Giving and Receiving – Value Of Kindness

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“Someone needs to tell those tales. When the battles are fought and won and lost, when the pirates find their treasures and the dragons eat their foes for breakfast with a nice cup of Lapsang souchong, someone needs to tell their bits of overlapping narrative. There’s magic in that. It’s in the listener, and for each and every ear it will be different, and it will affect them in ways they can never predict. From the mundane to the profound. You may tell a tale that takes up residence in someone’s soul, becomes their blood and self and purpose. That tale will move them and drive them and who knows what they might do because of it, because of your words. That is your role, your gift. Your sister may be able to see the future, but you yourself can shape it, boy. Do not forget that… there are many kinds of magic, after all.”

~ Erin Morgenstern, The Night Circus

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The Tale:

Once upon a time it happened—where, then, was it? Yes, where indeed was it not? That is the correct beginning of a fairy tale,  and every myth must end with—”I once saw this; and if what happened in the spiritual world did not succumb to death, if it is not dead, it must still be alive to-day. Every story has a consequence.”

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The story of Psyche goes, she is fated to be married to a horrible monster. By day she lives in luxury in a glorious palace, and by night she shares her bed with an invisible bridegroom. All her wishes are granted as long as she does not seek to uncover her husband’s identity. When Psyche’s sisters come for a visit they are consumed with jealousy and give her bad advice. Their intentions are hateful and destructive. They convince her that her husband is a terrifying beast, that he will eventually consume her and that her only chance to save herself is to kill him.

Giving her an oil lamp and a dagger, they poison her mind against the one who, though invisible, has always been a gentle lover and a generous provider.

Once night comes and with it her unknown spouse, Psyche waits until he is asleep, takes up the oil lamp and the knife to kill him and to her shock finds a beautiful young man there, indeed the god of love himself. When a few drops of burning oil fall onto him, he wakes. As her punishment for doubting him, he flees from her and it is only after undergoing many arduous tasks for Cupid’s mother, Venus, that Psyche can finally redeem herself and be reunited with her husband. What began as a hostile gift from jealous donors ends happily with the gift of redemption and reunion. These are themes that have been repeated down through the centuries to our own times.

However, it is how we receive the gift that makes all the difference. As the tales remind us, we must approach mystery with respect, wait patiently for its gift, and accept with gratitude that which has been given. But we must also never forget to give thanks for our wits, whose sources lies somewhere between the domestic and the divine…

end on a quote:

“All you are unable to give, possesses you.”  ~ Andre Gide

~excerpted from Parabola Magazine. Theme:  Giving & Receiving.