Sunday, May 29, 2011

"Once Upon A Time"

Once upon a time, there was a little girl born to a privileged family who always dressed her in ribbons and lace. To all those looking at her, you would have thought she lived like a princess, but what those looking from afar did not know she was actually a slave. Her mother and father had left the kingdom of the Great Emperor, and were captured by the glamour of the Dark Enemy.

You see, the Dark Enemy wanted to own the little girl forever to break the family line of priests to the Great Emperor, so her family, trapped by the glitter of the Dark Enemy’s camp, were given a magic mirror to hold up for the little girl to look into, and show only what the Dark Enemy wanted her to see of herself. The mirror showed an ugly, bent and twisted child, totally unlovable. Her family, wanting to please the Dark Enemy, believed what the mirror showed…So they fell into the trap of the Dark Enemy and told her that the only worth she had was to be silent and serve her family as a slave. She was taught she should always be grateful to them for teaching her what her role was in life, and that she should be thankful that they bothered to take the time to train her to be an excellent, quiet, obedient, and respectful slave…she was so ugly and bent, no-one would ever love her.

One Sunday, at The Club of Good Moral Values, a guest speaker came to speak of something new. He said that there was a wonderful, gentle, loving Son of the Great Emperor who had hope and love to give anyone who wanted it. That anyone could get a dose of it put right in their hearts. So the little girl, who wanted love and hope so desperately, raised her hand to get some.

Nothing seemed to happen at first. But in a few days, when no one came to talk to her, she picked up the book written all about the Great Emperor and his Son and began to read it. This book was filled with stories of people being forgiven, and saved, and helped by the Great Emperor, and how those who hated the Great Emperor tried to kill the Son, but amazingly when all hope was gone, the Great Emperor’s own power restored his Son to life again; So the Son could share that power and love and hope with anyone who would serve the Great Emperor.

“Oh,” the little girl thought, “If only I could be a slave for the Great Emperor, perhaps my life would get easier.” But about that time, when the father of the little girl discovered she was reading the story of the Great Emperor, he began teaching her that the book was only a myth, and you could pick any myth you want, but that was only for weak slaves. Strong, obedient slaves would never fall for myths like that.

As she grew up, she moved away and found another place far from her home in the Dark Enemy’s camp where there were a lot of people who loved the story of the Great Emperor, and showed her care and love…but no-one ever corrected her view in the Enemy’s mirror that out of habit she carried with her where ever she went. She would gaze in it everyday, hoping to see a difference; and there never was. Sadly, she tried to see what the people saw, and just couldn’t part from the vision in the Enemy’s mirror. And even more sadly, her friends did not know she had this mirror with her.

After selling herself to be the slave of other men, (quite like her own father) she fell ill and went to a doctor for medicine. The doctor gave her the bad news that she would have to take this medicine to keep her a happy slave for the rest of her life. In the fellowship of others who loved the story of the Great Emperor, there was confusion, because she left with no word. I think they tried to find her, but they never knew about her magic mirror of the Dark Enemy.

She decided that the story of the Great Emperor was a big lie, and decided to give up reading it, and accepted her fate to serve as a slave of the Dark Enemy and give up trying to serve the Great Emperor. More doctors saw her unhappiness and tried to give her stronger medicine to take away her sadness, but alas, they also did not know of her magic mirror; they never thought to ask.

After being beaten by her last owner, she decided to leave him because she did realize that even slaves did not deserve to be beaten. So the law court told her she could be free of the ownership contract and she could be all by herself. She still looked into the magic mirror, and with great sadness realized no nice men would want what she saw in the mirror; so she would be satisfied to be alone.

One day, she began feeling sorry for not wanting to serve the Great Emperor, but in despair thought she could never go back, because she did not understand that story clearly. But she dug out her book (she never got rid of it) and began again to read the stories of the Great Emperor once again.

As she read, she began to almost hear a voice calling her. She turned more and more pages until she noticed a story that sounded a lot like her. Another slave, one too disobedient and dirty to see the Son of the Great Emperor, but yet this slave struggled through a dinner party with out an invitation in order to try to beg the Great Emperor’s Son for forgiveness and freedom. She brought an expensive gift of perfumed oil, pored it on his feet, while crying and wiping the Son’s feet with her hair the Son forgave her and set her free.

Free? The Great Emperor’s Son set her free? She never thought she could be free, and not a slave. This was new. But how could she get the Son’s attention? She had no more tears to shed, was too tired from her empty life, and didn’t know what to do. So sitting on her sofa, she closed her eyes and quietly spoke these words, “Oh Great Emperor, I’m so sorry, will you forgive me and set me free like the other slave in the book? I believe in your Son, and your story. Please help me.” All was quiet around her; she did not feel any different. So she went to bed, exhausted.

The next day at work, she found herself humming a little and she felt a bit more energy. A co-worker stopped her and asked “You look different today, better…what has changed?” And to her own surprise stated “Well, I decided to serve the Great Emperor again.” The co-worker grabbed her in a bear hug and said, “I have been praying for you to come back to the Great Emperor for a long time, I’m glad you came back!”

That evening the woman was curious if she looked different, so she went to the magic mirror and strangely there was a crack in it. But to her own eyes, she still appeared as a twisted, ugly slave…yet not as clear as before; her image was blurred. As this mirror was a family heirloom, she figured she would have to keep it, crack and all. So the woman put the cracked mirror in the corner of her room, and ignored it.

But one day while reading the stories of the Great Emperor, she could hear a voice calling her! The voice said “Child, do you trust me?” She answered “Yes, I think so.” Then the voice said, “Will you break the mirror?” “Oh,” she said, “I cannot do that, my family will be angry with me.” The voice again said “Child, do you trust me?” “I’m trying to,” she cried, “but I need help!” “Will you do what I ask?” the voice said. “Yes, if you take my hand, I’m afraid,” she moaned. “Here child; here is my hand.” And then suddenly, the Son of the Great Emperor was standing in front of her. Startled, she began to draw back, afraid; but looking into his eyes, she could see love, and hope, and kindness; all those things she had always wanted. And with determination, she reached out and put her hand in his. With that, there was the sound of an explosion and shattering glass; she reflexively closed her eyes, and clung to the Son’s hand. Then, with her eyes tightly shut, she felt a sensation as if cool water was being pored over her head…a refreshing, clean feeling. She felt different, new and light. With a new strength, she opened her eyes to see the Son smiling at her. “Child,” he said, “I am giving you a new job, I am giving you the task of taking my story to the other slaves of the Dark Enemy, so they can be set free.” “But sir,” She said, “I am so bent and ugly, no-one will listen to me; they won’t believe me.” Then the Son said “Child, you have been trapped in a lie your whole life, and I have destroyed the Enemy’s magic mirror, the spell is broken forever.”

Turning to the table where her book of the story of the Great Emperor, he smoothly opened it to the middle of the book. Suddenly the book had an opening that the Son reached his hand into, and as he pulled out his hand, out came an elaborately framed gold mirror. Holding the mirror, he said, “Child, this is the Mirror of Truth, it only shows how things and people really are; I want you to look at what I see, and what you truly look like.” Curiously, she looked at the image in the mirror. Her eyes flew open wide, startled; for what she saw was glowing, beautiful woman. Her hair was clean and bouncy, her eyes bright, her mouth curved in a delighted smile; all in all, she looked like a sweet and kind, loving person anyone would enjoy befriending. “Oh my!” she said, “Surely that is not me?” “Yes, child,” the Son said, “This is what you look like in truth.” He continued “This is how you look after the spell is broken; all will see you as I planned for you before you were captured by the spell of the Enemy.”

“Oh Sir, I must go back to my family and tell them the good news!” she exclaimed. The Son of the Emperor looked sadly at her and said “Child, this will hurt, but you only can tell them of the hope of my freedom, and then you must leave them all and never go back.” “But why?” she said, “let me try to help them, please?” The Son of the Great Emperor quietly explained, “Child, you want to do this, and I will give you the words, but they are blinded, and only will want to enslave you again, they will not be happy to see you.” “But Sir, can’t you help them like you helped me?” she sobbed. “I want them to be happy and free with me, to rejoice in true freedom, that you gave me; please Sir, please help them hear me.” She fell to her knees, and begged, “Oh, let me try, Sir, I don’t want to go through the rest of my life with no family; I don’t want to be alone!” She was weeping, head down, tears falling in her lap.

The Son of the Great Emperor knelt down in front of her and tenderly cradled her chin in his hands and lifted up her face for her to look into her eyes. “Child, all you can do is speak to them the words I give you to tell them, then you will have to leave and follow me.” As he gently wiped the tears from her face he finished speaking, “I promise you this, I will always be with you, watching over you, you will never be alone. In the days ahead, if you trust me, I will give you a new family, filled with my love and hope, who will care for you if you let them.” “One day,” he continued, “the words you speak to your family may take root and grow, but that is not for you to know; I need you to trust me, and follow me to help those who want the help now.” He stood up and held out his hand to her, she placed her hand in his and he lifted her to her feet.

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