You’ve been wandering for a long time. Very, very long. You’re tired. You’re sore. You just want to find rest.
On the horizon you see this gigantic metal fence. It seems to tower above you and rises so very high into the sky. As you get closer and closer to it, it just gets higher. You get to the fence itself and try to touch it only to find you can’t. This fence goes on to the left, on to the right, rises up and seems to go into the ground as well.
That’s when you notice the landscape on the other side. It’s lush, green, the sky is clear blue. There are mountains in the distance, rolling hills and plains, deep valleys, wide rivers, narrow streams, forests, lakes, orchards, and vineyards. This area looks amazing on the other side of the fence.
But the fence goes on forever…there has to be a way around, it has to end at some point. It’s gotta.
So you pick a direction. Left. And set off. You keep going, never letting the fence move from your right side.
Wait there are people in there! You shout and they notice you. They come up to the fence and you talk and ask them how you can get into the amazing enclosure where they are.
“Well, there’s only one way in…”
“Doesn’t the fence end?”
“Nope, it’s completely enclosed. Like a sphere. The only way in is through a gate…”
“Which way is the gate then?”
“That way.” They say pointing in the direction you’re going. “Just keep going, you can’t miss it!”
And so you take off running. And you run and run and still no gate.
Suddenly there’s someone on your side of the fence. You talk and find out they’re pissed. They can’t find the gate and so they’ve given up.
“There’s no way in!” They shout. “They’re in there and we’re out here, that’s just the way it is!”
You don’t think that though. You’ve seen what’s in there, and it’s too good to pass up so you keep going.
Just as it get’s dark you see someone inside the compound again!
“Keep going!” They tell you, “It’s worth it! It’s all worth it!”
So you keep going. Trusting these people, you aren’t too sure if you can, but why would two people lie to you?
You push on day in and day out. The landscape inside continues to change and looks more and more beautiful. You see people outside who are bitter because they haven’t found the gate. But you see people inside who tell you to push on.
One day, you run into someone on the outside with you.
“Why are you following the fence?” you ask.
“I’m tired. I’m sick of living and being unhappy. The people inside look happy but I couldn’t bring myself to talk to them. I watched them from a distance. And I want to get in so I’ve set out this way.”
“I’m trying to get in too!” You shout happily. “And I’ve talked to the people inside. They say the gate is this way.”
“Do you mind if I come with you then?”
“I’d be happy to go with you, it’ll make it a little less lonely.”
And so you set off with your new friend. You’re both determined to find the way in. You talk day in and day out about yourselves, what you’ve been through, your hope and dreams. You talk about what is on the inside and what you hope to find. You run into people inside and continue to press on, inspired by their persistence. “Keep going!” They tell you. “You’re almost there!”
One day you see someone sitting on the other side. They jump up when they see you. “I’ve been waiting for you!” They shout, “I’ve been waiting for you to show up!”
You’re a little startled until they explain: “I’ve been sent to take you the rest of the way. The last stretch is difficult. You’re going to want to give up, but you’re so close to the gate that you can’t! You can’t give up now!”
“Okay, I want to go on. I want to reach the gate.”
And so you and your friend on the outside, and your new friend on the inside continue. You walk and your friend inside tells you all about the land. Tells you what has happened to them, how they’ve been changed and how amazing it is. It gets darker outside and you get tired. You become frustrated, irritated and angry. This stupid gate that you’ve spent your time going after just seems to be further and further away!
“I just wanna stop. I’m done searching for it. Sick of walking and not getting anywhere.”
“You can’t give up. You’re almost there. I promise. You’re almost there.”
You’ve been crying every night, you’re eyes are blood shot, you’ve lost sleep. You’ve hit rock bottom. You’re done.
“Keep going. You’re almost there I promise.”
You keep trudging on even though by this point you don’t know. Then there no the horizon, a light. It’s small. Just a pin prick. But it’s something out of the ordinary.
“What’s that?” You ask the person on the inside.
“That’s the gate.” They say smiling. “You’re almost there.”
Renewed you keep going. You’ve got a spring in your step as you feel the renewed hope surge in you.
Suddenly you’re running. The person inside is keeping up with you, remembering just how excited they got when they saw the gate the first time. You’re friend on the outside is still with you. You’ve ignored pretty much everyone else.
Then the day comes when you get to the gate.
It’s massive, and it shines brightly in the dark. You’re not far away but suddenly your friend inside stops.
You look back. “Why’d you stop?”
“You have to take the last leg by yourself. I can’t help you here. I’ve brought you to the gate and now it’s up to you to go through. I’ll be waiting for you on the other side though.”
You nod and take a step. It’s getting harder and harder to move. You’re moving slower and slower. But the gate’s right there. You’re not gonna give up now. You’re so close. Then there’s a circle of light. You step into it and you can move quicker. Your friend is right there with you. Then the gate looms up. You both stand in awe of the gate. Then there’s a voice.
Come you who seek rest. You who seek refuge. I will be your rest and refuge. Within these walls you will be safe. But to enter, you must give up your hopes and dreams. You must be willing to help others. You must be willing to love others no matter who they are. And you must be willing to love me, the guardian of this refuge.
You stand there. Is it worth it? Your friend steps forward and enters through the gate.
You look up again. You see both of your new friends waiting there for you.
Do you go in?