Chapter 18 At the crossroads

At the crossroadsThe Princess stared moodily out of the window of her tower.  The sky was as dark as the expression on her face.  She would have to pick her children up from school soon, a time of the day she normally enjoyed.  She could meet and greet people at the 3 o’clock school pickup, but lately the school meeting place had become oppressive. 

Gossip hung in the air, like a toxic vapour.  It was coming from the house directly across the road from the school, the house Cherry had recently moved into.  Years ago in her early teens, she had thought of Cherry as a friend, until the weekend she’d found her in bed with her thirteen year old brother.  Even though it had happened more than 20 years ago, she had not forgotten.  She did not trust Cherry and feared there would be trouble.

Her fears were soon realised, for the Minstrel and White Flower were now spending a lot of time at Cherry’s house.  It was a slap in the face for the Princess, who had no time for Cherry.  To make matters worse, even though Cherry had her own man, she was also seeing the Minstrel.  She lapped his attention up, and through White Flower, accused the Princess of being jealous.  The Princess had not said or done anything, and felt got at.

Knowing that everything good and bad happens for a reason, she asked the King about it.  Why was history repeating itself with Cherry?  “Father, she is promiscuous.  She got at my brother, and now here she is getting her hooks into the Minstrel.  Why is she here?”

The King said “It is not about Cherry.  If she can wreck things so easily, then it was never a relationship in the first place.  When I bid you bring the Minstrel to me, did I permit you to involve yourself with him?  I have watched the physical contact and game playing between you, and I am not pleased.  I will use Cherry to accomplish my will, and you will forgive her wild behaviour with the Minstrel and your brother.”

She heard the words, but she just could not accept what the King was saying, or take it in.  How was this the King’s will?  Why should she forgive Cherry?  All she felt was confusion.  The days that followed were lonely and hard.  She felt as if her friends were being stolen from her, and it was an isolated place.  She could ignore disrespect from Cherry, but not from the Minstrel.  Who can bear a broken heart?  Still not over Silver Tongue, she vowed she would no longer tolerate disrespect from a man.

The King knew her anger, jealousy and bitterness, and He seemed to be distant at that time.  The dragon fed off all the hurt in her life, and stoked the black fire of rejection in her heart.

Though she had not bedded this man, nor did she intend him for a husband, she wanted his friendship and companionship.  He was the only male companion she had, for her Her father and brother were dead, and her other male friends were in Sydney. She held on and hoped the friendship would survive.

Feeling abandoned by the King, she cried out to Him in her mind; “Where are you?  Have you forgotten about me?  The King met her at the crossroads and spoke.  “You know the Minstrel is not for you.  Though his Father prayed hard and mightily for a Christian wife, I have blocked the way.  This is a friendship from the world.  Don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred against me?” 

The King stopped speaking for a minute and regarded her.  He knew her earthly Father had not carried out his will and given the daughter the love she had needed.  Instead of the wholeness that came from the love, acceptance and security of the Father, she bore the pain, scars and misery of unhealed wounds.  Did He not know it?  Hungry, thirsty, and in pain, she would search the world for the healing love of a man.  Would she turn to Him for that love?  There were so many like her.  Did He not walk all the way into Samaria for her?

Compassionately the King turned His face toward her, and reached for the hurt child within.  “My child, it is time to let go.  Walk away.  Draw near to me, and I will draw near to you.”  She felt depressed.  How could it have been wrong?  At first, she had truly believed in the Minstrel’s friendship.  Had she not brought him before the King?  Did she not deserve his approval?  She had come to a crossroads, and thought about where she was headed.  “This is so hard, but I need to change direction.  Where do I go from here?  Please show me where I went wrong” she asked the King.

The King replied;

Crossroads“Stand at the crossroads and look;
ask for the ancient paths,
ask where the good way is, and walk in it,
and you will find rest for your souls.” Jeremiah 6:16 

“You are now at the crossroads, where you must choose your path, and let the Minstrel choose his.  Let him decide whether to let the children play together.  You are not responsible for his behaviour or bad decisions.  Walk away, and you will find rest for your soul.”

The Princess bowed before her King.  She went to the Minstrel’s house. She was tired of the mind games and had come to tell him so. Going into the lion’s den, she faced him down and let him know what she expected from a friendship.  Unknowingly he said “I am at the crossroads.”  The Princess was surprised at that.  Fed up with him, she lifted her eyebrows and replied tersely “Yes, so am I.”

Although she no longer trusted him as a friend and had written him out of the story, she foolishly thought that before she walked away, he should have the part of the Kingdom story where he had appeared in it. She told him; “The Kingdom is real. The King is real. You can follow Him and have a fairy tale, or you can go your way and have a soap opera.”  The Minstrel did not understand. In his ego and pride, he did not see the thin ice he was skating on or realize they would be parting company at the crossroads.

It was then that the Minstrel casually told her the truth; he had merely amused himself with her while waiting for another woman to turn up after Easter.  She froze as the thin ice cracked and faced the facts; he did not know or care about her at all!  An enemy had put his arm around her shoulder.  The cold light of day revealed him for who he really was, as the rose tinted glasses of friendship flew onto the ice, shattering into jagged little shards.  In her eyes, he’d morphed into something small and very unpleasant.  “I don’t like being used” she stated flatly, looking at him with dislike.

In her mind she put him in the same mental rubbish bin as Silver-tongue, and placed the lid down hard.    He shrugged her words off as if they didn’t matter.  “How about we do something over the school holidays?” he asked as she walked out the door.  She was shocked at his callous attitude and deeply offended.    “I’m busy” she replied dismissively, as she walked out of his life.

The children could play together, but Mum and Dad wouldn’t be.  In the Kingdom, she closed the gate and raised the draw bridge.

An offended brother is more unyielding than a fortified city, and disputes are like the barred gates of a citadel. Proverbs 18:19

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