A STORY OF HEALING
Once upon a time there was a little girl who lived in a beautiful garden.A strikingly handsome Jay and a playful little sparrow were her very closest friends, and all day long they laughed and played together. The little girl admired the way the birds could fly around so freely, and in turn the birds were in awe of the wonderful handstands and cartwheels the little girl could produce. The birds flattered her and told her that they wished they had arms, whilst she in turn wished she had wings.
Within the garden stood a very grand mansion and in it lived a Prince and many Princesses. The little girl, though , had no interest in the mansion, preferring to run free and play in the garden all her days. She scorned the Princesses’ frequent attempts at friendship.
Each day, as she was playing with her friends, she would notice the Prince walking by but she chose to ignore him. Sometimes the birds would mock the Prince, but always behind his back of course.
Another regular visitor to the garden was her Mother, who would call out her name. The little girl tolerated but never approached her. The Jay’s, infinite beauty and the sparrow’s lively character caught her attention much more than any Human Being could and so she felt at home here in the garden, disregarding her Mother’s invitations to come home.
However the weather was not always good in the garden. When it rained she had virtually no shelter and she stubbornly refused to go inside the mansion, even though the Prince left the door wide open for her. Sometimes she went as far as the veranda and sat half sheltered. She couldn’t help feel envious of the birds as they huddled together under the canopy of the treetops.
As the little girl grew she began to be so much more aware of the downside of living in the garden. The playfulness of the birds began to irritate her and she no longer felt a desire to spin around and play at handstands.
The Jay’s beautiful colours made her own skin look pale and uninteresting. She began to doubt that they were interested in her at all, and so started to lose her passion for the life she had so far known. The birds, of course, could see this and tried their best to help, flying around her in the same way they always had, confused that they could no longer amuse her.
Her Mother’s presence also began to irritate her and the growing child noticed that no matter how horrible she was, her Mother always came and asked after her and invited her back home. She was confused by this as she no longer knew where home was, or who she was meant to be.
Oh how she wished she had wings and could fly with the birds…..
Oh how she wished she could live in a house ..
But she chose to stay in the garden….
Now many storms came that winter and life became very difficult. The child gave up all hope of shelter and chose instead to sit in the middle of the storms’ path, being battered and beaten by wind and rain, lying in mud and sleeping in snow..
She became unbearably miserable….
The birds flocked around her and brought her all sorts of help, things that had cheered her up before- a twig from the nest, a worm for food, even the occasional egg. But to no avail. She even ignored the Prince who was still in the habit of wandering around the garden each day. He still left his door wide open for her. Her fears held her back from the obvious place to shelter, and so it was that she built her own refuge.
At first, she managed to lay a few fallen tree branches together and hid beneath them; then after a while she became better at building and formed a rough shelter. She felt the birds were laughing at her as she took refuge in her shelter, which was not as waterproof or windproof as she had hoped.
Curiously she had built a door – but always left it open.
The Mother had watched all this happening and was dismayed that the child had not come home or accepted the Prince’s invitation to live in the Mansion.
One night, during a storm, she sneaked over to the child’s shelter and built a fence around the side to block the power of the mighty wind.
In the morning the little girl found a note by her side.
‘My dear daughter, I love you and I always will, love from Mum’.
The next night the Princesses saw the plight of the child and went out together. They built a thatched roof so that the rain couldn’t get in.
They too left a note,
‘come and join us where it is warm and dry. We have watched you play with the birds and have always been jealous of them. Why don’t you come and play with us. Love from your wannabe friends xx’
Every day the Prince made his way around the garden, smiled at the child and left the mansion door open when he returned home.
Then one day something happened!!!
The birds had taken to nesting on her shelter and mocking her. A few had even started to help themselves to the thatch, for their own nests. The girl was enraged. Once they had been her friends and now they were taking advantage. It was all too much for her. She realised that they were no longer her friends and that her shelter was not a place where she could safely live and find happiness after all.
Filled with regret that she had chosen this way of life, she tried to break the shelter down but it wouldn’t budge an inch. It seemed indestructible. The more she tried the less she achieved until, in her anger and frustration, she screamed and shouted, ranted and raged against everyone.
Round and round she spun; not the spinning of a happy little girl but the violent reeling of chaos and despair. In her anger she picked up stones and hurled them at the birds. She found a large brick and knew exactly what she wanted to do….
Her heart overflowing with hatred and violence, she ran to her mother’s house and heaved the brick through the window. Then on she went to the mansion and tossed every sod of soil and all the stones she could find at the building she had come to despise.
She spat on the threshold of the open door.
From within her house, the mother sobbed. Her pillow was awash with tears; her room filled with broken glass. The rain and the wind rushed in.
Within the mansion the princesses, distressed by the chaos and violence, called out to the Prince.
But the Prince appeared to be waiting.
‘What are you waiting for’ the princesses cried.
‘For the whispers’ he replied softly, as he wrapped his arms around them.
Then sure enough, a silence followed. It was as if, just for a moment, the world had stopped turning – and peace had come to fill the void.
The princesses sat in awe as the Prince waited, his face calm… listening….
The growing child had had enough now. She was exhausted, and had no idea what to do next. All her ways of coping had failed, and life ahead seemed hopeless. She had even despised the people who had tried to help her. She lay sobbing in her shelter and looked out through the open door.
It was then that she whispered…….
‘ I’m sorry dear Prince. I wish you would help me.
‘I’m sorry dear Mummy, I wish we could be a proper family’
‘I’m sorry dear Princesses, I wish we could be friends’
On her bed in her broken room, the Mother cried. She had done all she could, but she had lost her daughter forever. The more she had tried, the further she had driven her.
She closed her eyes and whispered…..
‘ I’m sorry dear child, I failed you. I wish we could be family’.
‘Dear Prince I know you well and believe you can help her. Please help her now.’
The Prince heard the whispers and went out to the garden. Angrily banishing the mocking birds with a wave of his arm, he sat outside the shelter, beside the open door. The young lady could not believe that he had turned up despite all she had done. She thought at first that he had come to scold her and was afraid, but then she spotted his kind face and was brave enough to walk through the door.
He instantly wrapped her in his arms and she felt for once that she was accepted.
‘why have you come for me when all I showed you was hate’? she asked.
‘because today you whispered’, He replied, ‘every day I have watched and waited for you. My door was always open to you. I have waited for you for so long; waited for you to whisper….’
The child felt relieved and sensed that the Prince’s arms where as much shelter as she needed. But then a hundred questions filled her mind and anxious thoughts crept in.
‘Help me destroy the shelter, please, as it has been destroying me, she pleaded
‘all in good time’ the prince replied. I have banished the birds from the garden and, one day at a time, we will break the shelter down together.
‘my mother!’ she cried in anguish, suddenly remembering the pain she had caused
‘hush now’ the Prince soothed ‘I have heard your Mother whispering on her pillow and crying for you. She knows your suffering and longs to be with you. We are going on a journey now, all three of us. You will return to your family home but each day you must come and talk with me and together we will break down the shelter and furnish your family home with great treasures’.
‘Oh but I don’t need treasures. The birds brought me treasures yet they were no good for me’ the young lady implored..
The Prince smiled, because he knew she had learned , through difficult circumstances, what real treasure was.
Now was the time of true treasures; love, peace, family, harmony, identity.
There was a long road ahead.
Breaking down the shelter was not going to be easy – but now both Mother and daughter would be armed with the right tools.
That’s the kindness of the Prince of Peace.