Fairy Tale: Trouble, Price, and Ransom

Once upon a time, there was a boy and a girl walking down the King’s Highway leading to their parents’ house.

As they walked along a white fence, they saw a mysterious forest on the other side.

The boy said to the girl, “Hey! Let’s check out the forest!”

The girl said, “But there’s a fence, and we might get lost.”

The boy said, “We won’t get lost. All we gotta do is hop the fence. It’ll be fun!”

“Well, okay.” The girl said and followed her brother into the woods.

They walked inside the forest and encountered some very friendly squirrels and beautiful flowers, when all of a sudden:

boom, Boom, BOom, BOOm, BOOM!

Someone was coming.

They climbed up into a tree thick with leaves through which they couldn’t see who was coming.

On the noise came. BOOM BOOM BOOM!

Then it stopped. All was quiet until they heard.

*Sniff Sniff Sniff*

Suddenly, two large hands, each one the size of the child, reached out and grabbed them through the branches

As the enormous hands yanked them out of the tree by their shirt collars a grizzly enormous face met them. It was a giant.

“You are trespassing. Now, you are my prisoners.”

So the two children were brought back to the Castle and thrown in the dark dungeon.

“You will stay here forever as my slaves.” The giant thundered as the door crashed closed.

The next day the Son of the King who owned the highway saw a pair of small tracks leading off the path into the Giant’s Woods. He tracked them all the way to the tree where the Giant found them, and knew what had happened. He tracked the Giant’s footprints to his castle and said, “Great Giant?!”

The Giant boomed out of his door and said, “Who are you?”

“I am the Son of the King of these lands. You have two children you brought with you to this dungeon. Let them go!”

“I will not release them. They trespassed!”

“What price do you demand for their freedom?”

The giant had always hated the King, and here he had his son within his grasp. He smiled as he said,

“I will only release them if you will come and be my slave forever in this place!”

The Prince thought for a moment and said, “Very well. Let it be as you say.”

The children were dragged roughly out of the dark dungeon into the light of day and thrown out the door. The Prince helped them up and said, “Go! Go!”

The children ran through the woods without looking back, and ran all the way home and told their Mom and Dad what had happened.

Little did they know that the King of the Highway had a huge army, and when his son went missing into the forest, he sent his army to besiege the giant’s castle. They slew the Giant and the Prince was set free.

Now the Prince after he was released went straight to the house of the two children, and asked their parents if he could see them. They said, “Of course, Your Majesty.”

The Children were overjoyed to see their rescuer again, and they ran up to him!

“The Giant who held you prisoner has been slain, and all his lands now belong to me as a gift from my father the King. You may come and visit those woods anytime.”

The Children did visit the woods and castle. As they grew up they helped the Prince clean it up, so it was fit for the Prince to live in some day. When the Prince was crowned King, they each became officials in his royal court, and they all lived happily ever after.

The End

Advertisements

Marker Stone

This weight, a sandbag, an undertow.
My heart is thinned by a marker stone.
A cold white stone on living grass
Black arrow etched in distance past
The grim sight gives the traveler’s stead
Ability to decide if its ready
To take the path he journeys on
Or rest in pasture’s green warm song
But city’s distance furrows his brow
His character is not in this wasteland sown
Birds pluck the shelled life untold
From gutter’s refuse, from cracks in boulders
How weighty on his thoughts that rock
That monument to what lies locked
Behind the wall of city dweller’s face
Where Devil and Angel wings are traced.
What wealth the poor are beaten to take
On what poverty the rich have all things staked
Forbearing all this with a heavy heart
His tired feet have sorely smarted
A friend passed this way once before
If only he had not swung so loosely his sword
That his restructured and suggested way
Be hollowed out down the highwayman’s main.
Danger crouching in every shifting dark
Wherein this flattened warrior shaves with sparks
The blade which leaves its scabbard clean
But heavy in the arm the mother weans.
Such steps he takes collapses him despondent
His map suddenly seems of no assistance.
The mile marker helpful for the length
Does not reach into limbs of lead to strengthen.
Broad ways lose many progressions each day.
Only marked paths reach a safe place.
Returning from the desolate wild land
Where his fingers came to clutch the Father’s hands
Finds a quiet soberness in face once glad
To tell his tale in the presence of all lads.
The reason: by this tombstone, he is low.
And feels the greatest distance from his home.

Ache

Earth groans– the roots of oak trees find them out
~     In secret seeking cool sustaining streams
The air feels thin while splitting on the flout
~     A piercing cry of music from my dreams

How old the marrow grows in once strong arms
~     Anticipating touch without remorse
Still waiting for beloved tender warmth
~     Returning swift received without recourse

Two dandelions blown in stormy breeze
~     Are stripped of new beginnings as they wilt
Believing sure their children earth will seize
~     Creative soil unseen new lives rebuilt

So short cruel time to sever love from love
~      Its wound agape awaits the Gard’ners glove

Some Thoughts on Depression: Children, Brokenness, Humanity, and Work

I don’t know if I’ve ever met someone who hasn’t wrestled with this. Except maybe a few kids. That’s telling.

If there’s anything a parent wants for their children, it’s that they be happy. But so often, the way they try to ensure happiness for their kids is to avoid every hardship. “Let not my children know poverty, except from the safe distance of a charity event.” “Let not my children be offended, or they will grow up with self-esteem issues.” Other parents are tempted to overlook their children’s imperfections, because it’s so hard to face their own. “They’ll get better. One day they’ll learn.” But if they listen with humble ears to the honesty of youth, they will hear that the children know there’s something wrong with the world, and they know there’s something wrong with themselves.

Consider this truth: A person who does not grapple and come to terms with the brokenness of this world can never be truly happy. The very simple reason why is because if he does not, then he will never be able to grapple and come to terms with the brokenness of his own soul. To do one is to do the other. The brokenness without is the brokenness within.

I was about 14 when I walked through my Grandfather’s 100 acre baby-tree-field on a cloudy day. I had come so far to a point where all that was around me was six-to-seven-foot high thorn-thickets that smelled of stale weeds as far as I could see in front of me, and the cave grove of trees I had just left left behind me. I could have turned back, but I deeply felt that the Lord specifically called me to go through the thorn thickets. All I had on were shoes, short-shorts and a tank-top. I had no cell-phone, no water and I had left my canvas poncho on the dirt-road. I faced the thickets with an internal resolution: I could make it through. Why? Because He had told me to. In my hand I had a staff that was about 4 1/2 feet high. I knew there had to be a way. So, I got an idea, and I laid my staff up against the thorns, and lifted up my sneakered foot to press down the thorns. It made a dent, with only a little stinging scratch on my leg. It took forever. In those moments of toil, we know a taste of eternity. But after about one and a half hours of repetitious picking up the staff and laying it back down, I made it through the highest thickets to the lower thickets. Still could not move very quickly. Behind me lay a trail of broken down briers made by the staff in my hand which could take the thorns. And I finally made it where the staff in my hand was able to beat down the chest high brambles, and then I made it where I could steadily walk through careful to avoid the waist-high thorn-weeds. Then, I saw the dirt road and jogged to it, and plopped down on the ground to rest staring up at the bright-grey sky above me as grateful quivers of laughter shook my teenage frame.

Depression comes when humankind refuses to acknowledge their brokenness, and neglects to cry out for deliverance, and instead surrenders to the lie that God does not care enough about my brokenness to reach out his Hands to touch and heal, therefore I don’t care either. Read the Gospels: Jesus proclaimed the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand, and he touched and healed people. In doing so, he showed humanity the Love of God for the world (yea even the whole world) because it was beautiful in His eyes when He made it. The Kingdom of Heaven is not some elusive abstract disconnected from the world. The Kingdom of Heaven, is Eternity fixing time. It is Power strengthening weakness. It is Goodness conquering evil. It is Grace overcoming guilt. It is Truth emancipating people from lies. It is healing eradicating sickness. It is Heaven restoring the earth.

Work is magical. It is through work that a human being extricates what is good in this world and makes it into something better. This is why hard-work is part of the cure for depression. It is the image of God to work, because it is God’s eternal power at work through His representatives on earth in time. To work is to enter into the timeless blessing of humanity in Genesis 1:28: Subdue the earth. And it is hard. Why? Because we as humans have made it hard. The ground is cursed because of us. The reason why we have “hard” work, is because our sin has made it hard, but the work is ever blessed.

Why are you downcast O my soul? Why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God, I will praise Him. He is my Savior.

An Outcry from the Earth

The earth raises an outcry!
Stars give birth to sighs and sobs
Evil ones siphon life from the weak.
As angels far and near weep bitter tears

The anguish of eternity strained by a fault
Where the continuum is shattered with corruption.
The Joy of a child is truncated to the impish fear-slave
Who powerfully shapes the world to his cold, imprisoned self.

The ignorance of sticklers too engrossed in their pride
To march in their fury as one brick-burning tide
Of lava born from new and uncultivated earth
To demolish man’s futility and gold of no true worth.

Crusty squabblers talk the wind out of noisy gullets satiated
By the unending torrent of frenzied feedings they crave
While the simpler joys go tasted without gumption
And silence waits his turn to escape the vault.

“How long?” the earth bemoans its weight
It cannot stand to see the angels weep.
The heart of man is like the earth
It bleeds both fire and water.

Playground

There once was boy called Martin. Martin was a precocious lad, who loved to play on playgrounds. Whenever he didn’t have a playground, he made one. Just give him a tree, or some furniture, even a pile of junk, and he would transform it into a place of enjoyment and discovery!

One year, Martin started attending a new school with kids his age. But this school had no playground equipment except a sandbox, which kids of all ages would go and play in during recess. Martin had played on swings, jungle gyms, hanging bars, slides, bounce houses, and sandboxes too. He saw the kids playing in the sandbox and all he could think was, “If only I could give them a chance to play on some of the equipment I get to play on. They’d love it! They’d have so much fun and grow bigger and stronger like I’m growing.” So Martin asked his parents, and they agreed to rent some new playground equipment for a day.

The next day, three new pieces of playground equipment showed up in the school yard. Martin was so excited. He couldn’t wait to see how his friends would react. At recess, he gathered around all his friends, and explain the rules and how to play on the swings, and how to swing from the monkey bars, and how to slide on the slides, and bounce on the bounce houses. And Martin was jumping right into the fun while he was demonstrating.

But when he turned around, he noticed that nobody was playing with him. The just stared at him. They weren’t used to such big equipment. Martin was hoping they would try it out and discover the fun for themselves, like he had. Some of them tried some of the gravel pieces around the base. Some even climbed around and tried the slide once or twice. But they all stood and watched.

Martin stared at them with open mouth. Why weren’t they playing? Didn’t they know this equipment was so much more fun than the sandbox? He even dragged some kids over and pushed them on the swings, but they were missing their friends and they ran back to the sandbox.

Our little precocious lad was disheartened. He didn’t want to play all by himself. He knew that this was A LOT more fun than the sandbox, but it was no fun without other kids to play with. He went home and cried to his parents. They understood, being wise parents, and told him that he should find a way to have fun in the sandbox with the other kids.

So, the next day at recess, Martin joined the kids playing in the sandbox, except this time, he brought a bucket of water with him. He smiled as he was determined to still create something even more fun out of this sandbox. Spilling some of the water on the ground, he made mud and started forming things out of the mud. The other kids watched and then started to play with him. Each one got down on their hands and knees and started making little houses, and bridges, tunnels, and streets. Everybody had an amazing time. And from then on, Martin was happy to play with his friends in the sandbox, still hoping that some day, the other kids would want more than the sandbox, and upgrade next year to just one piece of equipment. Maybe a ball-pit!

A Goodnight Kiss: a Gospel Story

– – There was a little girl of 5 years old. Her parents took her to church very week. One day in Sunday School, she learned about Jesus blessing the children. That night when she went to bd, she said her prayers the way she always did, and this time she prayed, “Jesus, could you kiss me goodnight?” And she got in bed, and she’d stay up all night waiting for Jesus to kiss her on the cheek, while she listened to her Mommy and Daddy arguing in the other room. The goodnight kiss didn’t come. But she kept asking him every night before she went to bed.
– – Then, one night while her parents were arguing and the little girl was lying in bed awake by her open window, she grabbed her ears and prayed again that same prayer, “Jesus, please kiss me goodnight.” And then as she drifted almost to sleep, she closed her eyes, and felt a breeze blow through the window and brush against her cheek. She sat up, and looked but she didn’t see anyone, but she felt in her heart that she had been kissed goodnight by Jesus.
– – The next morning, the girl skipped into the kitchen where her Mommy and Daddy were eating breakfast, and they noticed that their daughter was more cheery than usual. So her Mommy asked, “Good morning! You look chipper this morning. Did you sleep well last night?” The girl nodded with a grin, “M hm. Jesus kissed me goodnight.” And she skipped off into the next room to play.
– – How do you think the parents reacted when they heard this? They were very sorry that they had been fighting, and had not kissed their daughter goodnight. And every night from that day on, every night both of them came in to tuck in their daughter and kissed her good night.

And that is what the Gospel is all about.