Stories & Reflections
i picked up paulo coelho’s like a flowing river a few days ago at mph, and i’d just finished reading mitch albom’s for one more day.
paulo coelho’s books are, like mitch albom’s, thought-inspiring and some ideas jump out at you, depending on what answers to your particular frame of mind.
for one more day examines the relationship between mother and son – a son’s struggle between being “daddy’s boy and mommy’s boy”, an adolescence’s difficult time with his mother, and as adults, how sometimes we take our parents for granted still, always assuming that they will always be around us. although i like this book, i find tuesdays with morrie a better read.
i’m hooked on paulo coelho’s works ever since candice introduced the alchemist to me three years ago (which also helped tremendously in my interview with the professors from nus arts & social sciences that year). like the flowing river is a collection of his short stories and his reflections, which like his other works, explores the meaning of life. i especially like his preface, where he described what it means to be a writer. one realizes that, like many things which have evolved, so does words. a word carries many meaning; besides the primary one as explained by the dictionary and by its root word, societies and perceptions add new layers and meanings to it. that is what coelho did in his explanation of a writer.
one of his stories highlighted the siginificance of a pencil’s qualities, which guide us in our lives:
a. a pencil’s function is for us to write with; one may be very capable of great things, but behind that capability, one always need guidance.
b. a sharpener brings suffering to a pencil once in a while. similary, one suffers pain once in while in life, but realize that the sufferings make you sharper, better.
c. a pencil allows an eraser to rub out mistakes – revisiting your mistake and correcting it as you go along may not be bad. it keeps you on track.
d. a pencil has two layers – an outer wooden casing and an inner graphite, which is where its essence lays. one’s soul is the essence beyond one’s appearance, which one has to pay attention to.
e. a pencil leaves a mark. in the same way, whatever one does leaves a mark as well; therefore, be aware of your every action.
there are many things we are aware of, and many things that we know about. it is just that sometimes, we have a tendency to let these things fall into the back of our minds. especially when we make mistakes. how much do we really want to revisit that memory stored inside us and actively seek ways of correcting it? we do, however, run the incident over and over again in our minds and think of a thousand million ways that “i could have handled it”. but do we run through in our minds how we want to salvage it? is backward-looking a human nature, or is it really, a choice?
in another of his recollections, he talked of the visit with widow of the late henry miller, who was about 30 – 40 years younger than her late husband. she did not get any part of the inheritance, which was divided between his ex-wives, but yet was not at all bitter about it. “love was enough,” she’d said.
love is really enough, when you know that you’d had spent quality time together.