Here is the result of an evening in a coffee shop.
Day 9: Tell a story.
I walked a long time before I saw the boy.
He was a small boy, with bare feet and heavy curls that fell over his eyes. He stood very still and watched me, solemn and ecstatic at the same time, if that was even possible. "Hello, friend." His voice was sweet, quavering with what seemed to be pure joy at the sight of me standing in front of him.
"Do I know you?" I asked the little boy, unsure how to approach the questions I so badly wanted to ask. What are you doing here all alone? Why do you seem to know me? If you did know me, why would you be so happy to see me? I had walked a long time. The worn road stretched out before me reflected my own heart, torn and broken.
"You know me," he said, shrugging thin shoulders. I waited for more, but he was quiet.
I hesitated, shifting from one foot to the other. The soles of my shoes were cracked from my long journey. How I yearned to sit down for a moment, but under the boy's long stare, I felt uncomfortable taking a seat in the middle of such a crumbling road. "Do you know where we are?"
"We're here." The boy paused for a moment and then grinned up at me. "Together."
That was true. "What's your name?" I asked him. He looked so very familiar, but I could not remember ever meeting a boy as peculiar as this one. Certainly a conversation like this one would have remained stamped in my mind, another thing to mull over as I trudged along this endless road.
The boy took my hand and began to walk with me. "You know my name," he said, "and I know yours. Your name is inscribed on my hand."
"You don't act like normal boys do."
"I'm a boy, but I'm also a king. I'm a lion. I'm a potter. I'm a man."
"Why are you walking?" the boy asked me.
I didn't know how to answer. I didn't know the answer to his question, so I stammered around it the best I could. "Well, I've been walking for a long time. I've just... I've always walked. There's nowhere else to go. Nothing else to do. I have to find my way."
"And has it worked?"
"It will." I was certain when I first began to speak, but as my words left my mouth, they tasted sour with uncertainty. Why was I walking? Where was I going?
"I'm glad you're not running anymore," the boy said. My heart stopped for a moment, overturning in my chest. How did he know the way I had begun this journey? Running blindly, gasping for breath, day after day. I ran until my lungs burst, until my feet bled, until I fell hard into the mud and could not run a single step further. I lay there for days, exhausted and grief-stricken, until I clambered unsteadily to my feet and began to walk. And the boy knew all of this? He held my hand and waited for me to compose my racing thoughts before speaking again. "I have come to offer you rest."
Rest? I barely remembered such a word. How could I rest if I did not know where I was, where I was meant to go? I could only wander. I waved a hand around us, at the jagged precipices and cracked desert sands. Laughter erupted from my throat, dry and bitter. "Where am I supposed to rest? There is only thirst in this place. There is nowhere for me."
"There is rest. You don't need to walk to find it."
"I don't know what you're talking about. You're a strange boy." I began to let go of his hand, to pull away from this strange anchor of security in such a broken place, but he did not let go. He turned to face me, his nose inches from my own.
"Look at me. Am I only a boy? Am I not a father? Am I not a king?"
His eyes brought terror and healing to my heart all at once. Who was this boy? Peace was in his eyes. Wisdom was in his eyes. There was love and joy and endless hope, all in the rounded eyes of a little boy.
"I died for you and still you wander away. I'm offering rest. My father wants to give you rest. Let him."
"I don't even know your father."
"Then know him."
I wanted to. The more his words sank in, the more my heart began to yearn to know this father who wanted to bring me what I could not find on my own. My eyes filled with tears, but I could not stop looking at the boy. Where was his father? Where could I find him?
"You've stopped walking." I paused. So I had. Not only had I stopped walking, but the crumbling desert had vanished. I was now in a field that spanned far beyond what my eyes could see. Soft grass grew beneath my feet. The boy grinned at me. "You stopped wandering," he said, "and you started loving. I'm here to take you on another kind of journey. Each day will be new for you. But while you are on this journey, you will have rest. You are not lost anymore. You're found."
I sat down, overwhelmed by the gentleness of the earth around me, by the love in the boy's gaze. "You will meet my father," he said, "and you've met him already because you've met me."
I believed him.
"Rest and then follow me," the boy told me. His eyes sparked with a joy that caused my heart to overflow. "We have wonderful places to go."
And as the boy sat down next to me, I saw the face of a king.
Two years ago: Big Scary Dolphins
One year ago: Surviving High School