The parson kept his sweat shirt on despite feeling warm. The air in which he stood was frigid, especially for one accustomed to Georgia temperatures. The parson’s warmth resulted from the labor in which he was involved.
One major goal of the parson was to get the side of the “mountain” on which he lived landscaped before he departed this earth. With the passing of each year a slower rate of result intensified the desire for completion. Thus on the first day in a long while without rain or snow, the parson re-engaged his efforts.
After a few hours work, a railroad tie was being wrestled into place. After dropping the uplifted end the parson sucked in air, removed his hat and wiped the sweat from his forehead. As he bent over to square the tie with the one below it a car horn blew.
Looking toward the street the he saw Carson Rawlings, one of the wealthier men in the community. Carson did not attend church, but he and the parson had become friends through their mutual involvement in homeless issues. The parson headed toward the street to greet his friend.
“You’re a bit old to be dragging railroad ties about, Parson,” said Carson.
“Tell me about it,” responded the parson. “And I’m getting older every year.”
Carson stepped out of his car. He looked up the hill toward the parson’s house to take in the fruit of the parson’s labor.
“What are you planning to do with that bank you’ve dug out?” asked Carson.
“Well, I’m hoping to put a small water garden there with a waterfall just in front of the front porch.”
“And over there?” asked Carson pointing to the opposite side of the driveway.
“I’m going to terrace that bank and hopefully put a different variety of roses on each level.”
“I hate to put you in touch with your mortality, Parson, but do you honestly think you’re going to finish this before you die with only a wheelbarrow, pick and shovel, and elbow grease?”
“Well, you know the saying, Carson,” the parson smiled. “It’s not the destination; it’s the journey.”
Carson chuckled. “Look, Parson, how about I assign a crew to come over here and get this finished for you. You could show them how you want it and they’d take care of the labor.”
The parson thanked Carson but told him he couldn’t accept that.
“Parson, we both know I’ve got so much money it’s a sin; and in ten years you’re going to be as old as God. So, let me do this for you. I watched you lugging that railroad tie up that hill. Letting me send a crew actually would help me because I have to keep them on the payroll but work’s slow. And, good gracious, when you lie down every night from doing this you must really feel the pain.”
The parson smiled at his friend. He patted him on his arm. “That’s exactly why I can’t let you do this for me, Carson.”
“I don’t understand.”
“If I let you do this for me I’d miss the joy that always follows the pain.”