Reading the signs

By Paulo Coelho

An acquaintance of mine ended up in serious financial difficulties because he could never manage to bring together dream and reality. Worse, he dragged others down with him, harming people he had no wish to hurt.

Unable to repay the debts he had accumulated, he even considered suicide. Then one afternoon, as he was walking down a street, he saw a house in ruins. ‘That building is me,’ he thought, and at that precise moment, he felt an immense desire to rebuild the house.

He found out who the owner was and offered to carry out the necessary work; the owner agreed, although he could not understand what my friend stood to gain. Together they managed to get hold of roof tiles, wood, sand and cement. My friend put his whole heart into the work, though without knowing why or for whom. But as the renovation work progressed, he felt his personal life improving.

By the end of the year, the house was ready. And all his personal problems had been solved.

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  1. Izliecies says:

    A very true story. Good job.

  2. marie-christine says:

    It reminds me of the story of the “Three little pigs”. Very good.

  3. Izliecies says:

    A very true story. Good job.

  4. Liz Hunt says:


    Like millions of other people all over the world I just wanted to say how much I love your books. But I hear more now than I used to because I learnt to ascend. I am sure you have a way to be still and in the silence. You must have. I can hear it in your work, that sense of sele awareness…Just read A January Day in 2005 in ‘Like the Flowing River’…and I am exeriencing, right now, just that feeling of desperation of needing to be doing something, (and like you, I have a full life), when in fact, it is just an old habit…an old record. I have a choice now, I can listen in the old way, and give myself a hard time as you were doing on that Jaunary day, or I can gently watch myself listening and very very gently allow those thoughts just to BE and enjoy writing this email.

    Best wishes
    Liz Hunt

  5. Carmen Larisa says:

    The respective man identified the repairing of the house with the reconstruction of his soul; even though everything was not very clear for him, he listened to his instinct. Good for him!
    Taking care of a ruined shelter put his attention to restoring his life, his initial qualities.
    Faults and problems are like cracks into the shelter of the Spirit: our hearts. We must do something, be active in order to make it functional again.
    The house may also be a symbol of humanity, quite damaged and in need of restoration. Only those who are aware of its problems and willing to bring a helping hand can change the pitiful situation.
    Only by using compassion, combined with hard work, enthusiasm, sacrifices and a great desire and faith, the house can be beautiful and a whole again.
    And the most encouraging aspect of this work is that the instruments should be willing to do the job they are made for, handled by the most talented artist: The Creator, as God does in fact everything. We simply have to have the desire and feel as if it’s our responsibility, our wish and our purpose at the same time: put the pieces back together, like in a giant puzzle of the world.
    Each person has a role, a mission and a precise place in this global picture. Nothing is arbitrary. God is the greatest architect in all universes!
    Thank you for the interesting and inspiring story. :-)It moves something inside while reading it. It makes us meditate upon our lives, on our condition on the Earth. It demonstrates that nothing is impossible when your heart is open because then it has the force of a volcano: burns everything bad that has no place there.
    It also depends on how you look at things: you can see a ruined house and feel helpless, say and be convinced that nothing good can happen to make it right again or rely on your instinct, on the sound of your heart which says that it can be rebuilt, sparing no efforts and hard work as you know that one day it can be glamorous, beautiful and hospitable again!
    It depends on what path your steps are leaving their marks, on what road you choose to go: on the easy one which implies no sacrifices and only indifference or the hard way, which has some possible obstacles, but which fills your heart with joy and satisfaction. It depends if you want to choose light or darkness, action or ignorance,
    power or weakness…

    Many hugs,
    Carmen Larisa