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On The Kingdom of Heaven... A Story.

Do you feel it? Do you remember? The way things were, the way things are and the way things ought to be.

Once upon a time, there was a playground. The playground was full of children and their laughter and shrieks of joy could be heard for miles and miles around. One day, the Keeper of the playground noticed that one child pulled another child off the swing. Both children became upset and begin to cry. The Keeper walked over and sat with both children --and between their accusations and sobs -- learned what had happened.

Both children were upset that the other would not share the swing. Both children protested the accusations of the other.

“The swing is so much fun,” they exclaimed, “It’s pure Joy!”

The Keeper smiled, gave both children a hug and asked them, “My dear ones who desire Joy: Why do you seek it from a toy? Tell me, how many swings make it so?”

One child answered, “I would say... ten. Ten total swings.”

The other child nodded in agreement. And so, the Keeper stood up and proclaimed in a loud voice to all the nearby children, “To all of you who desire joy and seek it from a toy: Count to ten and share, for this seems fair.”

Both children rose to their feet, gave thanks to the Keeper, and continued to play.

The next day, the playground seemed much more quiet than usual. To the Keeper’s amazement, the children formed lines; not just at the swing set but at the see-saw, the slides, the monkey bars, and even the giant climbing tree!

Surveying the playground, The Keeper noticed that the children had appointed guards at each activity. These guards would count the appropriate amount of times that each child could play with each activity and then move them back to the line. The Keeper - concerned - saw that there was an order, and decided to allow the children to continue.

After a week, the Keeper noticed the children sitting in the grass, no longer spending their time standing in the lines. The children who did participate in the activities didn’t laugh or smile. Their motions seemed lifeless.

The guards began to call out in desperate voices. “You cannot be done, remember the fun. In order to play, come back to the line today.”

The Keeper became sad because he had never seen the children act like adults. He devised a plan and one day he convinced a single child to act. This child waited all day by the swing set. Not a single child came to swing. As the guards grew tired and restless, bored with no one to guide or guard, the one child took his turn.

The quiet creak of metal pierced the fog of silence that had descended on the playground. There was a smile and then a giggle and then, like lightning on a still night, shrills of Joy filled the empty space. Up and down and up and down and up and down the child went.

The guard, realizing that the child was near ten swings, called out, “SLOW DOWN! You must share, for it is only fair!”

The child kept swinging and amidst the commotion, other children gathered around. The guard -- realizing that the child would not stop -- ran to tell the Keeper.

Raising his eyes to the sun and the passing clouds, the one child was filled with Joy. The other children clapped for the one child and began counting the child’s every swing – till at last the child let go, flew, and landed softly in the grass. The children cheered and joined the child on the grass. Laughing and conversing, the one child shared with the others what the Keeper had shared with him.

Then the children helped one another onto the swings, the see-saw, the slides, the monkey bars, even the giant climbing tree; Joy returned, and the children played. The Kingdom of Heaven is like a playground full of children.

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