I love to tell stories and I use stories all the time in my business and in conversations. I believe we think best in pictures and a word picture – a story – can encapsulate a thought or a concept as well as anything I know. Jesus was the great story-teller and I humbly follow in His footsteps.
Anyway, there is a story I tell often to illustrate how important it is for us not to hold on to the past too tightly, especially our mistakes and our “I wish I hadn’t…” moments. I have been using it a bit recently, so I thought I would share it with you. And it challenged me to look at some of the stuff that I was allowing to hold me back.
It is a story of romance, betrayal, tragedy and restoration and like any good story it has at least the possibility of a happy ending. Also, like any good story it allows for certain flexibility around timing and facts – creative licence I think its called.
So without further ado – “Once upon a time in England there was a great King – King Arthur was his name. He ruled powerfully and justly and was supported by a band of great Knights called The Knights of the Round Table. They excelled in great brave deeds and heroic adventures. Sir Lancelot was the bravest Knight of all and was loved by the king as a brother.
King Arthur had a great love – his Queen Guinevere who was a ravishing beauty, and he was completely devoted to her. Arthur never went into battle without a kiss from his bride – never! Arthur and Guinevere ruled wisely and justly and under their rule Camelot became a haven of peace and prosperity, so the story goes.
At that time there was a great quest to find the ‘Holy Grail’ – the chalice Jesus was meant to have drunk from at time of the Last supper. King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table periodically organised Great Crusades that went to the Holy Land to seek the Holy Grail.
One time, King Arthur took his kiss from Guinevere and headed away on another crusade. However, while the King was away, Lancelot, who was devoured by love for Guinevere, seduced her and in a moment of weakness Guinevere succumbed.
Afterwards, Guinevere was so racked with guilt and regret over her betrayal that she went to the convent and had the Abbess lock her up in a cell and throw away the key. She lived on meagre rations pushed under the door of her cell.
You can imagine the shock and horror when Arthur returned to Camelot after the crusade to find his queen gone and to learn of the betrayal by his best friend. He raced to the convent but was denied access. He may have been a King – but he was also a man and in those days no man ever crossed the threshold.
He grieved for a long time over the loss of his queen and his best friend. Over time, Arthur and Lancelot restored their friendship, but no matter how hard he tried, he could never get to see Guinevere.
Time passed and another crusade was organised. As was his way, King Arthur NEVER went to battle without a kiss from his bride and this would be no exception. He stormed the convent and demanded that the door to Guinevere’s cell be opened, and when that was not possible he broke down the door.
You can hardly imagine how Guinevere would have looked after so much time in that little cell. She had turned into a hag with long straggly hair and nails and dry wizened skin. She shrunk back and would not look up at Arthur. He looked at her with great love, his heart broken at her lost beauty and the lost years. Without hesitation, Arthur swept her up into his arms and kissed her, and said, so sadly, “Why have you done this. The sin was sinned… I forgave you long ago!” Then he stormed out of the castle and on to his crusade.
History and legend are silent on what happened after that, but we fill ourselves with hope that they all lived happily ever after.
And so, that is my story today. I feel some emotion as I write this. This is what God says to us – ” the sin was sinned, I forgave you long ago”. I am firmly convinced that the unhooked chains of past events do more than we may imagine to hold us back from our future.
My Moment of Clarity today is a question – What locked cells do we need to come out of ? What do we need to let go of, to let ourselves off the hook from? What do we need to fix up? Who do we need to forgive? and that includes ourselves.
“The sin was sinned…I forgave you long ago”.
I look forward to your feedback.
Brian 0408 277 773