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August 01, 2017 Tuesday 12:22:49 PM IST

To Change the Face of the World

Reflections

Once it was a mountain filled with all kinds of wild trees and shrubs. It was home to a variety of colorful birds as there were many fruit-bearing trees there. There were also harmless animals like deer which found pasture in the woods.

 

But as years went by, people from the valley encroached on the mountain and felled trees for firewood as well as for other needs. Pretty soon, the mountain lost almost all of its trees and became a grazing area for the cows and goats of the village.

 


Occasionally children used to go up the mountain to play. Once, while they were there, they saw an elderly woman planting seeds of some trees.

 

“Grandma, what are you doing?” they asked.

 


“I am trying to change the face of this mountain,” she replied with a smile.

 

They didn’t really understand what she meant. They ran chasing a butterfly that came their way.

 


Many years passed. Among those children many of them went to distant places for higher education or  jobs. One day when one of them came back to the village after being away for a long time he had the surprise of his life. The mountain had become like a forest again with huge trees growing all over the place.

 

“What happened to the mountain?” he asked the first man he met in the village.

 


“It looks beautiful with all kinds of trees.”

 

“Don’t you remember the elderly woman who used to climb the mountain every day to plant the seeds of trees?” the man replied.

 


“The seeds she planted made all the difference.”

 

He then remembered the words of the elderly woman on the mountain and understood the meaning of what she had told him and his friends.

 


Can one person transform the face of a mountain? It looks impossible at first sight. However, one elderly woman was able to achieve this seemingly impossible task. Like the story of this woman we come across so many people in history who have been successful in changing the face of their community or their nation, or even of the whole world. Abraham Lincoln, Mahatma Gandhi and Mother Teresa are some of the shining examples among them.

 

We may not have the aweinspiring charism and the enduring commitment of these great people to change the face of this world. However, through our positive and creative contributions, we can always change the face of our society. At least by changing our own faces we can bring a positive impact in our society.

 


When individuals become better, our society becomes better. When our societies become better, our country becomes better. When our countries become better, the whole world becomes better. That means, for the world to become better, first of all we should become better. But when it comes to the question of changing our own faces we often come to a standstill. That is because it involves making radical changes in our life and lifestyle.

 

Making changes in our life and lifestyle first of all implies that there are things to be corrected in our life. But how many of us have the willingness to accept that we need correction in our life? Don’t we often think that whatever we do is right and whatever the others do is wrong? Hence, don’t we assume that changes are needed not in us but in others? In other words, without making any substantial changes in own life we are waiting for others to make changes in their life.

 


But if we refuse to make positive changes in our life, the face of the world will remain ugly, even if others make changes in their life. We can always improve our life by better behavior and by doing good for others. And the good we do will be reflected on our faces which will in turn reflect on the face of our world.

 

Let us come back to the story of the elderly woman. She climbed up and down the mountain enduring hardship not expecting any immediate benefit for herself. On the contrary, she did it knowing that it would take many years before her efforts would bear fruit. But she knew it would really benefit others especially the new generations. She worked hard to change the face of the mountain. By doing so she was trying to change the face of the world.

 


Let us also try to do our share in changing the face of the world. But let us do that beginning with  hanging our own faces. Then the shine on our faces will be reflected on the face of the world, making it a better place for everyone to live.

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