WHEREIN the King proclaims that all taxes are forthwith suspended. In return for his generosity, the King requires that all his subjects love one another–including their enemies. The Everyday Pilgrim, who lives in this magical land, is filled with gratitude and sets an intention to love everyone in the kingdom. She has no enemies. However, she finds Certain People irritating and annoying. As hard as she tries, she cannot stop judging and trying to fix them.
WHEREIN the Everyday Pilgrim visits the Sage and inquires about how she might learn to love these Troubled People. The Sage reveals the problem lies–not with Certain People–but within the Everyday Pilgrim.
WHEREIN the Humbled Pilgrim goes far and wide, seeking healing for the wounds that causes her to react ungraciously. She learns many things about herself and her past, but the healing is slow. Years pass.
WHEREIN the King sends the Everyday Pilgrim on a mission with Certain People. The Pilgrim tries to love them the best she can. There’s a Terrible Incident with huge misunderstandings. poor communication, and significant consequences. Everyone behaves badly. The King disbands the mission.
WHEREIN, the Grievously Wounded Pilgrim regards Certain People as her enemies and retreats to the far reaches of the kingdom. As a follower of the King, she knows that she must forgive Certain People. She tries and tries. More years pass.
WHEREIN the Everyday Pilgrim meets a Traveling Minstrel who instructs her in the Ways of the Heart. One evening by the fire, the Minstrel shares her stories of frustration, pain, and loss and how she has learned to not be afraid of her feelings. The Curious Pilgrim invites the Minstrel to stay with her a while and she, too, learns to welcome her feelings and befriend them. Eventually, she can feel sad, rejected, or lonely, and the feelings do not overwhelm her. They come and go and tell her things.
WHEREIN the King invites the Everyday Pilgrim to a banquet honouring all those who have tried to love others including their enemies. The Proud Pilgrim prepares for the grand event and looks forward to enjoying it with her friends. However, she is dismayed to discover she will be seated at a table with Certain People who have hurt her and still annoy and irritate her.
WHEREIN the Everyday Pilgrim petitions the King’s Counselor for a change of seating. The Counselor listens to the Troubled Pilgrim’s story with compassion. He gently tells her that the King has assigned the seats himself, then adds, “It’s too bad that you feel hurt, annoyed, and irritated when you’re around Ones so beloved of the King.”
WHEREIN the Conflicted Pilgrim spends a restless night deciding whether go to the banquet or not. She tries to imagine ways she can nicely ask Certain People not to do the things that hurt, annoy and irritate her. But, no words come to her. Then she remembers the last thing the King’s Counselor said, “It’s too bad that you feel hurt, annoyed, and irritated when you’re around Ones so beloved of the King.”
Suddenly the Everyday Pilgrim knows that all she needs to do is welcome these feelings, too.
WHEREIN Our Dear Pilgrim goes to the banquet with a sense of hope. When she remembers the Terrible Incident, she realizes no one’s to blame. Each person is wounded in some way or another and has a limited capacity to love. Even though they hurt each other, they were all doing the best they could.
At the banquet, the Everyday Pilgrim greets Certain People courteously. Inside herself, she greets feelings of hurt, annoyance, and irritation when they arrive. She also greets feelings of delight and compassion as she interacts with the People at her table.
As the evening progresses, Our Beloved Pilgrim begins to see why the King loves these People so much. She even finds a gentle stirring of love for them growing within her heart.
A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. –John 14:34.35
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I am so grateful for the love mischief of the Sages and Minstrels in my life who have helped me in my pilgrimage, particularly my spiritual director, the founders of SoulStream, and the facilitators and participants of Living from the Heart and Art of Spiritual Direction. I am also grateful to my co-Counselors whom I met with biweekly this past year to learn about and practice Nonviolent Communication.