In the middle of the night, Leon woke up with a start. He had heard something. When he opened his eyes he found his room flooded with light. There was someone standing before him but the light was so bright he couldn’t see properly.

“I have come from the Heavens, young Leon, to ask you to do something for me: there is a large rock outside your cabin that I want you to push with all your might.”

The voice was melodious and filled Leon with lightness and peace.

The next day Leon did as he was asked – but found the rock was huge and didn’t budge. He tried again the next day but with no success. On the third day, he made another attempt, this time pushing for much longer. The following day he stopped his work in the fields to work on the rock.

Days turned into weeks as Leon toiled. He would square his shoulders against the cold rough surface and apply all his strength. By the end of each day, he was sore all over, but still the rock remained lodged in the ground. Worn out, Leon felt discouraged and angry.

“You’ve been pushing against the rock for ages – in vain. It hasn’t moved an inch. How long you going to keep doing this?” he reasoned with himself. Leon knew the task was impossible. He felt like a failure.

Falling on his knees, Leon closed his eyes and made a prayer.
“I have laboured long and hard in your service and put all my effort into the task you asked of me. Yet, after all this time I have not shifted the rock. What is wrong? Why am I failing?”

“Dear Leon, you have done everything perfectly, I am very pleased,” said the same sweet and gentle voice Leon had heard before. “I told you to push against the rock with all your strength, which you have done. I didn’t say anything about moving the rock. Your only task was to push.”

Hearing these words, Leon opened his eyes. The room was again filled with effulgence.

“Do you really think you have failed Leon? Look at yourself. Your arms have become strong and shoulders powerful. Your back is sinewy and brown, your hands are firm and legs supple. You have grown and your strength far surpasses your previous state. I wanted this for you so you can face and overcome what may come in the future. You have been obedient, determined and resolute – and all for me. These are not small things. Your task was to push, and have trust and faith in my wisdom; my task is to move the rock.”


The story finishes with an acronym:

When everything seems to go wrong … just PUSH
when you feel down … just PUSH
when you lose things important you … just PUSH
when people let you down … just PUSH
when you feel alone and misunderstood … just PUSH