Stockholm was at its busiest this time of the year. It was early spring and people poured out of the shops in numbers as they chased the seasonal fashion spree. Gerard and I could just manage to keep abreast with each other as we dodged our way through the crowds. We headed for the Indonesian restaurant that stood boxed in between a string of designer wear shops, our stomachs already grumbling in anticipation of what was to come. It hadn’t been a difficult decision to make as we had chosen the Saturday out from our usual weekly habitat in Gavle, a small remote city in the north of the country. We were already suffocating from the ciabatta bread that was served each day in the confines of our hotel and feeling more confident with the power of our Swedish Krona we decided that a day out in the country’s capital could do us some good.
Our morning had been spent combing parts of the city centre that headed towards the Baltic Sea. We had walked through narrow streets with very tall buildings that dwarfed even the likes of the tall Scandinavian population. Now we were a hungry pair drowning in our woes and looking for compensation of the nutritive kind.
We entered the Indonesian restaurant and immediately decided upon the top floor. The crowd was lighter and with the kind of day we had faced on the outside we needed the peace to hear ourselves talk. I could already feel the nerves in my feet screaming in agony at me and I knew standing in a queue as most of the other customers did to seek the best seats on the ground floor was out of the question. I needed to rest from our three hours trek and it didn’t matter to me whether or not the upstairs was an unpopular choice.
I listened to the familiar clatter of dishes and pans that vibrated through the swinging doors as the waiters rushed in and out of the kitchen and knew that my time in Sweden was coming to an end and I could sense that Gerard was aware of this. It was interesting to see what Gerard would say considering that I had made up my mind to leave the project even before we got to Sweden. Gerard had become a good friend immediately after joining the company. He was a French graduate and needed a mentor to see him through the business world. I elected for this position seeing the potential in his ambition hoping to pass on what little experience I had gathered through the years. We had already worked together on other projects and it had now become apparent that I needed to start withdrawing my support. It was a tough thing to do because I was used to making the difference, seeing the spoils of my work burn holes in the eyes of customers. However this was Gerard’s time and even though I was pushing company policy I had a responsibility to his development.
‘You cannot do this to me, man,’ he said in his calm French accent. ‘We came here together so we should leave together, what would I do after work? This is crazy.’
‘I know, but you need the experience,’ I spoke persuasively hoping that he would gain favour in the positive side of my argument. I knew it was weak to throw this in at the time but the reality of the situation was that the time on his own in the realms of a deserted environment was what Gerard needed.
The spiritual world bears a relation to the many trends of events that manifests themselves in our lives. Our ways as man seek refuge behind mortal thoughts of wisdom, kindness and a justice that is served to the pleasure of man. There are several things that went on between my friend and I that I found apposite of wisdom in the spiritual world. The spiritual food we pass on to each other these days is irrelevant to the hunger we face. We carry on in our own conceit believing that we are helping one another yet what we require spiritually is rarely what is provided.
Today I don’t work with my friend for I left that job a while back but my friend told me something a year later that made me realize I had made a difference in his life. He claimed that in the first instance he had thought I was arrogant to walk away from the project and assume that it was his duty to carry on. However he had built a name for himself and the strength to manage a project from that experience. Today, I believe that I passed on a spiritual strength through listening to the needs of my friend’s spirit rather than his heart. I cannot speak with confidence that I have done this successfully in all cases but it is an example of the kind of mortal weaknesses we all face.