The Crawling Old Man

I counted in seconds as the clock tick away. It was the end of the day’s work. A time to leave my monotonous routine until the next day. I hurriedly logged myself out, making sure I did not leave anything behind, I scanned through my workstation and dashed out of the office while saying the usual “See you in the morning”.

I half-walked, half-ran to the car. It takes 10 minutes to walk to where I parked my battered car and another 10 minutes to drive to my child’s school before finally heading home where more chores are waiting. This is my life.

However, on this day as I walked to my car, I noticed an old man about 6 foot tall, probably in his 80 ahead of me. In no time at all, I caught up with him. Something came to mind as I glanced back at him. He was in no rush to catch up with me.

I noticed the struggle he faced as he slowly moved one step after another. Tales of the years he outlived all written on his face, his shoulder bent and his skin wrinkled.  He was tired and withdrawn.

I tried to imagine who this man was in his younger years. He had the physique of an athlete, in later years. I tried to imagine his home life, his lifestyle, how he had lived his youth, his friends, family and whether he had children or not.

I was lost in thought, my mind had a race. The reality of life actually dawned on me. We are born to live and die. In this process of living, we met people and lost some. Some people leave permanent marks in our lives while some people left none.

My mind flashed through my childhood and back to the present moment. I have been living on planet earth for more than 4 decades. Four decades and two years to be precise. And I asked myself “Where did the time go?”. “When did I get here and what lies ahead of me?”.

Just like the old man I walked past, the space between my pace shortened as I reached for my car keys. I suddenly became very tired. I had walked away from the old man I left behind, but, he left me worried. Worried about the true meaning of this world. The purpose of our existence.

I drove in silence through the traffic. I wondered what goes on in each driver’s thought. I wondered. I wondered if I am living a life worthy of praise. I wondered if I am a show-off or a brag. I wondered if I have truly justified my existence on earth. I wondered if I worth every breath I am taking. I wondered if I am a liar or a cheat. I wondered if I have been a pain in people’s neck or a pleasure.

I remembered people in my life. The people I have lost. The people I am rearing. I wondered what people really think of me. The real me.

As I picked up my child from school that day, I felt a tinge of emotion washed over me. How does this child see me? What would people say about me?

The crawling old man really did my heading and it all happened in my thought.



12 Replies to “The Crawling Old Man”

  1. Food for thought. Really, we forget our purpose in life busy chasing our so- called ‘dreams ‘ .
    Life is really what it is -we live today and die tomorrow but what is it that you and I will be remembered for when we are long gone?!
    Brilliant write up sis!

  2. Assalaam alaikum my dear sister
    This has really touched me so well I only ask my Maker to aid me in being able to remain open in mindfulness and clear my thoughts leading me to what is right and the ability to take a second look at who I am and what I really represent.

  3. Such a thoughtful and reflective story about us
    Makes one ponder and appreciate what we have and had…
    Makes us think of our parents, grandparents and great grandparents
    Truly it is a wonderful story to share ☺️👍🏽
    Well done sister

  4. Those still in our forties, we still can do much to leave our mark in people’s lives. Prophet Muhammad became a messenger at forty and by the time he was dying at sixty three, he had left a left a mark that would endure till the end of this world.

    1. May the peace and blessings of Allaah be with him. Indeed, making an impact has no age limit.

  5. AND it all happened in the thoughts, yet leaves one tired and exhausted, yet leaves one weakened and exposed. And it all happened in the thoughts.

    Yes, in the thoughts, but he reality is closer home than the closeness of our jugular vein. We aspire to live long, do we imagine the burden of time? Like the crawling old man, we will soon come to realise; then shall we slow down from life’s fast pace to vanity.

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