Dressed, powdered and pressed, Sam walked holding a large jar of her honey.
Sam was on a high – the highest she’d been in her life. Walking down the darkly lit but glittering hall, escorted by the regal Fox, she heard the most enticing music as she neared the hall, its beat began to replace the beat of her heart. With every thump old hopes were replaced with new desires, long-held dreams lost to the moment, whatever convictions she used to have were replaced with this one convincing idea: I am where I’m supposed to be.
“Please help me. I need food beautiful girl, you look like you have a soul within you.”
Sam’s excitement was interrupted by the soft voice of a child.
“I have nothing to eat. My brothers and I, and my sister too, we have nothing.”
Sam looked at him, he looked so hungry, and for some reason he looked so familiar, as if she had seen him before.
“Be off with you!” shouted Sam’s mother at the child, raising a hand to slap the child.
“Wait!” Sam said. “Let’s…”
“We don’t have time Sam! The feast is waiting!” interrupted the Fox impatiently. “Hurry up! You don’t want to miss out!”
Sam looked at the boy then turned to follow the Fox. She looked back to see the boy run away after Sam’s mother slapped his face. For a while, Sam felt some guilt, but then the brightest lights she had ever seen caught her attention as they exited the tunnel into a cavernous hall of all that shimmers, and to her the boy was no more.
There are lights that illuminate our way. These are one with the stars in the sky.
Yet on Earth, there exists manufactured lights, and these blind us to our true selves and the plight of others.
Sam watched as people turned and greeted them. Everyone seemed to know and love the fox. This made her so proud. “My Fox is so beautiful and so respected, and he rescued me.” she thought to herself. “I am the luckiest girl in the world.”
The fox motioned for her to come nearer so he could introduce her to a group of people. As she stepped forward, a young girl stepped in front of her, “Please madam, please help me. I’m pregnant. I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what to do. Please help me. You look like you have a soul within you. Please…”
Sam thought she recognized her face, her voice, but the fox growled at her and she cowered. The girl looked once more at Sam to appeal, but Sam said, “I’m sorry. I’m only a guest. I need to be polite and do as they say. I hope someone helps you.”
“You’re an amazing woman, do you know that Sam?” the Fox whispered into her ear. Sam smiled at him. She loved it when he complimented her. And with that the girl with a baby on the way, was no more.
There are many “calls” in the world, and not all calls are the same. The most important call is the call to love, but too many hear this in near silence, muted by a most deceiving call to be desired. Both are similarly about choosing others, but the difference is this: the call to be desired chooses to serve others for one’s self to be valued, and the call to love chooses to serve others because one values them.
Too many minds are unable to distinguish this.
When one chooses to serve others for his own validation, he chooses only their happiness for the moment, because it is selfish, it is impatient, and needs fast, if not instant, gratification, and so does not think of what is consumed in the process of this service. This is why many servants end up consumed by those they serve, even at times, consuming those they desired to serve.
This of course is the great irony of vanity unfolding before Sam.
When one chooses to serve others for he values them, he chooses that which will bring them most happiness, lasting happiness, because he seeks that which is best for them without the need to receive anything from them. He can be patient, because they are most valuable, not the moment’s validation. He can endure rejection, because they are most valuable, not his own recognition. And he can burn, as we all must burn for the call we choose, without ever being truly consumed, because he lives on in the lives of those who have taken shelter in his warmth.
As Abe had told David in his instructions to him before he left them, “Going on a journey with someone is like being in a room with them. Don’t set it on fire. Build a fireplace.”
Desire sets a room on fire. Love builds a fireplace.
The Fox gallantly introduced her to the most beautiful people she had ever seen, “My dears, this is my beautiful Sam. You must try her honey.” and almost on cue, he would dip a spoon into her honey and offer them to taste. “Exquisite.” said one. “Amazing!” said another. “How absolutely, deliciously complex the properties of your honey!” said yet another. As the fox led her around the room, the different guests enjoyed her honey. Sam was so full of butterflies she had forgotten her own hunger – the very hunger that made her stray from the narrow road. From the promised feast she had not partaken, but as has been said, man does not live on bread alone, though many choose the spread over the manna.
The thumping of the bass made her heart beat fast though she really had no idea what a bass was. The loudness of everything drowned out the alarming angels shouting warnings in her ear. The praises coming her way, praises for her beauty and her honey, captured her heart for this place, for we are always captured by what we truly want.
Sam wanted nothing more than to be adored.
Sam turned to the Fox, “You make me feel so beautiful.”
“You are very beautiful, Sam. So beautiful.”
Sam floated on his smooth words. “I can’t believe how amazing this is. This is what Abe was telling me. Abe told me I was beautiful. He said I was beautiful like the dawn.”
For a moment she thought, “But I can’t even see the sky from here, much less the dawn. This whole place is encased.”
The Fox interrupted her thoughts, “Who is Abe??” the Fox looked at her in guarded jealousy.
“My guide. Well, our guide, mine and David’s, and…”
“How many times have I told you to forget about him?!” The Fox angrily hissed into her ear.
The way he said it, the venom behind his words, struck fear into Sam, and she bowed beside him.
“My dear Sam.” said the Fox, now gently caressing her face with his tale, “I’m sorry for getting angry, but you must not live in the past. Only young children and dying old people live in the past. You must learn that there are no regrets.
Look at me.” he told her.
“No regrets. Do whatever your heart tells you. Live with no regrets.”
And this sounded so good to her, because even as she tried to bury it, the guilt of leaving David alone on the quest to who knows where weighed heavily on her. She needed a reason to let go of the guilt.
“No regrets.” she said to herself. “I will do whatever my heart tells me. I live with no regrets.”
As she said this, she saw to her left, through the gaps between the moving people, an old man and an old woman, chained to a pressing stone, pushing an extremely heavy round weight to provide wine for the feast, and just as she was about to ask the Fox about them, they fell in exhaustion, and called out to her, “Please, beautiful girl, please set us free from our burden. You look like you have soul left within you. Please save us.”
Again, Sam felt like she recognized them, and she turned to walk to them but was stopped by the Fox. “Sam, misfortune happens to some people. Don’t let their misfortune affect yours. Be grateful that you’re in the feast! No need to let their pain worry you. You must think of your own happiness because everyone deserves happiness – you most of all.”
For a moment Sam thought, “If everyone deserves happiness, what happened to their happiness?”
The Fox quickly looked her straight in the eye, “Me most of all. Say it.”
Sam listened to the Fox and repeated, “Me most of all. Me most of all. Everyone deserves happines. Me most of all. You’re right sir. I deserve happiness. I was on that hard road for too long that I lost myself, I forgot who I was. Now I am who I truly am, in this feast, with you. No more regrets.”
She turned to the old couple now lying dead, and she no longer recognized them, and could not distinguish their human form from the expensive sculptures. A dead being is the most expensive sculpture of all.
How the sweet words of the selfish blind the selfish.
The hungry boy, the pregnant girl, the toiling old couple, each had passed before her yet none she followed. Many times it is not the crucible that dooms us but the feather touch we enjoy so much.
With each blind eye turned, excuse accepted, and selfish rationalization, Sam surrendered, and surrendered, and surrendered, until she had surrendered it all.
Euphoria has a way of revealing the most vile things within us, and it always starts by celebrating “Me most of all”.
Sam could not remember feeling this much fun and freedom, and her simple mindedness gave way to the pleasure. This time confidently she joined the Fox in doing his rounds, sharing her honey with strangers and drinking from their glasses. She knew not what she drank yet she thanked them. They passed her along and held her in new ways, making her try new things, things she did not know what nor why they were to be done, yet she thanked them.
Worst of all, she knew not that her honey was running out, and this is the worst that can happen in a feast.
The music must never stop for the musician or who needs him in a feast? The laughter must always ring from the funny man for that is his job. The makeup must never come off the beauties, and they must always remember to tease, or else someone might actually realize their wrinkles stretched. The banker must lavishly treat or people might catch-on to his greed. The divas must sing, the models must strut, the chefs must cook and bake and prepare, the artists much farcically create, and everyone, including the so-called wise men, must pretend to understand how important all of this is to the universe, because here, “I am the universe in this universe of me above all”.
Yet Sam was running out of honey.
In a feast something must be devoured, and when all you have to offer is gone, the offering becomes you.