Years ago, I heard this little “fable” and I’ve always remembered it, and tried to apply it to my life.
The story goes:
A wise, old man spent much of his day, sitting by the city gate making conversation with those who passed by.
One day, a traveler approached and said, “Hey, old man, I am just arriving here to live. What kind of people will I find here?”
The old man answered with a question. “What kind of people were in the town you have just left?”
The traveler proceeded to rant and rave about how awful his former neighbors were and recounted all the slights that he felt he had suffered at their hands.
When he was done, the old man answered his question, “I’m sorry to tell you that that is the sort of people you will find here too.”
The traveler walked away grumbling about his sorry lot in life.
Later in the day a second traveler arrived at the gate, and also approached the wise, old man. He also asked about the type of town this was, and the old man answered him with the same question he had asked the first traveler.
“What sort of people lived in the town you are coming from?”
The second traveler answered, “That was a wonderful town. It was filled with people who went out of their way to help each other, and treated each other with kindness and love.”
The very, very wise old man then answered, “Then that is the kind of people you will find here.”
May God help each of us to look for the best in those around us — because what we look for is what we will find.