All the pieces of the puzzle of life fall neatly into place. I've thought about life, existence, the universe, and God for the first fifty years of my personal life. Now I wish to divulge my findings, and find my destiny in the second 50. This is the personal/universal journey of Michael F. Nyiri

Those who misconstrue the lessons life teaches and do not learn by them are usually the ones who complain about the random nature of existence. There are those who passively become part of their own scenery, and there are those who carry around their own paintbrushes.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

holeinthewall1.jpg

"A Hole in the Wall"
A Fable, by Michael F. Nyiri
Began Sunday, July 11, 2004 (first three paragraphs.)
Written Sunday, January 7, 2007

Any similarities to persons living or dead, or to real events or places are purely coincidental. This is a fairy tale. Not an attempt to preach or proselytize.


oneuponatime

there were two kingdoms separated by a wall.

No one really knew how long the wall had been separating the two kingdoms, but everyone in both kingdoms remembered that it had always existed, and everyone in both kingdoms knew that each Kingdom abhorred and disrespected the denizens of the other kingdom, as they had been taught for many many generations.
The seers and teachers of each kingdom taught that each kingdom "belonged" on the same spot of land, a most holy spot of land, and this spot of land had always been contested. Throughout the centuries, the armies of both kingdoms fought long and hard to gain ownership of this spot of land, and thousands had died in the defending and attacking of it. Finally, each group of people, commanded by their kings, settled uneasily in the city, and tolerance gained momentum over insanity for scant moments, but small wars and skirmishes always occured, and true peace, it seemed, would never be gained. Then one king thought it would be wise to separate the kingdoms, and had erected the wall, so that there would be no further fighting and killing in the name of ownership. Of course the other wise king didn't agree, and there were still daily skirmishes around the two kingdoms, when one group of fighters would infiltrate the other kingdom and kill or kidnap it's denizens, and otherwise disrupt and destroy it's streets and houses. Time advanced, flowing rather erratically, but somewhat peacefully, depending upon one's definition of peace.

It is said that Gods inhabited the Earth a long time ago. They were giants, with supreme intellects, and for a while, it is said, men and Gods coexisted, but time has forgotten the circumstances under which the Gods fled the Earth, and man has been alone on the planet ever since, left to his own devices to conjure up stories of these Gods and to develop ways in which to worship them. In the two kingdoms, the existence of these many earlier Gods was moot, because each of the rulers of the Kingdoms had inherited the teachings of the former seers and prophets, and each of these rulers not only believed with great faith, but knew unequivocally and irrevocably that the God they worshipped was the last remaining God, and was the "True God".

Into these kingdoms was born two youngsters. They lived on either side of the wall.

Little Muhammad lived in a house on the edge of the Kingdom of the Crescent Moon, on land his parents and grandparents told him had been in the family for over two thousand years. The wall divided the back yard of their property, and little Muhammad accepted it as a part of his world, but wondered why the king of the other kingdom had built it, since it was on his family's land. Muhammad had great faith in the "One True God" and worshipped him daily, even though most of the time it would seem that he really didn't have much for which to be thankful. By the time he was on the cusp of manhood, at age 13, he began to receive visions and have dreams in which God talked to him personally, and asked him to recite the truth as it was to be given to him to his people.

Little Yeshua lived in a house on the other side of the wall, in the Kingdom of the Six Pointed Star, and his grandparents had "settled" on this land two generations ago. His family gave him all kinds of reasons why they belonged in the area, and even though it was sometimes dangerous for little Yeshua when he would walk outside on the streets of his family's "settlement". Yeshua's mother kept a secret, but by the time he too was 13, the boy had heard enough whispered household discussions to know that before he was born, his mother claimed to have been visited by God, and if the unbelievable was to be believed, he was the spawn of the union of Gods and men. His father was a quiet sort, not given to committing to any version of "the truth", and of course Yeshua was not even supposed to know about the "divine" nature of his existence. Yeshua was deeply religious, as was Muhammad, and as were most of the denizens of each kingdom. Those who didn't have such devoted faith in either God had left for greener pastures and more delightful surroundings long ago.

What had been lost in the translation of the ancient scrolls and tablets which described the existence of this "Last True God" for each of the kingdoms was the revelation that in fact he was the same God. Perhaps he was the last of the race of Gods, or perhaps he had been existant since the beginning of time, or perhaps even before that. Nobody knew. Inconsistencies in the major religious texts of each kingdom had been edited long ago to create a solid if somewhat unbelievable account of the history of time, and of the generations of each kingdom who had actually talked to God.

Sadly for the people who lived in the kingdoms, God didn't seem to agree about which side he was really on.

Yeshua and Muhammad were not like the other children, and kept to themselves, content to play in the back yard, and contemplate the nature of God. Perhaps not so coincidentally, they each witnessed an epiphany on the same day at around the same time one afternoon. There in the wall, partially hidden from view by a vine plant, but plainly visible once you really looked at it, was a hole. Not a large hole, but one through which one might glimpse a view of the other back yard. The wall was a clear separation between the two kingdoms, and each boy thought of himself as a humble and righteous denizen of his kingdom. The separation wasn't that solid, or so it would seem, because right in the middle of the wall which separated the two backyards was a hole.

Each boy warily approached the wall, and each bent his body down and lowered his eye to the hole. Both were surprised to see the other's eye peering through the hole. "My Star of Stars" exclaimed Yeshua.

"By the Moon's Light", gasped Muhammad.

Neither child should be swearing oaths of course, and they each knew immediately that they had committed an aural infraction. "Who are you?" inquired Yeshua, who was quite brave, and had proved so when taking his walks through the settlement.

"I'm Muhammad, of the Kingdom of the Crescent Moon", he replied proudly. I never thought I'd ever be able to see the other side of the wall. "It doesn't look that different on your side as it is on mine. Who are you?"

"Yeshua. The Chosen, from the Kingdom of the Six Pointed Star" the boy almost felt important, and gave a sly allusion to some of the whispers he had heard around the house. "Since we both live in the same area, it shouldn't look too different in our back yards."

"Yes, I suppose that is true. The grass is just as green. The olive trees bear the same fruit."

"But I am rightfully here. My Kingdom has decreed it. Your people should move out of the Kingdom."

"Wait a minute, Yeshua. My family was here first, and our Kingdom existed before your people laid their claim. It is because we have unsuccessfully tried to take back our land that your King built the wall in the first place."

"God tells us that this land is our Holy Land. We began our existence here and we belong here. We traveled the world for centuries, and were enslaved by great Kingdoms, waiting generations, and directed here by God. Your people are nomads, and settled in many places before coming here. That's why we are the rightful owners of this land, and why our king built the wall."

Muhammad thought for a bit, and relaxed by sitting on a grassy hillock on his side of the fence next to the hole. "I don't see how you say that your God told you to come here."

"He actually led us here, and spoke to our kings."

"God did speak to man in the past, but that was a long time ago. Your people only recently actually settled on this land, if you look at your histroy."

"Our histories are certainly similar, since we each live on the same Earth, but we don't live in the same world," said Yeshua "And I'm sure your histories contain only those events which were positive for your culture."

"Well, how about yours?"

"No difference," Yeshua replied. "Our histories are written and rewritten all the time, but they are always guarded by the rabbincal elders."

"So we both agree that our God has told us we belong here."

"And we both agree that our histories have been essentially dictated by the ruling elite."

"I didn't agree!" exclaimed Muhammad.

"Well, think about it. When the first nomads actually pitched their tents for good by the side of the River of Conception, which you call the Waters of Life, but which are both the same river, didn't the different tribes disagree on how your culture would be constructed? Weren't there wars between the battling warlords, until finally the strongest won, and it was his ideas and culture which has been passed on?"

Muhammad didn't need to think long. Most of his years had been devoted to study of his religion's dogmas. "All manner of interpretation is correct. It is not the strongest but the wisest who will succeed, and if blood has to be shed in the process, then that is the way of God, and is accepted."

They traded friendly jousts for a couple of hours, but neither boy would give in to the other, and both held fast to their verison of their heritage. Never did they actually quarrel, however, and as the long shadows of the evening drew upon them, and as both heard their mother's calling them in to prepare for the eveing meal, they amicably separated, turned away from each other, and went back into their respective worlds. Yeshua, long used to living in a household with secrets, kept his from his family, and Muhammad retired to his bedroom for prayers right after the meal was consumed, and slept soundly, given to dreams of God conversing with him, and telling him to recite the true word.

A few days passed before both would meet again, and it was during another lazy afternoon when both boys saw each other again. If they had been active like their friends and siblings, they would have been out playing ball in the streets, or chasing the carts of the merchants, or taunting the girls of the village. But they were both contemplative and solemn boys in the eyes of their respective societies, and they pretty much kept to themselves. When they met again, each thought better of trying to talk about matters other than those which divided their families and kingdoms.

"I'm training to be a carpenter." Yeshua offered about his studies, but couldn't help but to add, "To build a piece of furniture well and simply is to feel enraptured with the good graces of God."

"I would like to experience the camel trade," Muhammad beamed. "I'm really good with numbers and calculations, and the dromedary is the ancient carrier of my ancestors."

"A camel trader? Shouldn't you set your sights a bit higher?"

"Look at you. A carpenter? Working with your bare hands all day?" Muhammad giggled good naturedly. "You can make lots of dinars in the camel trade. My Uncle Yassar always brings me some nice gifts after he comes back from a caravan."

"The joy should be in the giving, and not in the receipt." Yeshua said matter of factly.

"I know." Try as hard as he might, he was too devout a child not to bring the almighty into the conversation, and was not really thinking about what he was saying, because he felt a bonded kinship already with his new friend from beyond the wall which separated them. "God has told me not to rely upon nor covet material wealth."

"Don't you mean the Word of God has told you."

"Er, Yeshua." Muhammad seemed guarded.

"Don't you mean the..."

"I know what you asked. I have a secret."

"What secret. God talks to you personally! Is that it?"

"I've never admitted this to anyone before. I think my parents would suspect I were losing my mind."

"Are you serious? You actually think God speaks directly to you?"

"Yes, Yeshua. God has come to me in dreams, and while on pilgrammage to the caves in back of the city. He speaks to me, and tells me to recite his word to my people."

"Well, Muhammad. I believe you completely."

"Come on. It would seem pretty unbelievable if I were you."

"Well, you don't know my family. They all think they've been visited by Angels. My mother thinks not only that God has spoken to her, but laid with her."

"Well, then they're nuts."

"Not any nuttier than you. Mother is very devout. She believes I'm the Son of God. But she hasn't told me this. Sometimes, though, I wonder. I feel different than most everyone I know."

"I feel different too. As if the whole world is different. Except..... for you."

Although each of the boys had just divulged to each other words which would surely have caused consternation among their families, they continued talking easily and without ire. Being young, and unburdened as yet with the cynicism of age, they accepted their stories, and remained enraptured with their conversation. Each felt, in fact, that he was learning a bit from the other. Muhammad and Yeshua parted ways again, and every other week or so, for over a year, they continued their meetings, unbeknownst to the rest of the kingdoms.

Yeshua grew to believe that perhaps he was divine, but perhaps again maybe he was no more divine than anyone else. And maybe it really didn't matter. Muhammad still heard the Word of God in his head, but he also listened to his friend. He began to understand that sometimes the call to arms was not always the best solution to a conflict. The boys agreed that they disagreed, and before each left his home for an adult life of his own in his respective kingdom, the boys met for what they thought would be the last time.

"My friend, my friend," Muhammad began, gazing at the obscured but definite shape of his friend through the weather beaten hole in the wall of their backyard fence. "It is with regret that I must say my farewells as I am on the road with the caravan tomorrow noon."

"May peace be with you always" Yeshua remarked, echoing a phrase which was used by both kingdoms to wish a traveler well on his journey through life. "I have secured a small carpentry shop in town, and have already gained my first customer, a rabbi who needs pews for his temple."

"The best of luck to you, my friend Yeshua."

"Do you still hear the voice of God in your head?"

"Stronger than ever. Do you still think you're the Son of God."

"Well, I'm either the Son of God or the Son of Man, but I know that we will all gain access to the final kingdom if we all love one another."

"How about your enemies."

"We should love them the most deeply."

"You sound more like one of your rabbis than like a woodworker."

"Well, you've always sounded more like a prophet than a camel trader."

The two friends laughed. Then parted ways. Time passed. Life progressed for each of the boys, and through either remarkable coincidence, of by divine intervention, each young man eventually grew up through the ranks of their individual societies, and gained followers and position. Muhammad began to recite the Word of God to his people, and in time they made him their King. Yeshua began to preach sermons atop the mountains of the city, and found eternal parables to tell his disciples about the nature of man and the universe. He was publicly criticized by some in the kingdom, but eventually, he too, rose to the ranks of King of his people.

In that time, a great scourge ravaged the land of the two kingdoms. It was a scourge of unreason and moral affliction. People in both kingdoms had become so restless and disgusted living their difficult lives. They were dying not because of natural causes, but because they were being killed. No matter how high the wall had become, it could always be breached by somebody who thought they were on God's side, and the daily skirmishes and battles of centuries past, came back with the vengeance of this scourge. Advisors to the leaders of each kingdom pleaded for and end to the carnage and destruction.

"It is my hope that people love one another." Yeshua decreed to his kingdom. "Turn a blind eye to those who look askance, and turn the other cheek away from them who wouldst smite thee."

"Fight with the sword of vengeance, that's what God has always told me." Muhammad counselled his advisors. "Be resolute in your jihad against oppression. But lately God has appeared to me again and told me that we should lay down our arms." The men around him shook their heads in disbelief. It was far better to end mortality and go to paradise than to give in to the enemy.

Yeshua made a bold move for peace. In the spirit of love, he had his construction crews tear down the wall. For the first time in years, the sun shone on both kingdoms as if they were one and the same. Although the two boys who had met and become friends behind the hole in the wall had not seen nor spoken to each other in a long time, plans were made for a diplomatic meeting, and the two were soon appearing before each other, this time without the ubiquitous wall between them. There was a palpable feeling of possibility in the air, causing people in the audience to realize they were present at the making of history.

Yeshua was the first to speak. "I love you." It was a simple but universal statement.

Muhammed replied. "I love you too, my friend. I always have."

"Then let us join our two most wonderful kingdoms together. And let there be a joyous celebration."

"King Yeshua. God has told me that he is the same God who visited your mother. He speaks to us all in different ways, but we all seem to hear different things. He has never understood why man cannot tolerate each other's differences. Especially since men are alike all over, no matter what their differences."

"That is because man is stubborn. God is wise, but God is the last of his kind, and he's only one God, after all. From now on, the walls and separations between our two kingdoms will disappear. I acknowledge your kingdom's claim to this land, and apologize for the years of battling you."

"I acknowledge your kingdom's claim to this land." Muhammad said. "God never intended for our peoples to fight. But as you say, men are stubborn, and sometimes their leaders do not do very well by them."

The crowd, composed of both the peoples of the kingdoms of the Crescent Moon and Six Sided Star, broke into a raucous applause. For once in history, the people were being led on the path of understanding, and they felt their burdens being lifted from their bodies, their intellects, and their hearts. Most of the citizens in each kingdom had forgotton generations ago why they were so disrespectful of each other. Simply because their fathers and grandfathers had been fighting the people on the other side of the wall, they by their rightful destiny felt they had to do the same. That is, until the kings who had become friends behind a hole in the wall became the leaders of the land.

Under their shared leadership, the Kingdom of God, as it became to be known, flourished with a cultural and spiritual renaissance unmatched in history. Man stopped fighting wars, peace reigned forever, and everybody lived happily ever after.

6 Comments:

Blogger The Uneducated Homeschooler said...

I will say it's well written, but it's completely blasphemous to both religions: Jesus said "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No-one comes to the Father except through me." That's pretty exclusive. He never said anything like what you said he did or thought. Certainly Jesus believed in the power of Love, but what he did with that love was choose to die for all of us. He never said that people of other religions would be saved without him. Muhammad, though I don't know as much about him, would most likely be ashamed by what you just wrote, he completely disagreed with you as well, for him it was following the dictates of the God that he heard in his vision, Allah, and the dictates were utterly different than the God of both the Old and New Testament.
The tale itself was incredibly well weaved and fascinatingly interesting, but inherently flawed from the perspective that it's utterly contradictory to the reality of this world and both of those leaders. Either one or the other was right or possibly both were wrong, but it is not possible that the two contradictions could both be accurate.
-Josh Dasher

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