As a boy, I was sad and confused. I didn't know where I belonged, who I was, or what I was supposed to do. I was frightened and shy, and so anxious that I had trouble falling asleep at night.
During one long night I looked deep into my heart and wondered – who am I, where do I belong, what am I supposed to do? And then, just before dawn, a big, white angel appeared before me, bathed in golden light. He radiated beauty, joy, and kindness, and I knew he was a messenger of the great light.
"Don't worry," the angel said, "your gifts will be as vast as the sea, as pleasing as the caress of the wind, and as plentiful as the grains of sand on the beach." "But how?" I cried to him, "Everyone knows who they are, and where they should be, and only I am frightened and confused…"
"Go to the sea," whispered the angel and he began to fade away, "that is where you will find all the answers…" "Wait!" I cried, "I still don't understand."
But the angel and his light disappeared, and my mother woke me up, "It's time to get ready for school."
From then on I tried to understand what the angel had meant. Every day I went to the sea, gazed at the water, the air, and the sand. Again and again I tried, I thought, I pondered – but with no success…
And then everything became even more confusing. It seemed as though everyone around me knew exactly what they were meant to do. One loved sport, and another – music.
One loved dance, and another – chess. Only I remained unknowing, frightened and confused.
One night I asked the angel to come back. And again, just before daybreak, he arrived. "A long time has passed," I said, "I tried to understand but I can't, I am still sad and afraid."
"All that you have to do is watch the waves," the angel replied, "listen to the sound of the wind, and feel the grains of sand on the beach."
"But how?" I insisted, "I did all that, and still…"
And again he faded away until he had vanished.
I returned to the sea every day, and I still didn't understand. One day I just gave up. My energy drained away, and I decided to stop trying. And then something happened.
As I stopped trying, the wind became soft and pleasant, and I felt it playing in my hair and caressing my skin. I was suddenly aware of the warmth of the sand I was sitting on and how soft and comfortable it was, and the beauty of the sparkling sea. I sat there for a long time and slowly my heart emptied of worry. I listened to the whisper of the wind as I allowed the heat of the sand to warm my whole body, and my eyes to follow the movement of the waves. For the first time in my life I felt at peace. And there, inside that contentment, I knew that finally I was in the right place. I knew that the good angel was with me for the third time, and that this time he wouldn't leave.
On my way home I crossed the busy street, and something else happened.
I looked at the passersby, and they didn't seem happy at all. They looked troubled, confused, and full of fear. I realized that before, I had been just like them, but I couldn't see them that way, because I was sad and confused myself.
I turned to one man who looked especially sad and asked him what was wrong. The man sighed, and told me that his young daughter was unhappy and lost and she didn't know what to do, and since he was also sad and confused he didn't know how to help her. "Would you be willing to come with me, sir? I have something important to show you," I said, "It's right here, just beyond that hill."
The man hesitated for a moment, but in the end he agreed. The two of us walked across the hill to the beach. I told him the story of my life. I told him about the sadness, the fear, and the confusion, I told him about the angel and about my experience in that same spot, just a short time before.
It seemed as though he understood, and for a minute he stopped worrying. Before he left he thanked me and said,
"It has been a long time since I have been at peace, my boy. I think that now I can finally feel joyful again. Tomorrow I will come back here with my daughter."
Ever since that day, I have brought sad people to that place, as many as there are waves in the ocean, and they have learned how to listen to the song of the wind, and their hearts once again have become as warm and soft as the sand.