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Authors: Paulo Coelho,Margaret Jull Costa

Manuscript Found in Accra (6 page)

BOOK: Manuscript Found in Accra
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A sunset is always more beautiful when it is covered with irregularly shaped clouds, because only then can it reflect the many colors out of which dreams and poetry are made.

Pity those who think: “I am not beautiful. That’s why Love has not knocked at my door.” In fact, Love
did knock, but when they opened the door, they weren’t prepared to welcome Love in.

They were too busy trying to make themselves beautiful first, when, in fact, they were fine as they were.

They were trying to imitate others, when Love was looking for something original.

They were trying to reflect what came from outside, forgetting that the brightest light comes from within.

And a young man who would have to leave that night said:

“I was never sure which direction to take.”

 

And he answered:

Like the sun, life spreads its light in all directions.

When we are born, we want everything at once and cannot control the energy we have been given.

But, if we want to make a fire, we have to focus all the sun’s rays on one spot.

And the great secret that the Divine Energy revealed to the world was fire. Not just fire for burning, but the fire that transforms wheat into bread.

And there comes a moment when we need to focus that inner fire so that our life will have some meaning.

Then we ask the heavens: “But what meaning?”

Some immediately brush this question aside; it’s bothersome, it won’t let you sleep, and there’s no easy answer. They are the ones who, later on, will live tomorrow as if it were yesterday.

And when the Unwanted Visitor arrives, they will say: “My life was too short; I squandered my blessing.”

Others embrace
the question, but since they don’t know the answer, they start to read what was written by those who have already faced up to the challenge. And suddenly they find an answer which they judge to be correct.

When that happens, they become the slaves of that answer. They draw up laws intended to force others to accept what they believe to be the sole reason for existence. They build temples to justify it and courts for those who reject what they consider to be the absolute truth.

Finally, there are those who saw at once that the question was a trap; there is no answer.

Instead of wasting time grappling with that trap, they decide to act. They go back to their childhood and look for what filled them with enthusiasm then and—disregarding the advice of their elders—devote their life to it.

Because Enthusiasm is the Sacred Fire.

They slowly discover that their actions are linked to
a mysterious impulse beyond human knowledge. And they bow their heads as a sign of respect for that mystery and pray that they will not be diverted from a path they do not know, a path which they have chosen to travel because of the flame burning in their hearts.

They use their intuition when they can and resort to discipline when intuition fails them.

They seem quite mad. And sometimes they behave like mad people, but they are not mad. They have discovered true Love and Will.

And those two things reveal the goal and the direction that they should follow.

Their will is crystalline, their Love is pure, and their steps determined. In moments of doubt or sadness, they never forget: “I am an instrument. Allow me to be an instrument capable of manifesting Your Will.”

They have chosen their road, and they may understand what their goal is only when they find themselves before the Unwanted Visitor. That is the beauty of the person who continues onward with enthusiasm and respect for the mystery of life as his only guide; his road is beautiful and his burden light.

The goal can be large or small, it can be far away or
right next door; he goes in search of it with respect and honor. He knows what each step means and how much it cost in effort, training, and intuition.

He focuses not just on the goal to be reached, but on everything happening around him. He often has to stop because his strength fails him.

At such moments, Love appears and says: “You think you’re heading toward a specific point, but the whole justification for the goal’s existence lies in your love for it. Rest a little, but as soon as you can, get up and carry on. Because ever since your goal found out that you were traveling toward it, it has been running to meet you.”

Those who
ignore the question, those who answer it, and those who understand that the only way to confront it is to take action will all meet the same obstacles and be made happy by the same things, but only the person who accepts God’s plan with humility and courage knows that he is on the right road.

And a woman who was getting on in years and had never found a husband said:

“Love has always passed me by.”

 

And he answered:

In order to hear Love’s words, you must allow Love to approach.

However, when it does draw near, we fear what it might say to us, because Love is free and is not ruled by our will or by what we do.

All lovers know this but refuse to accept it. They think they can seduce Love through submission, power, beauty, wealth, tears, and smiles.

True Love, however, is the love that seduces and will never allow itself to be seduced.

Love transforms, Love heals. But sometimes it lays deadly traps and ends up destroying the person who decided to surrender himself completely. How can the force that moves the world and keeps the stars in their places be at once so creative and so devastating?

We are used to thinking that what we give is the same as what we receive, but people who love expecting to be loved in return are wasting their time.

Love is an act of faith, not an exchange.

Contradictions are what make love grow. Conflicts are what allow love to remain by our side.

Life is too short for us to keep important words like “I love you” locked in our hearts.

But do not always expect to hear the same words back. We love because we need to love. Otherwise, love loses all meaning and the sun ceases to shine.

A rose dreams of enjoying the company of bees, but none appears. The sun asks:

“Aren’t you tired of waiting?”

“Yes,” answers the rose, “but if I close my petals, I will wither and die.”

And yet, even when Love does not appear, we remain open to its presence. Sometimes, when loneliness seems about to crush everything, the only way to resist is to keep on loving.

Our great
goal in life is to love. The rest is silence.

We need to love. Even when it leads us to the land
where the lakes are made of tears—that secret, mysterious place, the land of tears!

Tears speak for themselves. And when we feel that we have cried all we needed to cry, they still continue to flow. And just when we believe that our life is destined to be a long walk through the Vale of Sorrows, the tears suddenly vanish.

Because we managed to keep our heart open, despite the pain.

BOOK: Manuscript Found in Accra
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