|Part V: The Second Attempt
|One day the second son said,
"Father, allow me to go look for the Water of Life."
He thought to himself, "If my brother is dead and I succeed,
the kingdom will fall to me."
At first the king said it was too dangerous, he would rather die himself.
But eventually he gave his permission.
The gates of the palace swung open, and the second son rode out on his great horse,
charging straight ahead down the road.
He looked neither left nor right but only straight ahead,
much like his elder brother. He encountered the same dwarf at the side of the road.
The dwarf asked where he was going so fast.
"You little runt," said the second son, "what business is it of yours?"
He rode on without bothering to slow down or look back.
The dwarf grew furious, fixed his anger on the second son
and befuddled him. Soon, the son rode into a ravine
that became narrower and narrower.
He kept going until his horse couldn't turn around
and couldn't back out. He was stuck;
he might as well have been in a prison.
I like to think that there are basically two parts to our makeup: an outer part and an
inner part. The outer part of our lives is run by our ego-mind, and the inner part of our
lives is where our soul dwells. Basically, I call these two parts:
my ego-mind (outer self)
and my soul (inner self)
In our story, the two older sons have to get really, really stuck, first, before our story
can move along.
The two older sons represent our ego-mind selves.
There are parts of our lives that think we can do anything
in our own power, wisdom and strength.
And the story seems to say that we rely most heavily on our own abilities, first.
These parts of us have to get stuck before Grace can be released.
From a scriptural point of view, the law will never
get us to our destination. Only Grace can bring us there.
To find the water of life, we will have to learn to walk a different way
than the path of confidence, strength, boldness, surety.
The sense that we can do anything needs a "death blow."
We must recognize our weaknesses, our lack of knowledge, gain some humility,
walk with some brokenness if we are to survive in this story.
Anything the smells of self-confidence is going to get stuck
before this story moves forward.
Again we don't know how long it took for the second son to finally leave the castle.
In our personal lives five years may go by before we try again
to tackle some task. And if we have not learned how to live in this story,
we will end up again as the second son, stuck in a canyon...unable to move.
We will have to wait for the third son to find some answers.
In my line of work, the more the outer life is separated from the inner life, problems will
develop. The greater the separation, the greater the mental instability and emotional
pain. Our work is to bring these two parts together into a working unity (like
teamwork). If one part gets more powerful than the other, then we will have problems.
I like this poem as it sheds some light on this area:
I am not I
I am not I.
I am this one
The one walking beside me whom I do not see,
Whom at times I manage to visit,
And whom at other times I forget;
The one who remains silent when I talk,
The one who forgives, sweet, when I hate,
The one who takes a walk when I am indoors,
The one who will remain standing when I die.
Juan Ramon Jimenez
How true! I (my mind-ego part) do not see my soul who walks alongside of me; is rarely
visited; and at times forgotten all together. This inner part of me desires connection and
my ego-head usually gets busy and never notices.
Outer and inner life forces are realities within us. In a relationship it gets more
complicated because now we have four realities to deal with. Hopefully, we can meet
both parts in each other when we are together.
Sometimes I say to my wife, "OK, I hear where you are...now tell me where you really
are...." At times, to say what lies deep inside our heart can be the most difficult to
speak and the most difficult to listen to, as well. Not because we might hurt someone
with the truth. Rather, it might be difficult because we take a "risk" to love in a deeper
way. We don't know if we will be met on the other side. Isn't this true of lovers?
Loving means listening carefully to both parts: mine and yours. And with grace, once in
a while, we may be able to bring those four worlds together for one great moment of
ecstasy. Of course, we always screw it up...we can never keep it there perfectly...but
then we try again...to get it right and possibly have another great moment. And if we
can have enough of those moments over a life time, we have been surely fortunate to
have lived a good life.
Our work is, first of all, to become centered (bringing these two worlds together in a
peaceful fashion within our own lives) and then to create that connection with someone
else's world of experience. Some relationships work out while other relationships can't
quite find their way--even though they try real hard to make it happen. There are only a
few people (maybe two or three) in our lifetime where we will ever get that chance to
"surrender." It is most precious indeed to have found a true friend----
Links from this page:
Third Attempt and the Dwarf