I wrote this wee story for a service I preached at last Sunday. It’s my first trip into story-writing so JK Rowling doesn’t need to worry quite yet!
Once upon a time, in a land far away, there was a young boy called Joe. Joe was an orphan, he had never met his parents or lived with them – instead he lived in a big white house with twenty other boys. Life was not easy, and he was often lonely, but he had friends in the big white house and the people looking after them were kind.
Joe spent a lot of his time in the garden at the back of the house. It was pretty in the summertime, when the flowers bloomed in dozens of colours and the Red Admiral butterflies flitter-flopped from one plant to the next. But he rarely left the grounds of the house, for outside was a scary place, a lonely place where everyone else had a family and he did not. At times Joe felt like he was missing out on something. He felt small and insignificant and feared that he would never be able to do anything that would make a difference.
One day, everyone was very excited in the big white house. Joe asked what was going on, and one of the other boys told him, “The King is coming to visit us!” “He won’t want to see me,” thought Joe, feeling empty inside, and he walked into the garden. Sure enough, after about an hour there was a big commotion at the front of the house. Someone was playing a fanfare on a trumpet, and there was lots of cheering. But Joe sat quietly on a big old stone in the garden. It started to get a bit chilly, and things sounded like they were quietening down on the other side of the house, so he walked slowly towards the back door, his head down, shuffling his feet on the gravel path.
And he bumped into someone! Who do you think it was?
Yes, the King himself was walking into the garden, with his servants a few steps behind. “Are you Joe?” the King asked. Joe was speechless! He looked up into the King’s face and noticed that his eyes were warm and embracing. The King spoke again: “Would you mind showing me around the garden?” – his eyes sparkled as he talked. Joe suddenly felt a surge of courage and began to lead the King around the garden, pointing out the particularly beautiful flowers and the especially interesting insects.
As he spent more time in the King’s company, Joe began to feel warmer. He felt taller, bigger, stronger. After all, he was talking with the King, who spoke of the many beautiful gardens in other parts of his Kingdom. When it was time to leave, the King shook hands with all the staff and boys who lived in the big white house – but when it came to Joe’s turn, the King gave him a huge big warm bear hug! Joe thought, “This must be what it’s like to have a Dad”.
That night, as things had settled and the King was gone, Joe was still so full of excitement that he couldn’t stop talking with his friends about the day that had gone before. They could see how their friend had been transformed from a shy, lonely and sometimes sad person into a strong and happy one. “I know what I want to do with my life now,” said Joe, with a grin on his face. “I want to go to all the gardens of the world and tell people about my King. He’s interested in who we are and what we do. Because today I met the King – I looked into his eyes and I know that I am loved.”