This is the story of the Man who had Everything, Col-Yesh-Li*. The Kingdom of Col-Yesh-Li stretched from one end of the universe to the other. The kingdom of Col-Yesh-Li contained rich rolling farm-lands, producing crops so thick you could hardly walk through them. Succulent pastures grew sleek sheep and cattle with always plenty to eat.
The lakes of the Kingdom of Col-Yesh-Li were said to reflect the deep brilliant blue of the eyes of Col-Yesh-Li. The mountains, some higher than Everest, were a symbol of his strength. There were tropical rain forests and wild wildernesses making a statement of his vigour and vitality.
In the middle of this vast Kingdom was an amazing palace. Not only were the sweeping classical lines of its architecture a joy to the eye, but the white marble walls throbbed with human life: traders and travellers from the far reaches of the Kingdom reported on the wonders they had seen. Wise women and priests were on hand with clear-sighted advice. There were no soldiers. Col-Yesh-Li believed the greatest strength was in peace.
Every morning lines of people came through the magnificent parks to the main sweeping staircase of the palace to seek advice or resolution of conflicts with their neighbours. All were entertained in the spacious halls of the palace with fine food and drink, and each was received courteously by Col-Yesh-Li himself, and each went away with their question resolved.
But Col-Yesh-Li was dying. He banished all from the great palace, and lay down on a concrete slab to prepare himself for death. He lay and thought of his great kingdom.
He thought of the farm fields drying up; crops failing. He thought of the cows and sheep disappearing. The lakes and the rivers arid and empty. The great trees of the rain-forest unleaving. The wilderness transforming to desert.
He lay alone in his palace. No human life remained. No life at all, except Col-Yesh-Li. In each of his deeply blue eyes a tear formed. The tears flowed down each side of his face on to the concrete slab where he lay. A mist began to take shape over the renowned form of Col-Yesh-Li, as the tears trickled in twin rivulets across the floor of the echoing room, and along the empty corridors. They became streams as they ran down the grand entry staircase, and small rivers as they flowed through the now parched princely parks.
And as they ran, the parks re-greened. The crops self-seeded, and proceeded to produce legendary yields. The pastures sprung to new life, as the twin rivers flooded to the rain-forest and the wilderness, generating new vigour and prodigious growth.
And Col-Yesh-Li was breathing his last breaths. At the very moment the mist covered him, and his breathing stopped, there was a yell.
It was a baby in the palace of Col-Yesh-Li. A baby bellowing the unstoppable gift of new life.
* In the language of Biblical Hebrew, “col yesh li” means “everything that there is, is his.”
When I first wrote the story of Col-Yesh-Li, I believe I was influenced by the healing rivers in Ezekiel 47:1-12. Several people who have heard the story were reminded of the rivers in Genesis 2. Flooding rivers is symbolism that can surely overlap and expand!
Questions for reflection or group discussion.
¨ Where do the deep springs of your life come from? What makes you feel strongly? What encourages you to be full of energy? Where do you look for energy and passion in your life?
¨ The person who has everything needs the gift of self-giving. What do people mean when they say that “riches can’t buy you happiness”?
¨ When have you experienced someone’s (or some One’s) generosity?