This quote has been sitting on my desk (okay, the sideboard in our dining room where I sit to write) for two weeks. It is typed, exactly as you see it above, as the inspirational header for a letter to donors from our local Children's Museum...one of the best in the world.
I have been looking at it because I have needed this reminder that what I need to take the next steps in my life are already deep within me like a clear, still, constant well of water...fathomless and reliable. Jesus referred to this depth of being within as "the kingdom of heaven"....I like thinking that there is an entire, self-sustaining kingdom within me operating under the divine guidance of a benevolent, wise and generous King. That His proclamations of purpose, movement, stillness, service...are offered to me, His waiting subject.....eager and ready to serve Him...with vision and affection that inspire my loyalty, obedience, passion, courage and vigor.
It is all already within me. I just have to listen, with my face turned up towards the balcony where He delivers his messages of mission and purpose from....and I will always know what to do....well-prepared by my love for Him to serve him with devotion and grace...humility and honor. He will place the armor, which bears his seal on my life and I will be able to carry out that mission safely and wisely.
So how can I know what my mission is....I have to know the language that is indigenous in this Kingdom. What is the language spoken in this place, by my King....is it the language of fear, as in "If I don't go to this college, I am afraid that I may never succeed" or is it Love as in "I love theater arts and this school has a great Theater Arts department that would really give me the opportunity to share my talents". Is the language spoken in the kingdom one of dissatisfaction "I am so sick of this job that I just have to get out of here to be happy" or one of satisfaction, "I have had such a complete experience with this job that I feel that I have learned all that I can learn and blessed the department as fully as I can and am so eager to move forward towards new opportunities for growth and sharing my love for this (or another) industry, trade, art form or discipline."
I always ask myself if the message that is being delivered from the balcony (in my thinking) is consistent with the character and nature, language and vision of the King. Does it encourage me to trust Him, does it afford me the opportunity to grow in grace - "patience, meekness, love and good deeds" - is it LOVE based...or does it try to use fear as a manipulative tool for getting me off course....and fear is a language that we just don't use, give attention to, understand or comprehend in this Kingdom.
I like having a Kingdom within me....As a young girl I was fascinated with anything "Arthur"....after Camelot (the film) came out in theatres I was even more obsessed. I read anything that included tales of noblesse oblige, the Round Table, and a kingdom where it "never rained till after sundown...July and August cannot be too hot ". My first formal dress I designed to look like Guinevere's wedding gown in the movie. It was a long sheath made from a heavy metallic fabric, with belled sleeves and a fine chain belt resting just below my waist. My hair was haloed in a thin garland of holly (it was a Christmas dance) and I wore ballet slippers that allowed me to walk with the quiet dignity of a queen...or so I thought. In reality I was a high school sophmore with soggy pink ballet slippers and my beautiful silvery dress was so heavy I could barely slow dance...forget about doing anything more energetic....but, I digress....
Those years of loving all things Camelot and Arthur gave me many mental images for considering this Kingdom within. I think about it as being a Kingdom that never sleeps....there is always something going on there. When I am resting, the cook is up before dawn preparing the stillness that will sustain me through the day, the guards are at the gate keeping watch and admitting only those messengers that serve the King's mission and purpose. I love thinking that the tailor is mending the garments of praise, and the panoply (the tunic worn by the standard bearer with the King's crest on it which announces the purpose of our crusade) of Love. I am emboldened by the thought that every step I take on the cobbled paths in this kingdom have been worn smooth by the faithful feet of other servants, knights, maidens and guards, princesses and minstrels. I especially love thinking that a wise Sage, like the Merlin archetype is giving me the wisdom that will protect me from foolishness and folly.
So....today, I wait within the walls of the Kingdom, serving in the scullery or preparing for another mission, to share the King's love throughout the countryside, as his courier....currying my horse, preparing my pack....ready for the call of the trumpeters from the King's chambers...the voice of Love in my heart... signaling that a new message, a mission, is being delivered from the balcony.... I think I will go to the foot of the cross and wait to hear what He has in store for us today. I am ready to serve my King...K
In short, there's simply not
a more congenial spot
than here in Camelot.
- Alan Jay Lerner