Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Tim's Travels

There was once a fellow named Tim. He lived in a regular town, called Normal, with regular people. In fact, he was quite regular himself. Life was good in Normal, and seemed to flow along smoothly for Tim.

Till one day, he passed by a storefront. Now, he passed by this storefront every day on his way to work, but for some reason, on this day, he felt compelled to stop and read the sign in the window. It was advertising a way to go to a new land, called Bliss. The ruler of the country was King Good. Tim had heard of this, and knew some people who had gone there. But he had never wanted to go. You had to leave everything behind, even your family, to go there. And no one ever came back. Sometimes the family moved there later, but there were no guarantees that they would.

Tim had always thought people that went there were silly, but for some reason, today he felt differently. Suddenly, he wanted to go there. He knew it was the best thing he could ever do. So he went inside, talked to the clerk, and was given a ticket to leave that very day. Tim went right to the harbour to board the ship. He didn't even take the time to say goodbye to his friends. He wanted to get there as soon as he could.

When he arrived, he was met by many others. As he got off the ship, they welcomed him with hugs and pats on the back. One group took him to where they met together, to explain some things to him.

Tim listened intently as they explained life in Bliss. They were very happy there; that was obvious! It seemed that they met regularly, and had talks about King Good. Others came to share what they knew about him, and also, there were many books that described what he was like.

Tim was so exited! From then on, he went to every meeting that group held, and read all the books they recommended to him. He learned the customs they followed, such as not eating bananas, and always wearing green pyjamas to bed. He wondered why they did these things, but went along anyway. He wanted to fit in, after all.

After a time, Tim began to wonder about a different group he had heard about. One day, he went to one of their meetings. It was very good. They seemed to know different things about King Good. They were very friendly, but Tim was shocked when, during the meal they shared, some of the folks were eating bananas! He didn't say anything, wanting to be polite. And then, when he asked if they would be serving tea, he was taken aside by an older gentleman. He was told, gently, that they did not believe in drinking tea in their group. Tim was baffled, but again, didn't argue the point.

Tim met with this group for a time, read all the books they recommended, and learned many new things about King Good. Some of the things he heard were very different from what he had been told by the first group. He did wonder about that. And after a time, he moved on to another group. He found different customs there, and again, they seemed to know other things that the first two groups didn't have a clue about.

One day, as Tim was thinking about King Good, he felt suddenly sad. The King sounded so wonderful. But Tim had never actually seen him. He had seen pictures, ones that people had drawn, of his castle and the amazing lawns and gardens that surrounded it. But he eventually realized that no one had actually met the King!

The more Tim thought about this, the sadder he became. One day, he decided to ask one of the group why it was that no one had ever seen the King. They told him that long ago, some people had actually met him. The stories that they told about the King were how the many books they now had were written about him. These eye witnesses were all gone now.

"How did they find him?" Tim asked.

"Well, there is a map that you can use. I think we have one around here somewhere. But people don't bother with that anymore. Now it is much easier to hear the lectures and read the other books. It is more convenient, and you don't disrupt your life by having to travel all that way. We are happy to hear about the King, and most people don't feel the need to actually meet him." The fellow that had been speaking seemed puzzled by Tim's sad face.

"Oh, I see," said Tim. "Perhaps I could look at the map? Could you please find it for me?"

"Yes, but I don't know why you want to see it. No one has gone there from our group in many, many years. It is dangerous, we feel, to go off by yourself. It is something that none of us would recommend, or approve of. Who knows what might happen to you? And why would you do it, anyway, when we have so much information about the King available to you?" The man was busily rummaging through a box of papers that was shoved into a corner of the room.

"Here it is. Take a look. Take it home with you if you like. I guess you should return it when you are finished examining it," he said as it handed the wrinkled and tattered piece of paper to Tim.

"Thanks. I appreciate it," said Tim as he left holding the map.

Later, in his room, he studied the map. He decided that he could make the journey. It didn't look to be very far. Quickly, heart racing, he put some things into a knapsack; warm clothes, some food and water, and a blanket. He was so exited! He left just before dawn, his heart buoyed up by the anticipation of finally meeting the King.

Tim's journey took longer than he had planned. There were many times when he was tired, and he missed all his friends from the group. But when he thought about turning back, without having met the King, he knew it just wasn't an option. So on he went, spending many nights sleeping under a tree, and walking mile after mile on his own, studying the map carefully as he went.

Then one day, he saw it! The castle! He slowly walked up to the tall gate, suddenly afraid that it would be locked. He gingerly gave it a push, and it swung wide open! Now he ran up to a door in the castle wall, and pounded on it with all his might. While he was still banging on it with his fist, it opened, and there stood the King!

"What took you so long?" he asked. "I have been waiting for you. Please, come in, and we will talk together." He took Tim's hand, and led him inside, a delighted and welcoming smile on his face.

Tim joyously went inside. And he never left. He stayed there with the King, and they talked every day. King Good was even more wonderful than he had imagined, and Tim never grew tired of sitting with him, or walking with him in the garden.

There were others there, too, that had made the journey to the castle. Together they and the King were like a family, and their days were spent talking and laughing and loving one another.

The King mailed the map back to the group, with a note from Tim, telling them that they should join him at the castle. Tim wrote about how happy he was, and how much better it was to really meet the King in person and be with him all the time.

"I have finally found what I have been searching for," he wrote. "I have found what makes my heart complete. I have found my King."


William said...

Did you write this, or is this someone else's creation?

Melanie said...

I wrote it. It expresses what is in my heart: the desire to know Jesus first-hand, and not through any of the variety of other persons' experiences, writings, teachings, or traditions.

Melanie said...

Maybe I should explain the allegory...............(maybe it's not clear?) When Tim decides to go to Bliss, that is conversion. King Good is Jesus. All the "groups" that he hangs out with are different denominations, with different traditions, taboos, and perceptions of what Jesus is like (due to doctrinal differences). After a time, Tim is dissatisfied with these activities, and yearns for real heart to heart fellowship with King Good and other "believers". He leaves "fellowship", and goes off on his own, with only his map (the Scriptures) to guide him to the real King Good. He does find others there who have the same desire, and begins fellowshipping with them, never to return to the old traditions and superficial realationships. Hope it all makes sense. It was a new venture for me.

Aida said...

Wonderful allegory, Melanie. You have such a beautiful gift for making truth clear. I understood pefectly. I'm really enjoying reading what you're sharing. It's great stuff!

Kimberley Payne said...

I love the allegory! I don't think that you needed to explain it. This would be wonderful to make into a small booklet with beautiful photos, don't you think?