Three men, strangers to each other, sat on a bench. They each felt inwardly incomplete and lacking. After significant time had passed, one man spoke:
“My good sirs, allow me to explain the general nature of my existence. Everywhere I go, and everywhere I look, I find nothing that suits me. The way people appear, how they speak, and act, and even what they wear and where they live, are all foreign to me. What is worse? My words attract derision. What I say is rebuked. Yet I find my surroundings to be familiar. I am a man of this place, and in my heart and bones I feel that I am indeed a man worthy of this place. Yet I cannot in truth claim to know that I am a man of this time.”
The second man spoke: “It is a brave thing you have done to introduce yourself in such a manner. I wish to do the same. I do not know to where I belong. My possessions are never appropriate for the given climate. Yet I come with my talents and wisdom, but these are never accepted by the people. And this is a huge pity because – and do excuse my direct words – many people lack esteem and worth. I am waxed bold to tell them something to prick up their ears and pin up their hopes. Yet it is ignored. My journey to find where I belong never ends. I’ve conceded that no place has been fit for a well-meaning and relevant man such as myself.”
The third man spoke: “I am a thorn to the side of every era and of every place. One day, I would say to the public, ‘Look! This that you are doing will betray your wellbeing.’ They reject this and cast me to the streets. Yet I speak continually into the same collective set of ears – and I have done this for years. I do not understand it. I believe that I belong to this place and to this time. But I am ashamed to say that I am not the needed man.”
Each solemnly reflected on the others’ feelings of inadequacy.
Then the first man spoke excitedly and directly to the second: “My heart is glad for you, sir. I am convinced that you are now in the right place, and I believe that your character and wisdom is suited here.”
The second spoke likewise to the third: “Sir, I am joyful to meet you. You are the right man to lift my weary soul in this time and place. Doubtless your character will be uplifting for anyone who comes to this place!”
The third spoke likewise to the first: “I am at peace knowing that you, sir, are in this time – the right time for you. In this very moment, my spirit needed uplifting, and you have done it.”
The three men went their respective ways, carrying their strengthened spirits back to their uncertain destinies.