The King and his Walls

There once lived a king of a small but beautiful castle. He had everything a king could want – a beautiful queen, lovely princesses, bountiful land, friends and plentiful resources. He was also quite proud of his walls. He had built them sufficiently high and strong so they could withstand attack but not so foreboding that they repelled callers of good repute.

Near his castle were other industrious kings, all working toward the common good of the people and the land. These small kingdoms lived in relative peace save the occasional border dispute – always quickly solved with diplomacy and understanding. To the north lay a massive kingdom that ruled the entire known world. It was long-rumored that this land was perfect and its people well-loved. Inside that castle was a good and great king who treated the lesser kings with abundant mercy. Although this king had the power to easily crush any rival beneath his feet, he preferred to rule with honor, civility, and justice. The smaller kings attempted to emulate this king in every facet. Always generous in his teaching, the good king sent letters and even a royal emissary to instruct in his ways. And the people were better for it.

One day our king noticed an unfamiliar soldier staring up at his walls. He called, but the dark soldier ran and hid in the surrounding forest. With little cause for alarm, the king went about his duties until he saw the strange soldier again – this time very close to the wall, inspecting it for weakness. The king yelled down once more and once more, the soldier fled.

Days went by and the king fell back into his work. One night however, a harbinger came and told him his walls were under attack. With no time to spare, the king ran to the wall and looked down to see an army of dark soldiers preparing for war below.

“Wake the troops, send for our allies,” he called. “We will defend our walls!”

Messages sent to his fellow kings far and wide were answered immediately. From the moment of the siege, allies rallied to the cause. Some were intimate friends, some merely acquaintances, and many were men our king had never met. Of course, the great king to the north sent every resource requested. Even in this dark time, because of the support, our king felt a warmth of love he had never experienced. He marshalled his troops, beat back at the enemy, and for a time seemed to be repelling the attack.

But the darkest days of the war came. Rocks and stones tumbled from the wall, each one hurting our king in ways he didn’t expect. Though his friends never wavered, he knew more was required.

A messenger was dispatched to the great king of the north requesting men and weapons. To our king’s dismay, the messenger returned with a large supply of riches – gold, diamonds, and rubies. Knowing these were of no use to him in his current dilemma, the king once again sent his messenger. This time, he made certain the message was clear – men and weapons of war were required.

To this request, the great king sent eloquent letters of love and encouragement.

Frustrated, angry, and confused, our king once more wrote a desperate message in his own hand begging the great king for what he needed.

The messenger returned empty-handed.

“He gave you nothing?” the king shouted above the sound of his castle’s demise.

“When he read your letter,” replied the weary messenger. “The great king only wept and said, ‘tell your king that I am with him’.”

This saddened our king, for he knew all was lost. The barbarians were quickly upon the defenders. In a final push, the wall came down. The loss was great. Although the defenseless kingdom was now theirs for the taking, the invaders seemed content to leave the king exposed and melted back into the forest.

But what of our king?

Our king stood atop his ruble looking out over tumbled walls, carnage, smoking debris, and immeasurable loss – broken. All that he had presumed to own was no longer his. The safety of his walls proved to be an illusion. Never before had our confident king found himself at a loss for direction. But now he fell into utter confusion.

Should he rebuild these walls or find a different way to protect his kingdom? Although he had built, he did not know how to rebuild and from where he stood, there seemed a vast difference between the two. How would he build the walls high enough to protect… to stop the pain… to quench his aching heart? And what of the great loss?

How would he ever reconcile the seeming indifference of the great king?

* * * * *

One by one, old friend and new marched past our lonely king and offered condolences and aid for which he was grateful.

Yet when they were gone, he stood alone among the ruins.

And for the first time in his life, he had no idea how to lead.

10 thoughts on “The King and his Walls

  1. Certainly wish the king had not experienced such devastation…really wish things were the way they were before the destruction and ultimate fall…but praying the Great King gives you the strength and the peace to persevere…your family is always in my prayers!

  2. Perhaps the king who wonders whether to rebuild his destroyed walls will find something in this story.

    One day when I was very young, as my father worked in the basement, I peppered him with questions as only a little boy can. Eventually, he grew sick of it and handed me a couple of boards and a hammer. It was the first time he trusted me with one of his tools.

    You have to know something of my father to understand the significance of what he was doing. He was a child of the depression, a kid whose father was an abusive drunk. Because my grandfather wouldn’t support his family, my father went to work for the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) to support his mother and brothers. Shortly after Pearl Harbor, he joined the army and sent his pay home as a surprising number of young soldiers did.

    The army shipped him off to New Guinea where a tropical illness took his sense of smell, taste and the sight in one eye. It also saved his life because his unit was wiped out in the Battle of Manila – leaving my father with what would later be called survivor’s guilt.

    A few years before all my questions, he lost his wife to suicide after a pair of twins, who would be my younger brother and sister, died during child birth. Now they call the mental illness that took her severe postpartum depression. No one had a name for it then.

    When I was old enough to know his history, I understood why he didn’t want to talk about all the questions I was tossing at him – but I also grew to understand what he was telling me when he handed me the boards and hammer.

    He was telling me to build something.

    People are builders and we rebuild when our walls are shattered, maybe not to protect ourselves from every harm but building is what we do.

    1. Thank you for sharing that, Greg. What an amazing story and legacy you have. Rebuilding is hard when the king lacks a plan. We just keep plodding along… It’s what we do.

  3. What a beautifully written story. It could be true of any one of us. If you don’t mind what I took from this is now is a time for the good King to put his trust in a even greater King. Life deals some hard lessons.

    Much Love Tom

  4. I find so much meaning in all your posts. I sense the true message and strangely, there is comfort in that. We all at times, find our safety threatened and watch helplessly as the worst happens. Even the kindness of others helps only a little because we know no matter how we rebuild, there will always be something important missing. I look forward to all your Posts. Thank you, Margy

Join the Conversation

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s