87 days, 627 miles, Harold, a 65-year-old man, started a walk-and-go hike.
He wants to go to visit his friend who is terminally ill, because he has a belief in his heart: as long as he is still walking, she will be alive.
This is the story in the novel “A Man’s Pilgrimage” by the British writer Rachel Joyce .
The novel was shortlisted for the 2012 Man Booker Prize and sold in 38 countries.
Harold’s pilgrimage is also a journey of heart. He sorted out his bad life and completed self-salvation.
After reading this story, you will understand that on the way of self-salvation, everyone should have three kinds of power.
Harold, 65, is a retired man who has worked in the brewery for 45 years.
His whole life was spent step by step, but a letter broke the calm life.
Queenie, a long-lost friend, wrote to say goodbye because she had cancer.
Queenie was his female colleague 20 years ago. She was a newcomer, short and fat, and was abused by her boss and ridiculed by her colleagues.
Once, Harold ran into and comforted her who was hiding from crying, and the two became good friends who talked about everything since then.
When Harold suffered the loss of his son, Queenie did her best to comfort him.
In a drunken gaffe, Harold smashed the owner’s mother’s belongings.
The boss, who has always been cruel, was furious, and everyone was silent, but the weak Queenie stepped forward and took the blame.
Not only suffered atrocities from the boss, but also lost his livelihood job on the spot.
She left without saying goodbye and has not been heard from since.
Harold was filled with guilt, but never did anything about it.
He wrote a feeble reply letter, walked through one postbox after another, but was unwilling to put it in.
A girl at the gas station encouraged him to fight for it with faith, and everything he wanted would come true.
The cautious Harold suddenly decided to walk to Berwickshire to visit Queenie.
He firmly believed that as long as he walked over by himself, Queenie would be able to survive.
So, without telling his family, without bringing any equipment, not even a mobile phone, he went straight on the road.
Driven by a sudden idea, Harold embarked on a pilgrimage alone without any preparation.
The destination was 627 miles away, and he was just an old and frail 65-year-old man, but he didn’t hesitate at all.
Not afraid of age, not afraid of the distance, not concerned about the result, he just took a firm step forward.
But in life, how many people can be as bold as Harold?
The work is not going well, and I am afraid that I will not find a better way out, so I can only hold back and do a job I don’t like for the rest of my life;
Unhappy marriage, and no courage to break the shackles of marriage, can only be trapped in the siege of marriage and feel sorry for oneself;
Want to succeed, set countless ambitious goals, but delay in taking action, never seem to be ready.
We are always looking forward and backward, hesitating, afraid that the actual conditions will not allow, and we are afraid that the future results will not be satisfactory.
But only by taking action can we know the result and make our dreams come true.
Blake once said: “The kind of people who hope and never act are the hotbeds of the plague.”
The biggest regret in life is never failure, but what I could have done.
Immediate departure is better than thousands of wanderings; immediate action is better than countless fantasies.
Mobility is the key to making dreams come true.
Departure is only an instant decision, but it is extremely difficult to execute.
The feet are injured, the shoes are rotten, and every step is a contest and test of willpower.
The pension was also gone like running water. Harold simply gave up staying in the hotel, picked up a broken sleeping bag, and rested in the open air.
When everyone heard about his actions, they were all surprised. Some were puzzled and ridiculed, while others praised and encouraged.
After his deeds were reported by the media, more and more people joined the pilgrimage team.
I thought that many people are powerful, but it is difficult to adjust the consensus and the efficiency is low. Some people even use pilgrimage to market themselves.
In the noisy crowd, Harold felt lonely and desolate.
Later, Wilf, whom Harold regarded as his son, escaped.
Rich led the large army to abandon the weak Harold and arrived in Berwickshire first, just to attract attention.
Harold continued his lonely journey without hesitation.
With 16 miles to go before Berwick, he was on the verge of breaking down and called his wife, Maureen, to say he couldn’t go on.
Uncharacteristically, his wife encouraged him to complete the journey.
Because she knew that if he fell short so close to his goal, he would regret it for the rest of his life.
Harold gritted his teeth and moved on. After 87 days, he finally saw Queenie, who was dying, and let go of the guilt and regret he had been carrying for more than 20 years.
Faced with doubts from everyone and numerous obstacles, Harold insisted on completing the pilgrimage alone.
In the sea of life, many people would rather get lost in the bustling crowd than wake up in the lonely place.
In order to escape loneliness, we often follow the crowd blindly and follow what others say.
Did not find a suitable partner, but was afraid of falling into the ranks of “leftover men and women”, so they were about to get married;
If you have different opinions or have other innovations, but you are afraid of being shot, you can only go along with it and act in a low-key manner;
I like to be alone quietly, but I am afraid that others will say that you don’t fit in with others, so I go against my will and get tired of coping.
However, the road to success has always been lonely.
Solitude is the ability to enjoy solitude and persist in oneself.
A true brave man, even if he is questioned by the whole world, still insists on his own opinion and moves forward alone.
Schopenhauer wrote in “The Wisdom of Life”:
In this world, with very few exceptions, we actually have only two choices: either to be lonely or to be vulgar.
It is those times of solitary practice that make you unique.
Only with the power of loneliness can we get rid of mediocrity and move towards ourselves.
On the pilgrimage, time goes back, and the past reappears vividly.
Harold lacked the warmth of his family since he was a child. His mother ran away from home, and his father brought back all kinds of aunts.
At the age of 16, he was kicked out of the house by his father and began to live alone.
The misfortune of the original family formed Harold’s taciturn character.
Harold and Maureen fell in love at first sight at the ball and gave birth to a son David after marriage.
He regards his son as a treasure, but he doesn’t know how to be a father, and he always shows alienation.
David was smart and was admitted to Cambridge University, but was plagued by depression.
After graduating from university, he didn’t find a job, so he drank alcohol at home all day long to relieve his worries.
Harold didn’t know what to do but silently throw the bottle away, and David ended up committing suicide.
Maureen was distraught and accused him of not fulfilling his father’s responsibilities, and Harold, who was not good at words, didn’t know how to comfort his wife.
Maureen moved out of the bedroom and talked to herself all day long in front of David’s .
Harold was often drunk, so he got into trouble in the winery and made Queenie wronged.
The husband and wife have become strangers under the same roof, and there is an unfathomable gap between them.
This pilgrimage made them re-examine themselves.
Harold regretted the hugs and love he missed again and again, and began to try to make up for it.
Everywhere he went, he called Maureen and sent cards, expressing his gratitude and apology that had been buried for many years before Queenie died.
Maureen also accidentally discovered Harold’s love for his son from old photos, and began to realize the harm caused by her groundless accusations.
From her initial opposition to encouraging Harold not to give up, she rushed to accompany him to Queenie’s funeral.
After a lapse of 20 years, they opened the floodgates of communication again, so the lost love was regained.
Poor communication caused Harold to drift away from the people around him, and he became an isolated island.
Harold’s dilemma often appears in reality.
In a marriage, two people who love each other become a mess because of poor communication;
At work, due to poor communication, many things that could have been successfully completed were sidetracked;
In interpersonal communication, two close friends, because the misunderstanding was not resolved in time, finally died of old age and did not communicate with each other.
as the saying goes:
“All misunderstandings in this world come from lack of understanding, all conflicts come from lack of communication, and all mistakes come from mistrust.”
Most of the confusion in interpersonal communication comes from poor communication.
One didn’t talk, one didn’t ask, one had a misunderstanding, and one didn’t explain, and they just walked away.
Running water does not rot, and the hinges do not become moths. Only good communication can turn a pool of stagnant water into a trickle.
Communication ability is the basis of harmonious relationship and the thrust of success.
As one book review puts it:
“The real pilgrimage is to return to the home in one’s heart on the way to a distant place.”
An unattainable goal, finally became a reality.
All Harold did was keep putting one foot in front of the other, insisting on going his own way despite the ridicule of others.
And this walk not only repaired his heart full of holes, but also gave countless you and me who are confused about the future an antidote:
The ability to act decisively is the key to changing the status quo;
Persisting in the solitude of self is the secret to get rid of mediocrity;
Expressive communication skills are the driving force for maintaining relationships.