Once upon a time in a land far away, a young handsome prince set out on a journey. The royal prince dreamed of a getaway by the sea, one of complete relaxation in a beautiful destination, also very far away. Leaving behind a multitude of cares, the prince traveled for many days before he arrived at the castle that would be his brief place of solitude and escape.
After such a long journey, his tummy was craving a savory morsel of the sweet food and refreshing drink that this enchanted land was known for. The first stop after approving the accommodations for his stay was the castle lounge. Number one on the list of “must haves,” was the sweet nectar of the agave plant mixed with lime and a hint of salt, on the rocks, of course. Second on the list for the prince was an appetizing treat consisting of the hot, spicy peppers, red, succulent tomatoes and zesty avocados, served with warm, crispy chips. The anticipation had been building from the moment his journey had started many days before. His mouth watered as he waited to be served. He was settling in for seven days of bliss, observing the splendor of his surroundings and grateful for the opportunity to be in such a magnificent place. In not such a great haste, after all, that’s the way of this land, his desires were met and tummy indulged. “Awe…” love the feel the Agave gives… His holiday had officially begun!
Each day, the prince experienced the luxurious surroundings of his oasis where the desert meets the sea. Lazy days were spent by the many beautiful pools, listening to the soothing sounds of nearby waterfalls and thundering waves. Early morning and evening walks were had along the oceans soft, sandy beaches. The prince gazed at beautiful sunrises and sunsets. The warm ocean breezes gently caressed his body as the cool ocean spray misted his cheeks. Life was good for the prince.., but he wanted more of all that is good. More of that sweet Agave nectar called to him and seemed to seal each day with a kiss.
One wonderful morning in particular, the prince learned there was a holiday celebration in the land. He too, desired to celebrate with the people of the land, and, of course, in the same fashion as the people in the land. When it was understood that the celebrating would include more of the sweet agave nectar and more of the spicy succulent fruits of the land, he was ecstatic!
There was a very famous place in land, well known for its production of a great variety of exotic drinks that featured the sweet agave nectar. The prince made haste to visit this place as early in the day as was reasonable, without appearing over zealous. The prince was very pleased with his experience. He was so pleased that not long after he had departed, he heard himself saying, “I want to go back!” and that is just what he did. Truth be told, he went back not just once or twice, but three times that day he indulged his passion.
The sweet agave nectar was now pulsating through his veins and overtaking his senses. He was feeling the sense of freedom that the agave brings. He was laughing lavishly as he strolled along the narrow streets and stumbled over the crooked sidewalks of the city. He was not considering that he may have become impaired. He was being overtaken by his passions; he allowed himself to be drawn to the dark side of his soul.
The prince found himself in a place that he really did not want to be, face down in the mire of a dark street. His fine garments were now soiled. The jewels that once glistened in the sun were now covered in soot. Is this the place where royalty and beauty lies? Is this the place you would expect to find a prince?
The Prince’s story is not what is so important here. Important are the questions that arise from this story, the reasoning that takes place in your own mind. What do you do when you find yourself in this place? Do you stay with your face buried in the mire? Do end your journey by choosing to stay on the ground? Maybe you should stay there for a little while, agonizing in your defeat and disappointment of yourself. Maybe you deserve to stay there. You don’t deserve to get up and walk on. You deserve punishment of some kind. Shouldn’t there be a period of mourning before you allow yourself to get up and go put on clean royal clothing, some kind of penance paid?
Isn’t that how we are in this life, in our culture, maybe? When we, ourselves or someone we know screws up, should they be allowed to just go on with their life? Don’t we expect something from those who for cause us disappointment? We look for signs of remorse and certain attitudes or actions to see if they are truly deserving of our approval, before they can go on with life?
Consider the fallen politician or minister. What about the alcoholic or addict who relapses for yet another time? Of course, we can’t forget the sports figure who allows his inappropriate passions to rule over good judgment, or even the co-worker who fails to produce what is expected. What about the spouse who never gets anything right or has just become boring and not enough anymore? What about the parent who was abusive or neglectful, or just not good enough? Don’t they owe us something before they are allowed to gain access to our good graces once again?
We make it hard enough for people who have fallen to get back up again, but consider your own struggle when you are that person. It takes an internal war to muster enough strength to lift your own face out of the mire to see sunlight again. When you finally raise yourself up on your knees and begin to crawl, should others let you or do they push you back down again? Have you paid your own debt to yourself?
What about grace? Mercy? Forgiveness? Love? When is it OK for us to allow these to come into play, or should they just always be expressed, unrestrained?
What happened to the prince from our tale? He got up. He got up as fast as he could? Despite the internal battle that told them he did not deserve to put on clean royal clothing again, he did it anyway. He chose to walk on to a new day, vowing to not allow himself to be found on the ground again. What would good would it do to stay face down in the mire? What good would it do for him to wait for the people of the land to approve the timing for his return to his position of royalty? After all, he was born as royalty and he would die as royalty.
The moral of this story: When you fall down, be quick to get back up. When your friends, family or leaders fall down, be quick to help them get back up.
Who is in your life that is keeping you down? Who is helping you get up?
Who in your life doesn’t deserve to get up? Who can you help get up?