Monday, November 28, 2011

The Shepherd and the Treasure

The shepherd was known to everyone in the town. The animals loved him, but so did the people. He was quiet and kind. He did not speak harshly. Even when someone was wrong, he would make it right. He would wrap his arms around him or her, and in his quiet, gentle way calm the storm.

A little girl lived in the town. Quiet and peaceful.

The little girl was stubborn. And, she was smart, but always underlying the "smart" was the stubborn. The fierceness and fieriness that comes when you are determined to do whatever it is you want to do. "I do it myself," she would say, and she would snatch her hand away, from the larger one offering assistance.

As she was playing outside one day, she came across a treasure. Never-mind the type of treasure, what it was, just know that it was a treasure. It was small, and it fit in the palm of her hand. It was sparkly and the most beautiful color. She knew immediately upon picking it up that she would never let it go. It would be with her always.

The shepherd saw her with the treasure, and he knew what she did not. He came beside her, and offered her a different treasure in place of the one she gripped so tightly. She would smile up at his kind face and say, No thank you shepherd. I have my own. He would smile, and pat her on the head and walk on.

What the shepherd knew, is what the little girl did not notice. That the treasure slowed her down. She still would play and sing and dance, but she moved slower, sang softer, danced less frequently. It was difficult, holding her treasure in her hand, and trying to move throughout the day. However, it was hers, and she could not put it down. Occasionally, as she was playing, she would feel a slight pain shooting through her hand and up her arm. She would examine the treasure, and sigh. Her treasure, though beautiful, had a sharp, cutting edge. Often as her treasure cut into her hand she would think about putting her treasure away, setting it aside, but she would shake her head no, and grip it more tightly. A treasure, after all, was worth the pain.

The shepherd would come by frequently, more and more often. Always with the same question, and she offered the same response.

The day came, however, when the pain in her hand could not be tolerated any longer. There was no playing. No singing. No dancing. Only silence. The little girl would sit with her arms crossed, gripping the treasure tightly. Her hand had begun to bleed. It was slow at first, but the sharp edge cut, and day after day it cut into the same wound that was trying to heal from her grip the day before. She loved her treasure. It was inexplicable the way she felt. The thought of setting her treasure down caused her more pain than the pain in her hand. Her mom and dad were wise. They would encourage her to put it down. She would shake her head, no. Her friends were kind, we'll take it from you, we will help you. She would walk away.

The shepherd would come by, and ask. Crying even still, she would look at him and say, "No shepherd. I love my treasure."

One morning, the little girl awoke. The day was no different than the day before. The sky was a gray, the pale gray that comes in the fall. Inside, however, the girl knew it was time. She needed to be free. She stood up. Put on her best dress and her shiny shoes, and walked outside and down a long path and to the river. She knew who she would find there, waiting for her, and she was right. The shepherd stood by the river, his eyes soft, his lips smiling.

She opened her hand, and with her other she grasped the treasure. She held it to the light, and examined it one last time. It was still beautiful, but instead of admiring the shine, she saw the edge. The sharp, and cutting edge. It was time. She walked to the shepherd, and stood beside him. He stretched out his hand, asking for her treasure, and she handed it to him. With her at his side, they walked to the edge and let the treasure fall into the water. The water swallowed her treasure whole, and swept it away.

The little girl sat right where she had stood, and cried sobbing tears. All the pain and frustration running down her face, and pouring out of heart. The shepherd sat down beside her, patting her head. Saying nothing, but waiting.

She opened her hand, and they stared at her wound. The deep, long cut that the treasure had made. He traced the wound with his finger. He then reached in to his satchel, and pulled out a different treasure. He held it to her, and this time she took it. It was magnificent, of the deepest, purest color. The light shined off it's surface. She smiled, and could hardly speak. This treasure was exquisite. Far outweighing the beauty of her old treasure. And it was smooth. No violent edges, nothing that would cause pain. "Oh it's beautiful," she whispered, and she tried to hand it back to him.

The shepherd smiled at her softly, and said, "Didn't you know? I've had this the whole time, just for you."

The little girl cried again. Not out of pain, but joy and peace.

Then, she started to dance.


Rita said...

i love this!

Robert Davis said...

A good lesson.