by Alice Woodrome

"Let me in," said the Traveler, knocking on my door."

"Who's there?" I answered back.

"Trouble," came the reply.

"Go away," said I. "I want no trouble here."

"But I bring gifts," the traveler said. "Empathy and Patience can be yours."

"Things are fine the way they are," I said. "Go away and leave me in peace."

Then trouble went away.

How clever of me, I thought, to stop trouble at my door. If other folks were as smart as I, they'd never let him in.

In time I heard another knock, and asked, "Who is it that disturbs my rest?"

"It's me again," said Trouble, "and Pain is with me now."

"I don't want either of you," said I. "Go find somebody else to pester."

"You can't escape us," Pain replied, and they beat on my door till it rattled. "We'll give you Grace if you open the door."

"I can do without your Grace," I said, as I leaned heavy against the door. "I don't need you. I watch out for myself."

"We'll give you Wisdom," they said, "and Depth of Spirit; but first we must become acquainted."

"No, no," I insisted. "I don't want to know you. I'm contented without your Wisdom."

At length they took their leave and I congratulated myself again for being the captain of my fate. I'll never yield to Trouble or compromise with Pain, I told myself.

Next time Trouble came round my door, he brought a fearful pair. Not only Pain was with him now, but Tragedy led the way. They did not knock, they did not call—Just Bang - my door was down and all three of them were in.

I screamed, I prayed, I bargained; but all to no avail. They unpacked their bags, they settled in, and occupied my life.

True to their word, they brought their gifts. I was given Patience, then Wisdom, and Grace. And if you asked me now if I would I let the Travelers in? I'd have to tell it straight, my friend. It's true the gifts are precious, and I'm glad I have them now, but pound for pound, if the truth is told, they were not worth the freight.