The rest of the night passed peacefully for the Seeker. She felt she had been tested and failed, but as the Spirit had said, there was a purpose for her failure. She was learning about her own humanness. So at cockcrow she broke her fast with the food from the village and set out once more on her journey. She did not bid farewell to the Spirit, for she felt this One who was the embodiment of the Water of Life that now flowed within her from the King’s cup would be with her always.
The sun had not yet risen and the stars still glittered in the dawning sky. She walked along a well-tread path enjoying the symphony of crickets and other insects that made their homes in the meadows through which the path meandered. She had not walked far when she heard a loud roar, and ahead she saw a strange sight. For there coming toward her was a beautiful young woman in the company of a magnificent lion. The lion was plainly not tame, and yet these two of the Creator’s creatures walked in peace. The woman gently stroked the lion’s back with her hand as they ambled along. She was dressed in a delicate pink gown that rippled in the breeze. A garland of red and white flowers was wrapped around her and draped over the lion. The Seeker was struck at how vulnerable she was in the isolated countryside with the wild beast. In fact, she, herself, was feeling somewhat frightened by his presence.
“Good morning, Seeker,” the woman said as they drew near. “You come from seeing the King?”
“Indeed. I spent the night and learned many things from the King and the Spirit.”
“You are surprised and somewhat fearful of us I think.”
The Seeker lowered her eyes so the woman could not see her embarrassment. “You seem odd companions,” she said.
The woman laughed. “So we must. But because we recognize the wildness in one another, we have learned tolerance and created a safe space for a trusting relationship. This is a lesson all of Creation must learn. It is the balance of human, animal, and divine natures that the Spirit of the Water of Life seeks to impart to all.
“There is a wildness that lives within you, too, Seeker. From this wildness comes your inner strength, your stamina, persistence, and the power of your human spirit. But the veiled qualities of courage, patience, and compassion are waiting for you to master your raw emotions, such as anger and impulsiveness, so you may move on to the spiritual tasks ahead.”
The Seeker thought back to her reaction to the thief. Yes, those emotions felt wild and chaotic. Her logic and learning had deserted her, and she refused to see the man as anything but a thief. She could feel her cheeks growing warm at the memory.
“I was angry,” she replied, “for the sake of the King.”
“Emotions must be transcended if spiritual wisdom and intuition are to be awakened, my friend. You will find your inner wisdom is often drowned out by the constant noise of feelings and a preoccupation with fear. You must make peace with these to find the silence within where you can meet yourself and the Creator. It is only then that you will be able to connect your inner with your outer strength.”
The Seeker was awed by the wisdom of the woman. “Who are you, if I may ask?”
“My name is Faith. I am a Seeker just as you are. I am learning patience, self-restraint, and compassion; to not be afraid to let the gentle and loving side of myself be revealed. It is only my faith in the King’s Law of Love that is making my journey possible. Put your trust in that faith, Seeker, and it will guide you where you need to go.”
The Seeker was amazed to find someone like herself wandering in the wilds of the world. Especially someone she did not recognize. Surely she would have known the woman from her time at the temple. “Where do come from?” she asked her.
Faith smiled sensing her confusion. “I am not from the temple mount, Seeker. I come from a small village east beyond the mountains. There are many of us wandering these lands, seeking the Creator in our hearts, longing to live our lives as the sacred scrolls command. No doubt you will meet many in your travels.”
The Seeker pondered this turn of events. What, she wondered, did this mean for her own journey? Would she find a place to call home after all?
Faith had anticipated her question. “There are many gathering places where Seekers meet to commune together with the Creator. They are special times, indeed. But a permanent home? No. Remember what the King said? It is WITHIN the Creator that we live. The Creator is all around us. We ARE in the Creator’s home every moment of every day.”
Though the Seeker had understood and accepted as truth the King’s words, she was still struggling to grasp the reality of it. For so long she had felt herself separated from the Creator. She had worked hard at her studies and doing good works so as to be acceptable to the Holy One when the time came to pass into that heavenly realm. But the King, and now Faith, were both saying that the realm of the Creator was here on earth now, not in some distant time.
The two stood talking on the path for a long while when the lion finally began to issue a low growl. At the Seeker’s anxious expression Faith laid her hand on the girl’s shoulder. “All is well. But we must be on our way. We have traveled far this past fortnight and it is time for us to rest with Spirit at the castle of the King.”
The Seeker was sad to see her go, but she understood the need to continue on her own path. “I hope,” she said to her new friend, “we will meet again.”
“Of that I am sure,” said Faith. Then she raised her hand in blessing wishing the Seeker strength in her trials, compassion in her dealings with others, and joy in her journey. And with a smile and a farewell embrace, she and the lion walked on toward the castle.
© Cheryl D. Carter
Picture Credit — personal (see also www.aeclectic.net)