The Seeker silently followed the woman in blue onto the balcony, then, angry and confused, she boldly demanded, “Who are you, and why did you let that man go free?”
The woman turned, her gown swishing on the balcony tile, her long black hair billowing over her shoulders in the evening breeze. She looked intently at the Seeker as if determining how to deal with her.
The Seeker’s anger began to drain away, replaced by a warmth that spread across her cheeks. What on earth would the Elders say had they seen her ill-mannered, disrespectful behavior? She lowered her eyes and looked at her feet and was surprised to see a white lily lying on the tile floor. The same kind of lily used in the temple. How odd, she thought.
Knowing that the girl had begun to recognize her insolent behavior, the woman smiled sadly, moved closer to her, and rested her hand on the Seeker’s shoulder.
“I am the Spirit of the Water of Life. My task is to bring the world to a place of reflection and balance.”
The Seeker raised her head and dared look into the Spirit’s eyes expecting to see judgment and condemnation. Instead she found understanding and mercy.
“You ask why I let the man go… You observed, and rightly, that he was a thief. But what you COULD NOT see and did not take the time to discern was WHY he was stealing the swords.”
Incredulous and feeling somewhat indignant despite her embarrassment, the Seeker said, “You believed his story about melting the swords?”
“Yes, I did. You see, Seeker, there is much in this world you do not know. Such as in this kingdom all weapons have been melted down and turned into plowshares. Any swords that still exist are stored here for when there is need for more farming tools. This is common knowledge. You would have learned that had you taken the time to LISTEN to his story and become aware of his plight. It is unfortunate that some still do not believe in the goodness of their King. But we do not pass judgment here. When we are filled with the Water of Life mercy is our guiding light.”
The Seeker thought back to her conversation with the King. “Judge not. Instead, love others for who they are and forgive them when they struggle.” She could feel hot tears filling her eyes as she realized she had not even left the castle and already had failed at the King’s charge.
“He also said,” Spirit reminded her perceiving her thoughts, “’…just as you must learn to forgive yourself.’”
The Seeker’s heart trembled with the weight of her emotions. She stared at the lily lying on the tiles and thought how in the temple she had been taught it was the responsibility of the faithful to judge others, just as it was their responsibility to advocate for others before the Creator. For whatever the faithful bound on earth would also be bound in heaven. Suddenly she found her anger turned toward those who had taught her. She glared with disgust at the lily, and with her bare foot gave it an angry kick. To her surprise it shimmered and faded into nothingness.
“Yes,” said the Spirit in answer to the Seeker’s unformed question. “The lily was yet another manifestation of the misguided doctrine you were taught in the temple. You must understand, child, that UNLEARNING is also a part of your path. Do not judge. Rather be concerned with the emotional and physical well-being of the Creator’s children. At times this may not seem rational or logical, so you must learn to see with your heart as well as your head.”
With the back of her arm the Seeker wiped away the tears that stained her face. “Will it ever get any easier? Learning to live by the Creator’s commandments, I mean?”
The Spirit smiled and took her hand from the Seeker’s shoulder. She held the chalice out to the girl. “Come, look into the cup with me and see your life as it is yet to be.”
The Seeker gazed into the churning Waters of Life and watched as she learned and unlearned many things. At times she was joyous, full of love and mercy. Other times she was unable to find it within herself to love the way the King had taught her. Then she struggled with the disobedient side of herself. And often she was so caught up with compassion for others and their problems that she felt as if she were losing a part of herself to all their needs.
“How does one bear it all,” she asked, raising her eyes to the Spirit.
The Spirit pointed to the fish tail that was still wrapped around the column. “Remember, child,” she said with a wink, “it is a large lake. And the Creator is all around you. Do not be afraid to step out in faith trusting that you will have all you need when you need it. Come now,” she said holding out her hand, “stay with me for the night, for I see your heart and I know it will be a time of reckoning for you as you learn to accept your own human limitations. But you will not be alone. We will face it together.”
© Cheryl D. Carter
Picture Credit — personal (see also www.aeclectic.net)