Friday, March 29, 2013

Living On The Edge–How Close Do You Dare?

* A musing somewhat continued from “Preventing A Disaster – Or Preparing To Survive One”, originally posted on November 29, 2012, "Divide and Conquer", originally posted in August of 2012, and “Financial Crisis”, originally posted on March of 2008.  There is some benefit to reading those first but it is not required.

This series, a departure from my usual musings,  is inspired as a result of conversations with former senior advisors to multiple Presidents of the United States and senior officers in the US Military. *

John paused for a moment and wiped the sweat from his brow.  The air was filled with the scent of pine and insects buzzed busily around him.

His colleague, whom he had just recently met at a conference stopped about 20 yards ahead of him, turned and smiled.  “You’re not tired yet, surely””, he said jovially.

John examined his colleague closely and noticed that he hadn’t even broken a sweat.

“I’m ok”, he replied, determined to see what his new friend had insisted he must see.

30 minutes of arduous hiking later, John suddenly crested a small outcropping and found himself on the peak of the mountain they had been climbing.

“Beautiful, isn’t it?”, his colleague proclaimed, his hands spread as if to embrace the valley spread far below them.

John was overcome by the beauty he saw and found himself speechless.

“I wonder what it will be like when it’s all gone”, mused his colleague quietly.

Snapping awake from his reverie, John turned to him and said “What do you mean?”

His colleague motioned him closer to the edge and John approached tentatively, fearful of the dizzying height.

Suddenly his colleague grabbed him and swung him over the edge.  John’s feet gripped the edge of the cliff but his upper body leaned dangerously over the precipice, the iron grip of his colleague being all that separated him from certain death.

The valley spun dizzily below him.  John grabbed his colleague’s arm with both hands and stared into his face, terrified at the realization that he was about to die.

His colleague’s face was stoic and his eyes burned into John’s.

“For the love of God, what are you doing?”, cried John as he felt his colleagues eyes burrow into his psyche.

“For the love of God, you say”, his colleague said. “What are you afraid of?  Don’t you enjoy living on the edge?”.

“Not like this”, John stammered.

“What do you mean?”, replied his colleague.  “You live in a world where you are surrounded by beauty and yet you seem content to live on the edge all the time, always threatening to destroy yourselves with weapons, always using the downtrodden as a stepping stone for your own personal needs, taking from the earth as you please and not paying attention to those who would use you for their own personal gain, no matter how dangerous their intention or how problematic their result.”

John’s feet slipped a little and he felt his heart wanting to explode out of his chest.

His colleague continued.

“Forces are at work that threaten the unlimited potential that you have.  A beautiful Life doesn’t happen by accident, you know.  It takes effort and intention to create a beautiful Life in a world that has forces of evil and darkness intent on destroying that beauty, wilfully or accidentally”.

He shook John a little, as if to emphasize what he had just said.

“So you can choose to allow those forces to continue their work or you can choose to do something about it?  Which do you choose, John?”.  His colleague leaned John a little further back and John’s panic increased.

John tried to avert his colleague’s intense stare.  He felt like they were examining his soul.

“Ok, ok, I’ll do something about it.  What should I do?”, pleaded John.

“Why should I believe you?”, replied his colleague.  “People will say anything to please someone with no intention to follow through once imminent danger has passed”.

“I mean it.  Please, for the love of God, don’t let me die like this”, John screamed.  The echo of his voice mocked him as it reverberated in the valley below.

His colleague studied John’s face carefully and suddenly drew him up onto the peak and released him.  John collapsed, his body soaked with sweat and his heart beating painfully as he shook uncontrollably on the ground.

His colleague knelt down and helped him up.  Steadying him by his shoulders, his eyes looked into John’s and he said firmly, “2000 years ago, you were given a warning, you have been given repeated warnings since and still you chose not to listen.”

“I don’t understand”, replied John, trying to avert his colleague’s gaze.

“You will”, replied his colleague, suddenly reverting back to the gentle person whom John had befriended.  His colleague smiled, put his arm around John’s shoulders and said,  “Come, let’s go down the mountain before darkness sets in”.

John felt strength returning to his legs and started towards the path that led back down the mountain.

As he reflected on whether he was with an enlightened soul or a madman, a thought suddenly came to mind as he realized that he had blindly followed this man and yet he still didn’t even know his name.

When he realized how stupid and absurd he had been to follow a complete stranger to such a remote place, he turned quickly to confront his colleague.

And was startled to discover ….

….. that he was alone.

To be continued.


© 2013 – Harry Tucker – All Rights Reserved


  1. In this story, John is the reader. When I read it, John was me. And, truly, I identify with him. I often feel as though I'm being hung over a cliff and listening to a voice tell me that I'm focusing on the wrong things, and that I need to wake up and effect positive change. Unfortunately, I also identify with how the stranger disappears before he can say how.

    What stops me from following up on the warnings? Fear, comfort, ignorance, lack of focus? Probably all of these.

    I look forward to the continuance of the story, Harry. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Hi Nathan,

    Thanks for your kind comment. I am intrigued by your interpretation.

    What stops any of us from following up on warnings in Life? Many of the gurus that claim to have the answers clearly don't have such answers, otherwise most of us would be operating much closer to our potential, individually and collectively.

    I would be curious to hear your understanding of who the stranger is. :-)

    Thanks again, Nathan - create a great day!