognizing the presence of an angel,
One so innocent and meek.
The man leaned forward in his chair,
And kissed her on the cheek.
She smiled and skipped out of the store,
“Mister, I’ll see you next week!”
About The Author:
Bill Dahl, is a freelance writer and social justice advocate. Bill is published in numerous professional publications, magazines, websites, journals, newspapers and newsletters. Bill and his family make their home in central Oregon.
For Reprint Permission Contact: Bill Dahl at
http://www.billdahl.net or http://www.theporpoisedivinglife.com