Stories to me are a celebration of the imagination and possibility. Unlike the physical reality, they speak of a realm where the impossible becomes possible and we are invited and encouraged to explore that world to discover the possibility that the impossible is not so impossible after all, and how that may be so. We are often so cut off from each other by our seperate ways of seeing and thinking. So many of us live in a world of isolation and loneliness! We cut off our dreams and hopes by calling them unrealistic and we wonder why we are so lonely and feel so desolate. Stories can be an antidote to that feeling of isolation so that our imagination can again be free enough to create for us that bridge which connects us. Another person's world can be truly an amazing experience for us if we can find a way to enter into it. The author of a story has the potential to help others do that and his or her story invites us to enter what for us is another reality. This provides us not only refreshment, adventure and intrigue, but ultimately also community, understanding and love.
The Hymn of the Pearl.
Imbedded within The Acts of Thomas we find a beautiful and complete hymn describing the exile and redemption of the soul. The text is known both as the "Hymn of the Pearl" and occasionally as "Hymn of the Robe of Glory."
According to James, "The Hymn of the Pearl is a parable about you and me, another version of the Parable of the Prodigal Son really. This is a story about the journey of the soul to and from the world, eventually going Home to the Kingdom of the Father."
This story contains a postscript that would have me interpret it as told. I don't argue with the interpretation given as invalid, but it does tend to cut off other possibilities which may be just as rich, if not more. The story, for example, speaks of the possibility that a disability may in fact at times be a true blessing.
This is a place we have all been and to which we will come back, and the events that take place here are not unknown to us.
The Emperor's Old Clothes
No doubt you are familiar with the story "The Emperor's New Clothes." I have great respect and admiration for Hans Christian Anderson. In simple ways a child can understand, his stories (such as the one mentioned above and "The Emperor's Nightingale") deal with basic fundamental issues of creativity, awareness and truth. This present story was obviously inspired by the former story but with respect to its title only. Its theme is quite different and speaks of how differences and difficulties can be transformed to community and laughter.
The Gypsy King
This is a story of light and darkness. We live in a time of relativity and shades of grey. It is interesting that Einstein, the harbinger of relativity himself believed in absolutes very strongly. Only few people still believe in the existence of absolutes. It is true that they don't occur in the land of generalizations and abstractions, which is where everyone looks for them. They exist, rather, in the details of everyday life, if you have learned how to find them. It is a matter of knowing how to look, how to engage both heart and head, intellect and longing or desire, so that both support each other rather than fight one another. Analysis and synthesis can work together in ways that are extremely insightful and productive, when we have learned how.
Gamuchi and the Abyss
The Godson, by Leo Tolstoy.
This is a powerful story by Tolstoy on the theme of non-violence as the appropriate response to violence. This theme was also taken up by three other people who have had a great influence on the motivations and thoughts of many others. Gandhi's influence was so profound as to bring his whole nation to independence without revolution. Using revolution as the way to freedom was quite typical as we have seen, for example, from the road the French took to try to attain freedom from oppression. Other notables who took up the theme of non-violence are Henry David Thoreau whose essay Civil Disobedience also had a profound influence on Gandhi; and Martin Luther King, Jr., who led the black people of the USA to freedom with an emphasis on non-violence.