Previous Challenge Entry (EDITOR'S CHOICE)
Topic: LOVE (agape and/or phileo) (03/12/15)
|TITLE: The Quest|
By Leola Ogle
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Alas, Teacher’s days were numbered. As he grew older and feebler, he sought someone who would be Teacher when his body expired and his spirit departed. He issued a decree requesting a gathering of young men with a thirst for truth. Out of those assembled, he chose three: Anwyl, Briant, and Eoin.
Teacher’s gnarled finger pointed to the Tree of Light that grew in his garden. In a voice trembling with age, he said, “This tree grows special fruit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. You shall each journey for one year and seek to experience these fruits in ways others may overlook. From your reports, one will be chosen to become Teacher when I am gone.”
Eoin was the youngest, smallest in frame, and least handsome. He thought he was the least likely to be chosen, for Anwyl and Briant were stronger and magnificent to look upon.
The three departed in separate directions. When the year ended, the countryside gathered to hear the mighty reports of the three. Who would become the next Teacher?
Both Anwyl and Briant spoke with eloquence and authority, expounding on profound and powerful experiences with all nine fruits. Their insights were keen and deeply theological. As each finished, the crowd gasped and murmured in awe.
Anxiety welled within Eoin. His report wasn’t brilliant like theirs. Clearing his throat, he began to speak.
“My first awareness was of faithfulness. Dog and Horse were my companions on the journey. Dog was a loyal friend, even to defending me against a poisonous snake. Dog brought comfort when I was lonely and discouraged. Horse faithfully carried me through good and bad weather, even though I often lacked enough food and water to sustain the three of us. Each day the sun faithfully rose and set, and the moon and stars appeared each night.”
“Goodness and kindness was shown by the many people who offered food and lodging to me, a weary stranger. They did it with no expectation of being repaid. I could not have made it without their help.”
“Joy surrounded me every day in the beauty of nature, and in the comfort of family and friends. Joy is a choice we make to concentrate on our blessings and not the negative things.”
“Peace comes from having a clear conscience. And when we’ve done wrong, peace comes from the assurance that God forgives if we only ask. Peace is the belief God is in control.”
Eoin looked at Teacher and saw affirmation in his eyes. He continued then with boldness. “I saw patience in a baby learning to walk. The baby tries again and again after each fall. Patience is a mother teaching her daughter the necessities for womanhood. Patience is a father teaching his son the skills he needs to become a man.”
“Gentleness is in the touch of those who care for one another. Gentleness is the breeze that cools us on a summer day. Gentleness is a mother’s kiss on a fevered brow. Gentleness is in the compassionate care of the feeble, infirmed, and elderly.”
“Self-control is the ability to behave wisely when we’re angry or have been wronged. Self-control keeps us from being greedy. Self-control gives us strength to overcome temptation.”
The flow of Eoin’s words stopped and he surveyed the crowd. He saw the light of understanding reflected in their eyes. Smiles spread across their faces. A few applauded. Then the crowd went wild with their applause. Eoin turned to face Teacher and saw disappointment in his eyes.
Teacher raised his hand to silence the crowd. Anwyl and Briant smirked at Eoin as Teacher walked to him and placed a hand on his shoulder. A hush fell over the gathering.
“Eoin, my young seeker. The beauty of your discovery is incomplete. Have you forgotten about love?”
Ecstasy swelled in Eoin’s chest. “Teacher, the greatest revelation on my journey was love. If our hearts are filled with love, the other eight fruits will freely flow. When motivated by love, the other fruits will be pure and genuine. We must seek love first. It is the noblest truth.”
Tears filled Teacher’s eyes. To the crowd, he said, “Eoin has done well. His name shall be Teacher.”