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A long, long time ago, a man and a woman lived in a great house and tended a great garden. They arose just before the sun came up each morning. As the light gilded the garden, painting the green with gold, they worked. They pressed their hands into the dark earth. They selected and sowed, tamped and watered, and the prints of their fingers were marked with holy soil. All day they tended to the plants, spreading growth by the soul in their skin. Then they would sleep under holy, burning stars, and rise again to a new day. 

They loved to tend the plants, but not just for the work itself. They loved doing it because someone tended it with them. They could not see this person much of the time, though they had inklings that he was just behind them, but they could always hear him, not in a common tongue, but in a language of adoration, love, and beauty. Everything they saw, smelled, touched, tasted, heard, spoke, and thought seemed to call their attention to this . . . Great One, this mysterious helper. They were everywhere assured of and fulfilled by his company. So they woke each morning eager to work with him.

But one day, things changed. A black creature entered the great garden and began whispering. They could not make out his whispers at first, but then the woman heard it clearly when she was off by herself. “Steal.” They did not know what this sound meant, so they continued to work and rest as usual. But unrest was growing in them, like a weight in their chest. When the woman was by herself again, tending to the most beautiful tree in the garden, the creature whispered again: “Alone.”

She did not know the meaning of that word either until that very moment. Even then, she didn’t know it, but she could feel it. It felt like an absence, as if the Great One were not behind her anymore. In that moment, the world around her, even the tree of beauty, no longer drew her adoration. Instead, the garden seemed mute and cold. And it was there—when the woman stopped sensing the presence of the Great One, that the garden disappeared, along with the great house.

She and the man found themselves in another place, a green country they had never been before. But they could find no signs of the Great One, no marks of the helper. They truly believed they were alone. Their children, and their childrens’ children, believed the same. Generation upon generation grew up in the land without any sense of the Great One.

But the Great One was not gone. In fact, he was all around them, ever before their blinded eyes, but they could not see him, nor could they hear him. They were deceived by the black whisperer, though he now seemed like a dream to them.

This is how the Great Lie was born: that the Great One was not there, when he was truly everywhere, even in the presence of the man and woman when they believed it was only the two of them, there before the tree of beauty. It was the lie of alone.

We are still believing the lie.

Does this post intrigue you? My next book is called The Great Lie. It will unpack all of this. In the meantime, check out these related resources.

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