A Great Story Parable
by Leslie Pilder
Once upon a time, long before there was anyone to tell this tale, Earth felt restless. Who am I, she thought? I am here, but why? I have no sense of myself, no sense of purpose. It's really a bit depressing! I need to know who I am.
Earth thought to ask her companion, the moon. "Moon," she asked, "can you tell me who I am?"
Moon's gentle light fell upon the lovely face of Earth, but there was no one who could tell them how beautiful it was, how the moonlight looked shimmering on the calm sea or peeking through the rustling branches of the trees.
"Dear Friend," said Moon, "I am younger than you, how can I know more than you do? I am as unsure of why I am here as you are. Why we are both spinning around in this vast darkness of space? I am sorry, but I have no help to offer you."
Earth's sadness deepened. Who could she call upon for help? But of course! Sun! Her very own star! Surely the sun would have some answers for her!
"Sun," she asked, "Can you tell me who I am and what my purpose is?"
Sun's warming, golden rays fell upon the lovely face of Earth, but there was no one who could tell them how beautiful it was, how the sunlight sparkled on the snowy mountain tops and ribboned the sky with rainbows.
"Sweet Earth, most favored of all the planets," said Sun, "I am as helpless as you are, even though I am older than you and have had more experience. Despite all the energy I feel exploding within me, I have no idea who I am or what my purpose is. I am sorry, but I have no help to offer you."
Poor Earth. She thought to call out to her brothers and sisters, the other planets. "Mercury, Venus, Mars! Jupiter, Saturn! Uranus, Neptune, Pluto! Can you help me? I want to know who I am and what my purpose is!"
Her siblings called back to her, "How can we help? We are in the dark as much as you are. We don't know how to help you. And anyway, we're not all that interested. We don't mind floating about in space, looping around the sun. It's not so bad! Why worry?"
But Earth did worry. She fretted over this problem for a very, very long time. And then Earth had the most wondrous idea! Instead of looking for answers outside of herself, she would look within.
She called out to the Oceans that pulsed with her life energy. "Oceans!" she cried, "Help me to know myself! What can you offer me that will help me know who I am and what my purpose is?"
The Oceans, which were teeming with life, thought about this for a while. "Earth," they finally answered, "If you will allow our creatures to have eyes, we will look at you and tell you who you are."
"Eyes?" thought the Earth. "Eyes!" What a remarkable idea!
Earth thanked the Oceans for their bold suggestion and called upon the Great Mystery to give some of the creatures of the Oceans eyes.
And her wish was granted.
For the first time, there were creatures who could see how beautiful Earth was. Crabs and snails and squids and fishes all peered through the ocean waters at the beauty of Earth. Each, in a different way, saw Sun's light dancing through shallow waters. They frolicked in the gentle glow of Moon's soft shimmering. Snails admired the loveliness and variety of their own shells and wondered at the magical gyrations of the jellyfish. Fishes delighted in the play of dark and light as they rose to the surface and dove to the shadowy depths of the sea.
"Earth!" they called, "Do you see? Do you see how beautiful you are?"
Earth did see. And she marveled at herself.
Earth had much to think about, and she spent a long time gazing at her own beauty, studying herself for the first time through a multitude of eyes. It was wonderful to learn more and more about who she was and how she was made. She told Venus and Mars and her other sisters and brothers about her discoveries, and Sun and Moon as well. But as fascinating as all this awareness was, Earth couldn't help wondering, "If what I know of myself is this exciting, what else is there? And how much of myself is still unknown, unseen?"
Earth pondered this question for many years and the possibilities filled her dreams. In one dream, Earth saw the ocean creatures crawling out of the waters. "Oh!" she exclaimed. "Could it be? Could this truly happen?"
Once again Earth called to the Great Mystery and asked that some of the swimming animals be allowed to leave the water and use their eyes on the land.
And it was so.
Oh what wonders the new land creatures saw! Purple mountains and feathery, pink clouds; green, delicate plants and blue, red, gold insects; spotted, smooth stones and sand that seemed to dance in Sun's light. So much beauty!
"Earth," the land crawlers called, "Do you see? Do you see how extraordinary you are?"
Earth did see, and she was humbled.
Earth saw herself through the eyes of the sea creatures and the land animals so many pairs of eyes, so many things to look at. She had no idea she was so complex! There was so much to see, so much to admire. "This could take a while," she thought. And in that moment, Earth came to know her purpose.
"I know what I am here for," Earth shouted with joy! "I am here to learn about myself. What a huge project! What a challenging undertaking! I am meant to find more and deeper ways to explore who I am. I am meant to invent new things that will let me learn about the gifts that have been given me already, and in those inventions there will be more and more and more to learn. This will take forever. I will never be finished!"
And then Earth was quiet for a time, thinking about what an awesome responsibility she was taking on. The other planets weren't doing this work. Neither were Sun or Moon. This was Earth's to do. She was to spend all of her days learning about her own wonders, uncovering and discovering what was already hers. What an amazing task! What a precious gift.
Earth gave thanks to the Great Mystery for allowing her to be the one to do this Great Work. No longer fretful and worried, Earth continued her joyful discoveries. There was no need to hurry: there was all the time in the Universe.
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