Long ago in a small and dreary village by the sea, there lived three brothers. The name of the village was Despair, and it bordered the Sea of Anguish.
The brothers lived in the same house and worked in the same shop. Many years before, they lost their parents. They shared an identical history of tragic misery, but these three men had three very different hearts.
The oldest brother was named Ice. As far back as anyone could remember, Ice was distant and aloof. His entire life was spent surrounded by people who lived with dreadful hardships, but Ice lived emotionally isolated and secluded even from his brothers. Ice was uncaring, cold and hard.
The middle brother lived without the harshness of his older brother, but apathy and indifference marked his life in the Village of Despair. Fittingly, his parents named him Sand. Like the tiny grains of rock he was named for, Sand had a very small heart.
Sand wasn’t lazy, just emotionally empty. His days were filled with nothingness. No dreams. No passion. No desires of any great value. Bland Sand lacked enthusiasm and energy for anything. Just getting by was enough for him. Boredom was his middle name.
The youngest brother, however, lived a far different life. His name was Fire. Passion for life and eagerness for an adventure filled every aspect of his existence.
Often ridiculed by his older brothers, Fire believed that things could change. With all his heart, he held on to the belief that someday the Great One of Longing would cross the Sea of Anguish and visit his sad village of gloom and misery.
Somehow Fire saw beyond the darkness of his past and the dreariness of his present to the horizon of possibilities. In fact, Fire was full of hopeful anticipation.
The people of the village were men and women much more like Ice and Sand than Fire. They were men and women who had lived so long in the shadows they no longer even thought of the light. Some lived their lives in quiet desperation, others in the angry coldness of their dark souls.
There were rumors of a far better time in the village before the fog of despair descended. In moments of uncommon transparency, some elders spoke of days long gone when the laughter of children filled the village square. They described a place of compassion and care and beauty. And they whispered (through tears) the name of the Great One of Longing who once lived among them in all His splendor. “A far better time,” they said, “A far better place before a dragon of destruction came and brought with him this dreadful cloak of shame and darkness.”
The three brothers had often heard these legends of a benevolent Ancient One who had once sent His Son, the Great One of Longing, and of their battle with an evil dragon.
Ice dismissed them as the foolish tales of dreamers.
Sand paid no attention and saw no value in these boring stories of days gone by.
Not Fire, he believed. He held dearly to the conviction that someday and somehow, the Great One of Longing would return to set them free from the depraved works of darkness in their Village of Despair.
Days turned into weeks, weeks into years, and years into decades, but Fire stayed faithful and true. He knew in his soul that life was more than just living in the shadows.
Every morning, for as long as he could remember, Fire would walk to the sea cliffs just outside his village. He would sit there, sometimes for only minutes, other times for hours, looking east across the Sea of Anguish.
Every day, the picture before him was the same: dark clouds, wicked winds, and storms of such horrific violence that not even seasoned fishermen would venture far from shore. Aptly named, the Sea of Anguish claimed many lives in her cruel waters.
One day, however, far to the east, Fire saw a sight that caused him to leap to his feet. For the first time in his life, he saw a light of indescribable beauty piercing through the darkness. Small at first, it grew and grew as it moved like a ship through the raging tempest.
Then in his heart, he heard the voice of the Great One of Longing say, “Child, prepare for my arrival. I am coming soon to take you and all who will come, to a place of majesty I have prepared for those whose hearts are true.”
With a burst of unquenchable love and indescribable joy, Fire gathered his things and ran like the wind to the village square.
In compassionate boldness, he stood in the center of the market and shouted, “The Great One of Longing is coming! He will soon be here! Even now He is crossing the Sea of Anguish to come to our rescue! Prepare yourselves! Humble your hearts! The Ancient One has sent His Son again to restore our lost hope and to heal our broken lives!”
Upon hearing the commotion in the square and recognizing the voice of his brother, Ice left his shop to stop whatever madness his brother was up to now.
“Brother, end this foolishness,” Ice screamed, “Accept the reality of our lot, curse the Ancient One and die in despair with the rest of us!”
Ice despised his brother Fire more than ever before. His cold heart cracked with angry contempt at even the mention of the “Great One.”
Sand, now present and slightly embarrassed by this public display of emotion, simply shrugged his shoulders and walked away. He would not listen any longer to his younger brother’s foolishness or to his extremist dreams of hope for a better life.
Fire earnestly pleaded with his brothers and the crowd that had gathered, “We don’t have to live here anymore. We don’t have to suffer under the clouds of guilt and shame. We can live free from our broken past! The Great One of Longing is coming to rescue us and to give us a new life!”
Sadly, only a few had eyes to see and ears to hear these unfamiliar words of hope and faith. Only a few heeded his call to come. Only a few believed.
Fire, distraught but undeterred, remembered at that moment words recorded in the Scroll of Wisdom long forsaken by his people, the very words of the Great One of Longing, “Behold, I stand at the door of your hearts. I knock. If you hear me call and invite me in, you will know life beyond your wildest imaginations. Are your hearts open to me? Are your ears awake? Will you listen to the Wind Words, to the Spirit blowing through your souls?”
Unfortunately, however, though many are invited, few choose well.
You see, the tale of three brothers is a tale of three hearts, and we decide the hearts we will live with—hearts of ice, sand, or fire. What type of heart do you have?
The choice is yours, and the Great One of Longing still calls all who are willing to come.
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