Not too far from where I live, there is a rather magnificent castle. Depending on your perspective, it lies either just across the way, a lifetime away, or something in between.
In this castle lives a young boy, the son of the King. This boy is a bit unusual in that it seems his sole purpose in life is to share… anything… everything. Each day he brings out toys, food, pets, and anything else that a boy can bring into tow to push, pull, or throw through the gates.
Some of the townsfolk in the area grumble, saying that the King is only using the boy to flaunt his riches in front of the people. These people often wear frowns as if they were their own personal crowns.
Others of the townsfolk say the boy is “touched in the head” and the King should not let him out in public like that. These too wear their frowns.
I happen to know that the boy’s exuberance is because he is “touched in the heart”.
The town children, especially the poor ones, love to come and play with the boy, for he is friendly and generous — his good-natured kindness peeking through his shyness.
A long time ago I was one of those children. But then “life” got in the way… I “grew up”… accepted responsibilities… took on the working life.
No matter where I went, though, no matter what I did, the shimmering glow of the castle was always there — reflecting in the clouds of my life, both day and night. No matter what I did, I could never quite forget the joy of playing beside this special fellow of the royal family.
Every so often, to further remind me, rumors would circulate… such as: whenever the boy invited someone into the castle, that person was never asked to leave… and sometimes the rumor spoke of one meeting the Prince, first-born son of the King, who would invite that one to become a brother or sister as an ‘adopted’ daughter or son of the King… rumors. Who believes rumors, right?
Well, one day, after many years had flown by, as I found a little time to spare for exploration, I decided to go and visit with the boy. When I arrived, he looked at me and recognized me as if we had last seen each other only yesterday. Then he invited me into the castle. But I was not ready… how could I be?
So as if training a squirrel to eat from his hand, as we talked and played, the boy kept backing up toward the castle gates… all the while laying out the toys and food he had brought for all to enjoy… each time, he drew me a little closer to the gate.
I knew this was happening and was unafraid. I was willing.
Finally I came close enough to peek inside… Ah, the wonders and riches within… the calm joy emanating outwards pulled at me gently.
Still I hesitated… until I could not… and I let go.
Now, some days I get to help the boy bring out his goodies for the day… and that is what I call “fun duty”.