1. Out There
We went to the New Jersey State Fair last Friday and the whole time I was there, I could not help but think of this story:
There was a king of many vast lands who came upon the last years of his life without a living heir. His advisers pressed him to appoint a high born nobleman, a magistrate, or a distant family member before it was too late. But the king figured it would be better for the crown to be earned instead of given. So he planned a carnival, nay a fair, the greatest fair the world had ever seen. It would have hundreds of unlimited rides, thousands of attractions, soothsayers, games, and food from every corner of the Earth. Anything any man could ever want would be found in some nook or cranny of this fair. Everyone was free to attend — man, woman, child, elderly, disabled, outcasts, and untouchables. Then the king decreed that he would have a secret station inside the fairgrounds, and the first person who found him at this station would become the ruler of their lands.
The fair opened to the largest gathering of people the world had ever known…everyone was determined to find the king and become ruler of all the lands. But almost as soon as each of them stepped through the gates, they forgot their original reason for attending. Everyone was too distracted by the attractions to even think of trying to find the king; and this went on for many years until eventually no one even remembered the purpose behind the fair.
One day a recently orphaned girl made her way to the entrance of the fairgrounds and began to make her way through the crowd. She was soon approached by a caring older couple who asked her if she was lost. “Where are your parents, do you need help?” She told them that her parents had died, and the last thing her mother told her to do was make her way to the fair grounds to find the king of all the lands so that she may inherit his kingdom. Well the older couple thought this was the most simultaneously tragic and cutest thing they had ever heard. They asked the girl to come with them for some food, for she looked famished. But she declined: “No, I must find the king.” “Well at least let us take you to the shop for some new clothes,” they asked. But she declined: “No, I must go look for the king.” “Listen sweetheart, there’s no king here, everyone has been all over this place, in and out of all the rides and services and shops and restaurants. There’s plenty to do here and when you’re done you can come live with us. We will take care of you.”
They looked into the little girls eyes and then watched her turn and walk away into the crowd. She wandered through the fair for days until finally she came to the last tent in the back. When she walked into the tent she saw a very old man holding a beautiful scepter. He slowly lifted his head, a great smile came across his face and he spoke:
“For the one who has One Goal and cannot be swayed from that place, the entire kingdom, the stars above your head and the earth beneath your feet, will succumb to your will.”
May we put away our distractions and love everything in every direction.