Chapter One - The
Place of Loss
Jason sat on a stump
at the edge of the forest, overlooking a wide meadow. He came here
often on warm summer days, just to gaze at the meadow and the
explosion of colours given off by the millions of wildflowers that
grew there. He observed the grasshoppers and butterflies, the small
squirrels, rabbits and field mice. Once in a while a deer would
wander out of the forest to feed, and Jason would watch it and
sometimes the deer would watch Jason. Their eyes would meet, and at
those times, he felt he was part of nature. He was at home here, in
a kingdom strangely known as 'The Place of
Jason grew up in a
warm and loving family. His parents worked hard to provide for him
and he never wanted for anything. It sounded like a perfect life,
and this is where this story should have ended, but he felt there
was something missing.
His family was very
religious and they attended religious services every Sunday. Jason
was excited to attend these services, as he felt that perhaps they
were the answer to the loss that he felt in his own life. The Grand
Orator, as he was called, spoke of love and faith and good works,
and Jason drank up every word, but when the service was over he
still felt that something was lacking.
One Sunday the
Orator spoke of two other kingdoms, 'The Place of Pain and
Confusion' and 'The Kingdom of the Glories'.
'The Place of Pain and Confusion' sounded like a
horrible place. The Orator described it as a dark kingdom. He said
it was a cold, lonely place, where every thought became clouded and
confused and every action resulted in some sort of discomfort or
pain. He said there was much controversy over whether that kingdom
really existed, but assured his listeners, that if it did, there
was little chance of anyone actually going there.
of the Glories', on the other hand, sounded absolutely
wonderful. It was filled with light and sound and laughter. There
was no loneliness, confusion or pain in this kingdom, only joy and
contentment. This is what was missing in his life. Perhaps that is
why he spent so much time at the edge of the forest, overlooking
the meadow. He was looking for that joy and contentment, and felt
that perhaps he could find it in nature itself.
The Orator went on
to say that it was easy to find one's way to 'The
Kingdom of the Glories'. All one needed to do was to live a
good life, be kind to others and do good works.
"Wow", thought Jason, "That seems so easy.
That's what I needed to hear. I know I'll feel better
now and will no longer feel this sense of loss that I have been
experiencing." For the first few days after hearing the
Orator speak, all seemed fine, but the feeling didn't last
long and Jason was once again sitting on the stump at the edge of
the forest, trying to find the answer that would help him fill this
He soon began
spending more and more time at the edge of the meadow, and as time
went by, he started to hike and explore the forest itself. On one
of his hikes he crossed a hill, and overlooking the valley below,
he saw a narrow path winding away in the distance. Curiosity got
the best of him and he just had to find out where it
It was no easy task
finding the entrance to the path, as the whole area was covered in
thick brambles. Each time he tried to enter the brambles, the
thorns would scratch and pierce and sting. It seemed like a futile
effort, but Jason was not one to give up so easily. Besides, he was
in nature, the place where he loved to be, and as he searched for
the entrance to the path, the nagging sense of loss seemed to fade
slightly, but only slightly. It seemed like forever, but he
eventually found the correct spot in the brambles and pushed
through. Hurting and bleeding, he stumbled onto a narrow pathway,
the one he had seen from the top of the hill.
Now that he was up
close, it didn't look like much of a pathway at all. Not
only was it narrow, but also the sides of the path were not clearly
marked. It was covered in large boulders, patches of bramble and
crevasses and it climbed and fell, making walking
He should have been
discouraged by this time, but the longing to rid himself of these
lost feelings pushed him forward. He didn't know why, but he
felt that this pathway was somehow the answer for which he was looking.
The sun was hot that
day and the sky was completely devoid of clouds. He had not prepared
himself for this journey and had not brought any supplies with him.
He was hungry, tired, hurting, but mostly thirsty. It was
overwhelming, (this thirst), and he could think of nothing else.
His mind became somewhat delusional, and he dreamed of a place
where he could drink of cool clear water and never thirst again.
Could there really be such a place?
The sun was still
burning overhead when he awoke, and he realized that he had passed
out. He was weak and confused and his eyes would not focus. He laid
there for what seemed to be an eternity and tried to look around,
but saw only blurry rises and depressions, where once there was a
Slowly his vision
returned, and in the distance he saw a high wall and a massive
gate. The gate was at the very end of the path. It was a formidable
looking gate, but yet it stood open, as if to welcome him to enter.
He had come too far to stop now, and although he was in pain, weak
and thirsting, he stumbled on. Reaching the gate, he fell across
the threshold and found himself overlooking a wide
Chapter Two -
The Place of Promise
Jason sat on the
stump at the edge of the forest. "What has happened?"
he wondered, "Have I just been going around in circles? Is
this not the same stump I have sat on day after day, and is this
not the same meadow where I have enjoyed the colours of the
wildflowers and observed the grasshoppers, butterflies, and small
animals?" It seemed to him as if the whole last day and the
treacherous journey had been for nothing, yet, as he sat there
pondering, he felt different. The feeling of loss didn't
seem as strong as it had before. Something definitely was different
about this place and he had to find out what it was.
Leaving the forest
and the meadow, he walked back into the town. I say he walked back,
because this place seemed no different than the place he had left
one day ago. He knew exactly where the town was, and when he
arrived, it looked no different than where he had lived before.
There on the corner was the house where he lived with his mother
and father, yet it was not his mother and father that he saw in the
yard. Just down the road was the meeting place, where the religious
services were held, and where the Orator spoke of 'The Place
of Pain and Confusion' and 'The Kingdom of the
Yes, it looked like
the same place, but something was different. What was it? Then he
knew what it was. It was the people, their attitude and spirit.
They were happy and content; yes, really happy and content, not
like those in 'The Place of Loss'. These people were
As he stood there
pondering these things, he was approached by one of the
townspeople. "You're new here, aren't
you?" they said. "Yes I am", said Jason,
"but where is 'here'?" "This is
'The Place of Promise'" was the reply.
"Come, let me take you to see the Father; he will explain
this place to you."
house stood atop a high hill. Out of the hill flowed a quiet stream
bordered by lush and exquisite vegetation. Majestic trees also grew
on each side of this stream, each bearing twelve crops of fruit, so
that a fresh crop could be harvested each month. The leaves of
these trees were used as medicine, for the healing of the body,
mind and spirit.
The house was an
enormous structure, covering the entire top of the hill. The colour
of the house was an azure blue. It had large balconies, tall
statuesque pillars and many, many windows. Each window was made out
of a single gem. There were windows of jasper, sapphire, agate,
emerald, onyx, beryl, topaz and amethyst. When the sunlight hit the
windows at the right angle, they blazed with coloured beams that
spread across the hill and down the banks of the stream. It was an
followed his host up the hill and stood before the massive front
door. He rang the bell and a sound like that of an angelic choir
filled the air. He waited nervously and expectantly for the door to
Then he appeared,
the one known as the Father. "Jason, I am so glad you have
come; I have been expecting you." The Father explained that
he had been watching Jason from the moment he had pushed his way
through the thick brambles at the beginning of the narrow pathway
and started his difficult journey towards the gates of the kingdom
known as 'The Place of Promise'.
have made a very courageous and wise decision in coming
here," he continued. This is indeed a place of promise, many
promises in fact. Please have a seat and I will tell you of the
wonderful things I have in store for you. Jason sat at the
Father's feet and listened to the first promise.
"Jason, I am going to prepare a place for you. When
everything is ready I will come and get you, so that you will
always be with me where I am." The father then went on to
describe a beautiful, peaceful kingdom known as 'The Kingdom
of the Glories'.
But Jason was no
longer listening to the other promises being given to him by the
Father. All he could hear was the phrase being repeated, "I
will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I
am." His mind was transported to what he could only imagine
the 'Kingdom of the Glories' to be like. He imagined a
kingdom of lights and vivid colours, even more beautiful than those
of the wildflowers growing in the meadow; a place of peace and
contentment, where the feeling of loss would no longer torment
"There are a
few rules that must be followed in order to reach this
kingdom," the Father was saying. Jason's mind
returned to the present moment and he heard the Father say,
"You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all
your soul, and all your strength and your neighbour as yourself.
Keep your life free from the love of money and be content with what
you have. In everything, do to others what you would have them do
to you." The Father spoke well on into the evening, telling
Jason of the many things that were expected of him, if he was to
enter the 'Kingdom of the Glories'. He ended by
saying, "Stay on the path that the Lord your God has
commanded you to follow. Then you will live a long and prosperous
life in the land you are about to enter."
His mind was in a
whirl. There was so much to remember and do. Was he capable? Did he
have the willpower and strength to complete the task and stay
faithful to the Father? Yes, he could do it; he had the strength.
He committed there and then to follow the commandments of the
Father, to be a good and faithful servant and eventually enter into
the 'Kingdom of the Glories'.
It had been many
years since Jason first entered the 'Place of Promise'
and life had been good. The commandments had been difficult to
follow at first, but became easier as time went on, or so it seemed.
Actually, he really took little notice of them.
He assumed he was following them as he had been
instructed. He knew for sure that he had done many good works since
he had arrived here, and he assumed that they would justify any
shortcomings when it came to following the commandments to the
letter. As time went on, he became full of pride. He believed he had
gained much favour in 'The Place of Promise', and that
his many good works had truly earned him his rightful place in
'The Kingdom of the Glories'. With that thinking, he
became restless and dissatisfied with the life he had been given in
this present kingdom and he wanted more.
He returned once
again to the stump at the edge of the forest, overlooking the wide
meadow. His mind was restless. He relived all the years since he
had come to this kingdom, examined all the good works he had done
and believed in his heart that he deserved more than what had been
promised. The 'Kingdom of the Glories' seemed like
such a far off place, and he was not willing to wait. He wanted
what he felt he had earned, and he wanted it now.
Jason was once again
hiking and exploring the forest, but this time it was not to enjoy
nature, but to find something or some place that would be deserving
of his good works and upright living.
- The State of Complacency
On one of this many
hikes, Jason crossed a hill and stood overlooking a valley. On the
other side of the valley he saw what looked like another kingdom,
and running the length of the valley, connecting the hill where he
stood to this kingdom, was a wide, smooth highway. There were no
boulders, brambles or crevasses covering this road. It was flat,
wide and beautiful. The pavement was clear as glass and the sides
of the highway were lined with wildflowers.
The valley was wide
and he could barely make out what seemed to be a party in progress;
somewhat like the county fairs his parents took him to when he was
younger. There was eating and drinking and dancing. Straining his
ears, he could hear the slight sound of music and laughter. Oh, how
he longed to be in that place where life looked to be so free and
easy. He was tired of trying to live the commandments of the
Father. They were too hard and he was not able to keep them. That
is why it was that he seemed to take them for granted and tried to
live off his good works. He just couldn't keep them;
that's all there was to it, and he was tired of
Before he could
think, his feet were moving under him and he was running down the
hill and heading for that beautiful highway that would take him to
a place of freedom, far from the demanding commandments of the
And then he was
there, standing among those laughing and happy people. There was no
large, heavy gate at the end of the highway, protecting this
kingdom from the outside world. Everything was open, as if to give
the impression that one was free to do as he pleased because he had
earned this right through his good works.
Soon everyone was
crowding around him, asking his name and where he had come from,
welcoming him into the kingdom that was to be known as 'The
State of Complacency'.
Things were now
happening so fast that he could hardly keep up. He was ushered into
a great hall and greeted by an official representative. After a
short speech, commending and praising him for all the good works he
had done while living in 'The Place of Promise', he
was presented with hundreds of bags containing shiny coins. There
were thousands of coins of every precious metal imaginable, gold,
silver, bronze and even platinum.
He was overwhelmed
with the hospitality that was being shown. And what had he done to
deserve all these thousands of precious, shiny coins? It was soon
explained to him that the coins represented the credits earned
through the good works done by him while living in 'The Place
of Promise'. "Finally," he thought, "I
am being rewarded for all my good works. I am finally getting what
'The Place of
Promise' soon became a faded memory to Jason. Life in
'The State of Complacency' was good. He could finally
live the fine life, doing whatever he wanted, without worrying
about keeping silly rules. He was in control now, and he would do
as he pleased.
Jason had been
living in 'The State of Complacency' for one month,
when a knock came to the door. He opened the door to see a tiny man
standing there holding a clipboard. The man looked rather
unassuming, but when he opened his mouth to speak, there was a
definite sound of authority. "Jason," the man said,
"You have now been living here for one month, and I have
come to collect the wages." "The wages?" Jason
replied,"I don't understand, what wages?"
"Well, the wages of sin, of course," replied the tiny
He had never heard
of such a thing, so the tiny man carefully explained it to him.
"Jason, you came to the 'State of Complacency'
based entirely on your good works. Don't you remember why we
gave you all those shiny coins when you first arrived? They were
tokens representing the credits you had accumulated for all the
good works you had done while living in 'The Place of
Promise'. Now you are in 'The State of
Complacency', where you can do anything you wish, but any
transgressions must still be paid for as wages of sin."
"I have attended religious services all my life",
replied Jason, "and the Orator spoke of love and faith and
good works, but never of the wages of sin." "That is
because he only told you what you wanted to hear," the tiny
man continued, "what made you feel good, and not the whole
truth. The wages of sin is a law of the kingdoms, and," he
added with a sly grin, "we wouldn't want to break any
laws now, would we?"
Jason felt as if he
was going to faint. "W-w-w-well," he stammered,
"H-h-h-how much will it cost me?" "Oh,
don't be so worried, Jason," the tiny man cut in,
"Your transgressions have been very small this month. Three
small bronze coins should cover it." "Is that
all?" Jason breathed a sigh of relief,"That's
nothing," and he flipped the tiny man three coins and closed
He looked around the
room with relief, mixed with pride and arrogance. He noted the many
large piles of shiny coins spread around the room. After receiving
the bags of coins on his arrival, he had gone to his room and
emptied the bags on the bed. The coins were in such number, as to
fill the bed and most of the floor. He had spent the rest of the
day organizing them in piles of platinum, gold, silver and bronze.
Now he was able to see the value in his good works. They had
resulted in a wealth of coins that had his room almost bursting at
the seams. He could do anything he wanted and all it would cost him
was a few shiny coins.
As time went on, he
became more and more comfortable in his surroundings in 'The
State of Complacency'. He even made a couple good friends in
this kingdom, and all together they would carouse, day and night,
doing whatever seemed right in their own eyes, and at the end of
each month there would be a knock at the door, and the tiny man
would collect their wages of sin. It seemed so simple and so right.
He had earned these shiny coins. Did he not have the right to use
them as he wished? The payment at the end of each month became such
a regular routine, that Jason was unaware that it was becoming
larger every time.
It had now been one
year since he had found his new life in 'The State of
Complacency', and he was in the mood for a celebration. He
called upon his two friends and together they went with him to
enjoy the pleasures of the kingdom. They stayed out all day and all
night and all the next day and all the next night. Finally, in
total exhaustion, they returned to their rooms and slept, dreaming
of all the things they had done. The days and weeks passed, and
again it was the end of the month.
The familiar knock
came to the door and Jason opened it. "How much this month,
little man?" he spoke with impudence. He leaned against the
wall, calmly smoking a thick cigar and blowing smoke rings into the
air. The tiny man flipped through his clipboard, looking for
Jason's name. "This month's wages will be
100,000 platinum coins, 50,000 gold coins, 30,000 silver coins and
25 bronze coins." the little man replied. "What? Are
you kidding?" Jason was in shock. "Well, you have had
a pretty busy month," the tiny man returned. Grudgingly he
scooped up the required payment and gave it to the tiny man, who
started to leave with not so much as a 'thank you'.
"Oh, by the way," he turned back to face Jason,
"You know those two friends of yours? Well, they're
being sent back to 'The Place of Loss'. Seems they
have spent all their shiny coins and can no longer afford to be
Sent back to
'The Place of Loss'? Jason was having a hard time
processing the message. He felt very sorry for his friends, and so
he should, for to be sent back to 'The Place of Loss'
could mean only one thing. They would most likely take up future
residence in 'The Place of Pain and Confusion'. The
Orator had said that it was unlikely that this place existed, but
Jason knew that it did. "Well, that's not going to
happen to me," he thought, "Look at all my
shiny..... . He stopped in mid-sentence
and tried to catch his breath, as he surveyed his room and what was
left of his coins. Only a handful of bronze coins lay in the corner
of the room. He remembered back to the day he arrived here, and how
the officials of the kingdom had lavished so many bags of coins
upon him. He was horrified to see that he had burned through them
in only one year. It was now obvious that, like his friends, he too
could no longer afford to live in 'The State of
- Return To The Place of Promise
Jason was restless
all that night. He slept very little, and when he did, he dreamed
that shiny coins were dancing about his bed, then, laughing
hysterically, they flew out the window.
He woke up with a
jolt. The sun was just topping the horizon and people were leaving
their homes to join in on the riotous living of the day. But Jason
had only one thing on his mind; he must get away from this kingdom
immediately. Not stopping to pack his things, he ran as hard as he
could. He must find the beautiful highway that had brought him
here. He had not seen it since he had arrived, but he was sure he
could remember where it was. He ran past the homes of his two
friends, slowing only briefly out of respect. He ran on past the
great hall, where the official representative had welcomed him so
warmly, and on towards the gathering of people, who were dancing
and singing, as others were on the day he arrived. He was getting
close now. Just around the next bend should be the beautiful
highway with the glass-like pavement and the border of
When he arrived at
the spot, the highway was nowhere to be seen. "I know it was
here," Jason lamented, "I know it was here."
He strained to focus his eyes on where he had last seen the highway
and thought he could see the faint outline of a narrow, rocky
pathway. Covering the entrance to the pathway were large patches of
brambles. He was reminded of the pathway he followed when he had
left 'The Place of Loss' many years ago.
did not stop me then, and they will not stop me now," he
shouted. Down the hill he charged, running headlong into them. But
these were no ordinary brambles like the ones he had encountered
on the first pathway. The thorns on these ones were enormous, each
one like a double-edged sword. They slashed and stabbed, sliced and
jabbed. It was as if each one had a life of its own and they were
determined not to let the intruder pass. But Jason did pass.
Hurting and bleeding and near the point of death, he tumbled
through the brambles and onto the pathway.
His breathing was
shallow and his heart pounded in his chest. It seemed to take
forever for him to gather enough strength to look about his
surroundings. Like the first pathway, the sides of this one were
not clearly marked. In fact, there were places where the path
seemed to disappear entirely. The boulders on this pathway were
like tall mountains; the brambles like trees, making the patches of
them look more like large forests. The crevasses were basically
cliffs, falling into gorges thousands of feet deep. Like the first
pathway, this one also rose and fell, but the elevations were
almost perpendicular, making travel impossible.
hysterical. He needed to follow the path. He needed to find his way
back to 'The Place of Promise'. Oh, if only he could
see the Father one more time, just to tell him that he was sorry
for what he had done. He knew that he could not expect to be
forgiven for his transgressions or be invited to live in 'The
Kingdom of the Glories', but maybe the Father would have
enough compassion on him to let him stay in 'The Place of
Promise'. He knew he could not expect to have all the rights
of a free citizen, but perhaps he could be a servant. Jason dropped
to his knees and with a final cry of desperation he shouted,
"Father, forgive me for I have sinned."
The words were
barely out of his mouth, when he saw what looked to be a dove
flying towards him from the direction of 'The Place of
Promise'. As it circled overhead, he felt a strong, warm
wind push against his back, lifting him high in the air. He was now
floating over the pathway, the mountainous boulders, the tree-like
brambles and the deep gorges. Jason had never felt such peace since
he had left 'The Place of Promise' one year ago. Soon
he was sound asleep.
When he awoke, he
was looking up into the face of the Father. "Jason, my
child," said the Father, "Where have you been? I have
been looking everywhere for you." Jason broke down in tears,
telling the Father that he had run away because he could not keep
the commandments. "The promise of 'The Kingdom of the
Glories' is wonderful," said Jason, "but the
commandments are just too hard to keep." "Jason, my
dear Jason, I gave you the promise of 'The Kingdom of the
Glories', but did you not hear all the other promises that I
gave you? I told you that I would never leave you nor forsake you.
I told you to give me all your worries and cares, for I care about
you. Jason, don't be discouraged when you find it difficult
to keep the commandments. Just remember this, the battle is not
yours, it is mine, and I will fight for you. I have paid a great
price for you, my child. It is not your good works that will give
you entrance into 'The Kingdom of the Glories', it is
what I have sacrificed for you. All you need to do is to accept
what I have to offer.
And as Jason lay in
the Father's arms, peaceful and contented, he heard him say,
"Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy
burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me
teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will
find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the
burden I give you is light."
Jason sat on the
stump at the edge of the forest, overlooking the wide meadow. The
colours of the wildflowers today were more brilliant than ever
before, and on the distant horizon he could see a small glimmer of
a kingdom filled with light, colour, sound and laughter, "The Kingdom of the Glories".
David Ronald Bruce Pekrul