Once upon a time there was a small village. Just a short distance north from the village lay a deep and dark pit. Out of concern that someone would fall in the pit, the elders of the village had erected a fence around it. The villagers often gathered by the pit to lament over those who fell into it, but also to try to keep each other out of the pit. They spent a lot of time around the pit, repairing and painting the fence. The pit was at the center of attention.
South of the village was a high mountain with steep sides covered by trees, bushes, boulders and tall grass. Atop the mountain, the view was splendid. The horizon was filled with even higher, snow-covered mountains displaying their grandeur, a glittering river bent itself through the green fields and the dark forest made the flowers glow even brighter in all their colors.
A strait and narrow path moved its way up along the mountain side. Because few, if any, of the villagers had hiked up the mountain during the past decades, the path was almost entirely overgrown with wild vegetation. By and by, the path had become so hard to find that the villagers who tried to get up on the mountain were discouraged when they didn't even know where to begin their hike upward. Moreover, if ever a villager mentioned climbing the
mountain path, they were always dissuaded and met resistance by the elders and
the rest of the village’s residents. The elders of the town, had become too preoccupied with the pit and too content with staying in the village, that the idea of climbing up the mountain and observing its splendid view never crossed their minds. Ultimately, they didn't have the desire, the courage, the belief or feel any responsibility to get to the top of the mountain to be mesmerized and inspired by the distant view.
As a result of the attitude shown by the elders of the village, the villagers no longer believed, nor desired, nor felt that they even were allowed or had to get up on the mountain to see further. At the village festivals, the elders of the village told stories about ancient trips up the mountain side and had the villagers relish in the feeling of absolute safety in the village. The elders also convinced the villagers that they, the elders, would know when it was time to once again venture up on the mountain, and that the villagers just had to look to them and follow their lead to stay safe and sound.
During earlier years, when each villager was expected to, and also did, get up on the mountain, their dealings with each other was permeated with joy, optimism and gratefulness. The ones who had ventured up the mountain came back to the village and told of the vast views and about the trip along the strait and narrow path. They gave advice on how the hike could be done, and they warned about dangers. Other villagers were inspired to pursue the same journey, and they did. The villagers were grateful for living so close to the mountain, which made them look upward.
Now, the atmosphere in the village was characterized by a gloominess. The villagers complained about the long shadows which the mountain cast over the village and they tried their hardest to stay out of the pit. As the mountain beckoned for the villagers to come and see, ironically, they never realized that responding to the call would've been the best way to do just that. And so, in the shadows of the mountain the villagers continued living their lives in the safety of the village.
This analogy/parable came to my attention when reading Denver Snuffer's "The Second Comforter: Conversing With the Lord Through the Veil"). Thank you, Denver, for that. I hope you didn't mind me borrowing it.