November 19, 2012 by Angel Pricer
…a Real Life Shareable Parable
This life that we are given is a gift to be revealed in all its glory and splendor, from mundane to ecstatic. Living this life in the light of NaNoWriMo, many gifts have been revealed through painful, trying and triumphant times, and all in the span of 19 days.
It is with no apology whatsoever that I report having written many words, yet counted not a one so far. I’ve been blessed instead with a holy assignment to live the clarity I requested coming upon the first of this month, in anticipation of writing a novel that had, at the very least, a clear and easy to follow outline.
Life seldom conforms to our idea of how it should be, and I for one am infinitely grateful for all the ways it comes back, time and again, to show me just how limited my perceptions can be. Truly, nothing is really as it seems. Nothing, that is, except for Love.
I do not refer here to the sentimental love which we have grown accustomed to expect, suffering in its apparent absence. This love of which I speak is born and revealed through the sacrifice of such ideas and burns through all illusions that we have ever created. This love, as illustrated by Khalil Gibran in the Prophet,
“Like sheaves of corn he gathers you unto himself.
He threshes you to make you naked.
He sifts you to free you from your husks.
He grinds you to whiteness.
He kneads you until you are pliant;
And then he assigns you to his sacred fire, that you may become sacred bread for God’s sacred feast.”
Let him who would speak the tongue of love be revealed to its full glory, not left wanting for what seems to be missing, stolen. It is in this spirit that I bow and share a parable, crafted by the hand of my dream-inspired beloved after being so kneaded.
The Breadth of Life
So it was that there lived a man and a woman who chanced to meet upon a hill.
They struck up a friendship, finding kindred spirits in one another. Together, they broke bread. The man would procure various foods, taking pleasure in the acquisition of exotic items that the woman liked. She would prepare and cook them, with skill and affection. They enjoyed their repasts, savoring the meal and the company.
This continued for many years. Gradually, the woman grew more and more sad and the man saw her despair weighing heavily upon her. He tried speaking to her about it, but she could not pinpoint the source of her unhappiness and the man could do nothing to ease it.
“I’ve heard of a place,” he mentioned one morning, “where a person can leap off a cliff and plunge into cool water. It is said to be exhilarating. Perhaps we should try it out?”
The woman agreed and together they travelled to the place he’d described. Without further ado, they each stepped off.
The man climbed out of the water, shaking off the cold, and nodded, a thoughtful expression on his face. The woman’s expression was altogether transformed. Her eyes were wide, her cheeks flushed.
“I need to think on this,” she said.
Her sorrow deepened briefly, then changed in tone over the weeks that followed. One day, she explained.
“As I fell, I drew in breaths of air such as I haven’t had since childhood! I was transported to a place I’d always known. We need to get back there, to that place. It’s where we must be.”
The man looked around. They had built a home. Children ran and played about.
“It sounds a marvelous place,” he replied, “Can we not visit there from here? Is it not the same air we breathe each day, the only difference being how we breathe it?”
She shook her head, dismayed at his reluctance.
“No. You clearly do not know the way. I do, and you must follow.”
But he could not.
Days became weeks, weeks became months, and months became years. The man tried many things, but the woman grew only more distant. She no longer enjoyed their meals together and would only cook them out of a sense of obligation. It wore at her and the man felt it hanging about them.
Several times over those years, she told the man how she truly felt, that she no longer wished to eat with him at all. But she relented, and he hoped she would again find a way to enjoy their simple meals, savoring them for what they were.
Finally, she realized. “Perhaps I could enjoy eating these repasts again, but only with a man who sought as I do, to breathe those breaths as I do, who sees that we do not need these base meals to sustain us. Better, I think, would be moving past the need for eating at all.”
The man smiled sadly.
“These meals we make, they are good. They nourish us. We are put here together. These things that are good in life, they too are put here. There is no shame in enjoying them.”
He gestured around, encompassing the home, the trees, the children, the food, even the sky.
“That air you seek, it flows through all of us. We breathe it every day. It does not need to replace our meals. It does not need to replace anything. It simply is, as are we.”
He looked at her earnestly, with great love in his heart.
“You will find that place again when it is time for you to do so. No matter how fast you run there, no matter how slowly you walk, that place will find you, for it is with you already. But there is much around you to enjoy all the while. Our meals, that we had always savored, are not a child’s toys to be set aside, as though we have outgrown them. They are fine and worthy. They are no trap, no impediment. They are a joy in life, and joy is to be treasured while it can.”
Could the woman see that, and know it? Or was she so enamored of seeking that place she’d been, that she wished to hurry to again, that she still disdained all the pleasures that were?
The tale is still being told.