Too Blessed To Be Stressed? Yeah Right! (Part 1)

Ochbak the old sage at in his usual chair at the same time every evening and slowly sucked on his well-worn pipe.  The children who gathered around him never knew if anything was in that pipe and none dare ask.   Their gaze was usually transfixed upon his gnarled, wrinkled face and his twinkling eyes as he regaled them with stories from a time and place that seemed unimaginably distant, yet real.  This evening, Ochbak’s eyes gleamed as he slowly and softly began his most interesting tale.  All the kids, scarcely breathing, leaned forward so as not to miss a single word that fell from the old man’s lips.

Ochbak told them this very fascinating story.

There was a Great Spirit who always found great pleasure in his handiwork.  He would settle down and marvel at the glittering stars in their galaxies which seemed to be surrounded by bits and pieces all set in their place.  He and only he knew each of them by name and he and only he knew how many that existed.   He after all, created them for his knowledge and power were limitless.  So limitless that it was impossible for ordinary minds to fathom them or even fathom him.  One thing was for certain, and that is, whatever he made, it was good.   

The attendant angels who were in the presence of this Great Spirit knew that of all the things created in the fathomless universe, he had a favorite place.   When compared to the other specks in the universe, this place did not seem extraordinarily special at all.  In fact, the only thing that distinguished it from most of the other specks was that from a distance it looked blue.   A closer examination of this speck revealed the object of the Great Spirit’s love and affection.   The Angels knew that there were many two legged creatures who walked upright and talked in various languages and who somehow had the power to get the Great Spirit’s attention.   He called them humans and they had names and oddly enough he seemed willing to do things through them even though he could have done them on his own.

They knew that something was wrong on that place called Earth and the Great Spirit grieved and yearned to make that place called Earth, great again.   They also were aware that the Great Spirit had a plan to fix that place – the details of which, to the angels seemed alarmingly strange and complicated.  Part of the plan was that the Great Spirit would use the apple of his eye as the gift in a way that when given to the humans, it would somehow make the Great Spirit get back his humans, whom the Great Spirit called his family.  

To the consternation and horror of the angels, this gist was the apple of the Great Spirit’s eye; his one, beautiful child, a son whom the angels not only adored but would easily go to battle to defend at a moment’s notice.  Everyone called this son, Little Joy and although they knew him to be the son of the Great Spirit, they were not really sure where he came from.   The story passed onto them was that the son was somehow always with the Great Spirit who in turn was always there.   Nevertheless, they never doubted that Little Joy was the Great Spirit’s son.

Ochbak paused and looked at the young faces and one of them timidly begged him to please tell him the Great Spirit’s plan.  Ochbak seemed to take his time as he shifted his old body on the cushions to make himself more comfortable.  He sucked his smooth pipe once more before going on with the story.

The Great Spirit decided that Little Joy would not visit Earth as a grown up son, but would instead be born on Earth as a baby; the same way all other babies were born.  So an Earth mother was chosen and she gave birth to the Great Spirit’s son.   Even though Little Joy was the son of the Great Spirit, the craziest thing was that he was also called a king!  The Great Spirit decided that his son would enter Earth in a little country village because at the time for him to be born, his Earth mother was at that little village.   The birth of this baby was special because there was a large group of men from a faraway place who studied the stars and they knew from their studies that a special new king was going to be born.  They came to the place where Little Joy was born and they didn’t find him straight away.   So they asked the local people if they knew about this new king.  

This caused great confusion in the countryside because these men were wise and learned men and the people took them seriously.   There was one man who was especially concerned because at the time, he was the king of those people who lived in the area.   He was also a jealous and cruel king.  He did not want anyone to take away his power and remove him from the throne.  So he cunningly called the group of wise men and lied to them and told them that when they find the new king, they must let him know so that he too can go and share the joy of the new king’s birth and welcome him and worship him.   

The wise men told the king they would do so and eventually, they found the new king who was still an infant.   They were exceedingly happy to see this new king and they gave wonderful, valuable gifts to the Earth parents of this new king.   The Great Spirit looked down and saw this and was pleased.   He being all wise and all powerful also saw what was in the heart of the existing jealous and cruel king.  He knew about this king all along.   He knew that the king wanted no rivals and would get rid of anyone who could replace him.   Furthermore, the king wanted his own son to replace him after he died and so a new king would not be tolerated!   

The attendant angels knew of this and were looking on curiously, knowing that Little Joy’s life may be in danger.   They also knew that the Great Spirit was all powerful and that he would never allow a puny human to harm his only son!   Their curiosity turned to consternation as they saw the Great Spirit do something that was very perplexing.   The Great Spirit knew that what was in the heart of the jealous king and he told the wise men who had found Little Joy not to go back to the king and tell him where his son was.   So the wise men obeyed the command of the Great Spirit.  They left for home using another route.

The angels saw the blind rage of the king when he discovered that he had been tricked by the wise men from the faraway place.  They also knew that the king decided to kill all boys who were two years old and under as this would certainly kill any new king who was born in the area.   The consternation of the angels turned into fear and panic when they saw how the Great Spirit was going to save his son from the crazy king.  They all thought that the Great Spirit would just look at the cruel king and cripple him, or make him very ill or even put him to death.   They had seen the Great Spirit do it before and they had no doubt that it could be easily done again.   This time, the Great Spirit came up with a plan that made it seem as if he was flirting with the very life of his own son.   He told the Earth father in a dream to take Little Joy and escape and go to another country as quickly as they can.   The Earth parents then hastily gathered up the gifts given to them by the wise men, with food and some clothing and hurriedly left the little village during the night.   

The Great Spirit’s penchant for using the Earth people to carry out his plan in this case seemed fraught with danger and unnecessary risks.    Even the angels began to wonder if the Great Spirit really loved his son.   They saw the little family heading across the barren landscape in a desperate attempt to elude the clutches of the cruel king and they stared in frustration at the Great Spirit because they knew he could have easily arranged the death of the cruel king.   They knew that the journey was long and tiresome and it must have put a great strain on the Earth parents.   They thought of the infant exposed to the cold night air of the desert and they gave each other looks of utter disbelief.   Yet, they did not openly question the Great Spirit.

Meanwhile, back in the king’s country, there was a wholesale slaughter of so many young boys.   Families were wailing and screaming as they saw their innocent, beautiful, precious children killed by the swords of the soldiers of the cruel king.  The angels saw and shrank back in horror.  They knew this could have been avoided if Little Joy had entered the Great Spirit’s favorite planet at another time and place.  They also knew that only Little Joy’s Earth parents were forewarned about the cruel king’s murderous plot.  

Ochbak paused and closed his eyes for a moment and looked at the enraptured, young faces of his audience.  He then told them something that caused them sit up more upright.   He told them that the story is quite true for those events actually happened!

Keith Yearwood, Storyteller