Walking Out of Hell
December 31, 2011 § 9 Comments
Once upon a time in a miraculous Universe where all things are possible, amidst the fires of hell where all is unholy, the devil had a son who had nothing in common with his father. Good to the core, virtuous and loving, the young man was a saint by the definition of anyone on heaven or earth.
And so it was that a saintly creature was born into the infernal fires of hell, where demons and evil souls resided, and was forced to live among those whose essence was entirely different from his own.
Each day, upon arising, the devil’s son would find himself mocked by all those about him. Rejected by his father, his actions derided and criticized by those who inhabited hell, he found himself lost amidst a sea of hatred, anger, and evil. Vowing never to capitulate to what others in hell deemed acceptable, he lived a life of constant sorrow, of inadequacy, and pain.
With no friends and a father who despised him, he awoke one day and decided that he would walk out of hell. His father and all the inhabitants of hell were glad to be rid of him, mocked him as he left, throwing balls of fire, and poured the foulest substances they could find on him.
Walking onto planet earth and finding himself hungry, burned, and smelling foul, he ran into a man who helped him clean up and took him to a nearby hospital. There, he met caring people who tended to him and made him comfortable. There, for the first time in his life, he ran into love and understood that good things and people were possible. There, he understood there was goodness in the Universe and found that he was loved and could love others. And when he was well, he left the hospital and spent his time on earth happy among people who understood and gave love.
What does this fable of the devil’s son tell us?
It tells us that you can find goodness—somewhere. Where all is wrong, in your families, at your workplace, in your neighborhoods, on the often callous streets, it reminds us of that goodness. If you are living in hell, it’s time to get out and be around people who are loving and caring. Risk all by leaving your hell and you will find the love you deserve.
It tells us that it’s not where you come from, but who you are that defines you. It doesn’t matter who your parents were. It doesn’t matter what horrors were perpetrated on you. It doesn’t matter how you were betrayed and what you were told; you can let your inner light shine. Oscar Schindler started as a Nazi himself, yet saved many in the midst of a mass extermination campaign that was well-funded and filled with hate. Goodness does not have a genetic strain, nor is it based on a history. Risk all by walking away from whatever negatively defines you—but that you know simply does not fit who you are.
It tells us that it is important to be vigilant, to begin to understand ourselves apart from our surroundings. The bad places where we may live and work should not define us. The “bad people” we know and meet should not characterize us. Hell should not and cannot make you believe that acting divinely is bad. You have to agree. You have to capitulate. You have to give in. Risk all by refusing to agree.
It tells us that for each of us who seek good and act out of love, there is a place. There are kind and caring people. And it reminds us to keep looking for that place and those people. On a planet called earth, the devil’s good son found in the arms of our neighbors the good he had been yearning for. So it must be that we who are not born in hell must hold on to our goodness as well. We must continue to act out of love, even as we see and experience hate. We must continue to look for the love that we deserve and can share with others. Risk all by believing in the power of love.
Never give up. Never give in. What is good is irrepressible. What is good is never alone.
Risk all—except love.