The Old Man in Valencia

Faisal Hoque is founder and CEO at BTM Corporation and founder of research think tank BTM Institute. His newest book is The Power of Convergence.

The Old Man in Valencia | Bibliomotion, Inc.

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Faisal Hoque is founder and CEO at BTM Corporation and founder of research think tank BTM Institute. His newest book is The Power of Convergence. BTM software products, solutions, and leadership development programs create repeatable processes that drive innovation, effective execution, and financial performance of large enterprises, government agencies, and small to medium businesses around the globe. Follow him on Twitter @faisal_hoque.

“Every moment
I shape my destiny with a chisel -
I am the carpenter of my own soul.”
~ Rumi

It has been raining all morning in Valencia, Spain. Around midday, as the sun begins to peek its head out briefly, I decide to venture out for some fresh air. I tell my Spanish taxi driver in half English/half sign language to take me near the ocean. He drops me off in the Paseo Neptuno area.

The area is filled with a bunch of local restaurants, the beach, and yes, the ocean. Given the cool weather and that it’s the tourist off-season – today it is quiet.

I walk for a bit – then randomly walk into a restaurant named La Pepica for some paella. Originating in Valencia, paella was once a poor man’s dish. It used to be made with the short-grained rice of the kind grown in vast paddies just outside of the city of Valencia.

Little did I know when I walked into La Pepica, it was Ernest Hemingway’s favorite place for paella.

Sitting at that lunch table, watching the waves crashing on the sand and the huge poster on the wall of Hemingway eating paella – his large, lighted cigar next to him – made me recall The Old Man And The Sea.

After finishing my lunch in very leisurely manner, I decide to light up my cigar (like Hemingway) and take a long walk on the boardwalk. As I walk outside, my eyes become fixated on an old man who was intensely working on a sand castle. I don’t think I have ever seen such an elaborate effort to create a spectacular sand castle on the beach, only for it to be washed way before you know it. The expression of devotion to one’s virtue comes in many forms, I suppose.

This particular old man was no less than Hemingway’s old man Santiago and his quest to repeatedly struggle to achieve something impossible, regardless of the outcome. Gives a whole new meaning to ‘life’s journey’. His devotion to that endeavor was for it’s own sake, his only focus!

Saint Augustine once said:

“The desire is thy prayers; and if thy desire is without ceasing, thy prayer will also be without ceasing. The continuance of your longing is the continuance of your prayer.”

I have always been of the opinion that there is great honor in one’s struggle for ‘his devotion’ regardless of how vain it seems to others. On this quiet afternoon on the shores of Valencia, this old man only reaffirmed my innate belief of ‘sticking to one’s devotion’.

Inspiration comes in many forms and the universe constantly reminds us of our own life’s journey, and our true devotions. It is up to us to listen to the universe.