(Though written today, the little bit in green has been added to what I posted on 7/7 for continuity’s sake.)
It hardly seemed as if they had been traveling long at all when they approached a large castle that sat above the sea. The horse master pulled the chariot to a halt beneath the portico and turned to the Seeker.
“This is where I must leave you,” he said, motioning for her to step out of the chariot.
“But what am I to do here?” she asked, confused as to where she was and why she was there.
“You are a Seeker,” said the horse master with his cryptic smile. “Seek! The King of this realm is a most noble King. He has given his all for his kingdom, sacrificed himself by drinking from a cup that no one else could bear. He is loyal and giving, a provider of wise counsel. On his banner,” he said, pointing to the tower above them where it hung blowing in the evening breeze, “is the symbol of the fish, a symbol of creativity and the spirit and is represented by the crown he wears connecting his wisdom with the spirit realm. You will want to spend time with him. He will be able to answer some of your questions.”
The Seeker’s breath caught in her chest. She had HEARD stories of such a King in the temple. Could it be the same one?
“And remember this one thing,” he continued. “STRIVING toward your goal can be as satisfying as attaining it.”
The Seeker stepped down, and with that the horses trotted out of their own accord leaving her to ponder what she should do next.
Hitching her pack up higher on her shoulder, she climbed the stone stairway and went into the castle where she found herself in a great hall. Far across the room a balcony opened out onto the sea. Just then a white dove came winging its way to her side.
“I see you have found your way to us at last, Seeker.”
The Seeker was stunned to hear the voice of the same dove who greeted her at the Stone Circle of Blessing.
“Is this where you live?” she asked the hovering bird.
“When I am not off meeting seekers for the King. Come. Let me introduce you. It is time you met.”
And with that the dove flapped her wings and sailed across the hall out the door to the balcony.
The Seeker followed, excitement growing with each step. Then she saw him standing composed and at ease looking out over the sea. He wore a magnificent vest of blue fish scales over his white shirt and black breeches. A long, blue silken robe flowed around his feet and a golden crown sat regally on his long brown hair just as the horse master had said. In his hand he held a chalice full to the brim and spilling over. The dove hovered over his shoulder for a moment and he turned to meet the Seeker.
His eyes were as deep and dark as the sea and as unfathomable, yet his smile was relaxed and inviting.
“Welcome Seeker,” he said with a tip of his head. “I have been expecting you.”
The Seeker, somewhat overcome in his presence, knelt before him. He touched her arm and gently raised her up.
“I understand you have many questions, child. Have you been able to find your answers?”
The Seeker shook her head feeling foolish. “No. I just keep find more questions!” She had not meant to say that. It just came out. She found with him she had no wish to keep her feelings and questions to herself.
The King laughed with delight at her childlikeness. “Come talk with he,” he said, sitting down on the balcony wall and patting the place next to him. “You are surprised that the answers to your questions about the Creator are so elusive. Were you not taught in the temple that in this world we only see in part, know in part?”
“Yes. But I thought if I DEVOTED my life to looking for answers I would be able to actually find the Creator.”
“Perhaps then you have been looking too hard. The Creator is all around you, Seeker. But first you must have eyes that can see and ears that can hear, for it is WITHIN the Creator that we live. The Holy One is beyond our senses. Yet you are looking for a one who fits in YOUR world instead.” The King paused and pointed at the tail of a large fish which had wrapped itself around a pillar. “A fish can only know the waters in which it lives and swims. But those waters are NOT the entire lake. You are like the fish. Like the dolphins who swam in the Water of Life.”
The Seeker frowned. “So you’re saying I may never find the Creator…”
The King smiled and took her hand in his. “What you seek is not more knowledge ABOUT the Creator, but to KNOW the Creator personally. To do that you must step outside the person the WORLD has asked you to become and into the stillness the Creator has birthed inside you, for KNOWING the Creator is a very different thing than knowing ABOUT the Creator.”
She sighed, the seeming futility of her search overcoming her. “So I have failed, just as I thought in the garden.”
“Not at all. Understand it is not the destination that shapes the character, but the journey itself. You are in the process of knowing, even as we speak. Learn to be yourself. You were made for a purpose. Your quest is about finding that purpose, not the Creator, for in your heart you have known the Holy One all along or you would not be here. Go now and meet the children of the Creator. They are all around you. Judge not. Instead, love others for who they are and forgive them when they struggle, just as you must learn to forgive yourself. By this you will fulfill all the commandments in the sacred scrolls.”
Though still troubled with doubts, the Seeker was filled with new purpose as she listened to the King’s counsel. She could tell he was the kind of King who ruled with truth and peace, with kindness and charity. His unselfishness poured forth in his teachings. She felt loved and accepted for who she was. I want to be just like him, she thought as she listened. She would have been happy to sit at his side forever.
She was distressed, therefore, when he let go her hand and rose to take his leave. “Must you go so soon?”
“I know our time has been short, Seeker, but pay heed to what I have said this day. You have much to learn. Your journey will be long.” He took the chalice he’d been holding and held it out to her. “This chalice holds the Water of Life. You cannot drink the cup from which I first drank, though there will be times in your life you will understand the burden of that cup; but of the Water of Life you may always drink freely. Drink now and be refreshed.”
As the King tipped the cup to her lips, the Seeker drank deeply and was filled with love. Love for the Creator and for all the Created. Then through a veil of tears she bid him farewell and watched him go.
© Cheryl D. Carter
Picture Credit — personal (see also www.aeclectic.net)