Our wishes expose us.
If you were granted one wish, what would it be?
No, you can’t wish for more wishes. Do not be hasty. Take your time. Think it through. Plumb the depths of your soul, what do you hold most dear?
Long ago in a distant kingdom, a young boy burst into the Great Hall, skipping and laughing and swinging one-armed around marble columns until he danced up royal steps and plopped into the lap of his father, the king.
The king’s laughter mingled with that of his son and together echoed a sweet refrain.
The boy wiggled into his father’s lap and the king stroked his son’s hair.
When the echo faded, the boy looked to his father and asked, “Father, how does one become king?”
The king sighed under the weight of wisdom and began a story.
“Son, listen with care. It is our tradition to grant one wish to each servant and slave who resides within our sovereign borders. A generous custom established before this throne was carved, even before the marble in this hall was quarried. Once each year, on the shortest day, I open wide these oaken doors and invite my people to make petition of their single wish.”
The boy grew restless. “But father, what do wishes have to do with becoming king?”
“Everything my son.” He kissed his cheek and continued. “One by one, my people make their approach, bow and make a wish. I grant each of them their wish and they are escorted from my presence for another year.”
In a silent hall, the son asked, “Father, what types of things are wished for? Do they want gold? Jewels? Power? Do they wish for more land?”
“Yes, those things are common. Sometimes they wish for things I can’t provide, like health and bountiful crops.”
The boy straightened with a revelation and said, “Father, I know now. I know how to become king. Whoever wants to be king and is the first one to wish it becomes the next king, right?”
The king laughed and tousled the golden curls on the boy’s head. “No son that is not how it happens. Wishing to be king would not be proper or wise.”
“Then how father? Tell me please.”
“This is the truth of the matter, my son. All the wishes I grant are the same. It is true that my servants and slaves all wish for different particulars, but they are all the same in essence. Each wish uttered can be restated as this, ‘I ask for a lighter burden.’”
The boy’s face twisted in confusion.
The hands of the king caressed the face of his son, “Son, you asked how one becomes king, listen well.” His face became stone, his tone deep as he spoke. “On rare occasion, one kneels before me and wishes not for a lighter burden, but for broader shoulders.”
A tear rolled down the cheek of the king as he whispered into the ear of his boy, “That my son is how a slave becomes a king.”
What is your wish: for lighter burden or broader shoulders?
Our wish exposes us.
When we wish for a lighter burden, we are exposed as dependent on others. We view our struggle as something happening to us. Something we can elude, fear is a constant. We are slave to circumstance. Wishing for a lighter burden leaves us more exhausted than before we made the wish. In fact, the burden can never become small enough to satisfy the wish. We are revealed as slave.
When we wish for broader shoulders, we are exposed as capable and strong. Not dependent on others, but interdependent. We view our struggle as something in which we are an active player. Our circumstances become slave to us. We gain power and resolve and mastery over the powers that batter us. We are revealed as kings.
How will you wish?
Hint: we need more kings in this world.
Author: John Geers
Image: Instagram @walkthetalkshow
Editor: Ashleigh Hitchcock