Friday, 2 January 2009

Monday, 16 June 2008

Overheard

"Good morning" said Bethuel. This was strange, he didn't normally address me until the end of the day, I didn't need to reply. "I woke up last night to the sound of my mother crying in the other room." He said, "I could hear my father's voice whispering something to her and I moved to the edge of the room to hear what was wrong."

"My mother's sobbing was becoming quieter and I heard her ask my father '...do you know when it happened?' My father answered 'From what I can gather it would have been about seven or eight weeks ago'. My mother replied 'but she's barely 17 years old, that man is disgusting to take a girl of that age.' My father didn't agree 'what difference does age make? She was the daughter of the king and now our master's wife has asked her to carry the master's child. There is nothing we can do about this.'

My mother's voice became cold and hard 'there is plenty we can do, there is certainly much that I can do, one woman to another. That girl trusts me and I will make use of that trust to ensure that our son gets what he deserves.'

"I didn't hear any more after that. Today I am going out into the fields with the master's nephew, he's going to teach me about how to shepherd the animals. Goodbye." Said Bethuel.

Thursday, 12 June 2008

Honesty

Bethuel was telling me about a conversation he'd had with his mother today, "After my conversation with father yesterday I spoke with mother today and she laughed for quite some time. 'God's help' she said 'is useless' I didn't get a chance to ask her what she meant by that because she was really angry, but amused, by what my father had told me, 'Your father is a stupid old fool. I assume he didn't tell you about the common man's virtuous and truthful visit to the King of Eygpt then?" She asked, still laughing. I shook my head 'If you were to enter the King of Eygypt's land do you think he would meet you personally, or strike a deal with you? Do you think you would get an audience, do you think the king would look twice at a woman of my standing - do you think he would give you his daughter, as a SLAVE? Of course not.'

"My mother explained" said Bethuel, "'Before he settled here your 'exalted master' had to pass through Eygypt and so terrified was he that the King would kill him to take the mistress that he lied. He told the King that she was only his sister and traded his 'sister' for riches.' My mother continued, 'there's no shame in that, common practice. But, she said, he is no common man, the King of all Eygypt doesn't need to make deals with common men, he wants, he takes. Your master is far more powerful than your father will admit, I tell you son, that man has riches."

I thought she was finished "And as for that nonsense about his nephew! His nephew saved your exalted master's hide. The cattle were sick with some illness and without them your master's wealth would soon disappear. The master refused to allow anyone to interfere insistent that God would spare them. In the end his nephew was so worried that he took his share of the flock to safety and got them away from the worst of the disease. Your master was furious and took your father to kidnap his nephew and bring him, and his wealth, back here.

'That you will have any inheritence at all is the work of the master's nephew but what does he get from your father and your master? Abuse and threats, that poor man is to remain hidden, lest your master's honesty turns on him again.'

"I was really sad to hear about the master's nephew" said Bethuel, "Especially at my own father's involvement, the master is no concern of mine, but my own father?"

"Remember your mother's words" I said to him. Before she finished she had said to Bethuel 'Your father is a fool but he knows better than to dare question your master, perhaps your father is only protecting your inheritence. I should not be so harsh. The master is not to be underestimated, he'd turn on his own if his infatuation with his god told him to.'

Monday, 9 June 2008

Virtuous

It's been a few weeks since our conversation about deal-making deities and Bethuel hasn't been spending any more time thinking about the master. Until today it would seem.

He told me earlier, "I was working with father today and I like doing that, I like to learn from him because one day I'll take his place, unless mother's right of course and that place is head of the family." He laughed. "I decided to ask father about the master. He ignored me and we carried on working and he changed the subject to tell me about how best to the particular job we were on this afternoon.

"After we had a little break father started up 'The master is a common man but a virtuous and honest man' he said 'he is beloved of God and because of his committment to the master God has provided all of this land for him'. I asked my father what made him so virtuous and he explained about the master's nephew, 'The master's nephew was very devious and wanted to steal some of the master's flock and make a tribe of his own but instead of punshing the nephew the master let him take away most of the flock and the shepherds to a place of his choosing and then the master chose another place, this place, to settle' 'I see.' I said. 'But that's not all of it' said my father, 'Even when his nephew was captured and imprisoned your master rode out to rescue him and restore his libery, I went with him to fight and we suceeded in our mission. Your master did not hold his previous deceit against him and in fact shared the wealth of his captors with him.'"

Friday, 6 June 2008

Shock


"Did you make a deal with the master?" he asked.

I answered "No. I made no deal with your master." Bethuel nodded "I didn't think you did" he said and sat down. He was not in the slightest bit concerned that he had heard my voice.

"And, well, so..." Bethuel was struggling, "who *did* the master make the deal with?" he asked me. "Himself, I suppose" I said to him, "I don't make deals, or threats, promises or assurances. It doesn't interest me. I don't promise the shore to the sea or guarantee the sun to seedlings, that happens without me getting involved."

Bethuel was pleased, but then I could see his brow furrowing and another question was forming as much on his face as in his mind, "And are their others gods, should I speak to them as well? Father says that I should worship god, is that right? How do you want me to worship you?"

I explained to Bethuel the truth that eluded him, not much did but I could tell this was something he might not be able to work out on his own, not yet anyway "There are some people who believe that there is one me doing everything and some of those people worship me. There are other people who believe that all the things that happen are done by lots of different gods. Some people don't believe that anything happens because of me. All of them are right. I don't need to be worshipped, I know who I am, it's most of you who are in the dark about who I am, or who you are."

He was still following me, admirably so, "What your master has done is take a part of himself, perhaps his valour, strength, determination and made that an external force, perhaps he believes that he's not worthy of his own power and pretends its 'God' instead. If you think worshipping me will make a difference, it won't, it won't make it better and it won't make it worse. If you do want to make something better look for the aspect of me or the god of that aspect in yourself. When you have found that part, it might be small or massive, try and make it bigger, more powerful and put your attention on that - then you will notice changes in your life."

Does that make sense, I asked him. "Yes, very much, I like that, I think that makes sense' he said.

"Why did you tell your mother about your master being chosen?" I asked him.

He smiled "I thought that mother knew stories about the master because I've heard her whispering things about him to other people, I was hoping she would tell me why he was special."

I went back to my first answer, "Bethuel, when I answered you there was no reaction on your face or in your body, you didn't seem shocked or in awe or, in fact anything, why not?" I asked. Bethuel looked confused "Which answer?" He asked. I told him, "When I told you that I didn't do a deal with your master." A look of concern passed across his young face, "Why would I be shocked?" and just as I was about to explain he added "It's not like I haven't heard you speak before!"

If I was capable of falling over I probably would have come close right then.

I asked him to tell me what it was like talking to me, today, before today and whenever he spoke to me. "Well, it's just normal" he said "I talk to you and you answer, sometimes you answer by voice, sometimes with a picture, sometimes with an animal coming up to me and licking my hand or snuffling for scraps. Sometimes you sound like me, sometimes you sound like no-one I know."

"You hear me, see me?" I asked, "All the time" he said.

This was why he wasn't scared, he knew the truth of god, there was no separation between god and the world around him, this is how he was always able to talk directly to me. I had to take a moment. "Oh my!" I thought to myself, the conscious part of me, the bit that 'does all the talking and listening' to my experiment had missed something. I looked back at Bethuel's life and realised that he had been speaking to me long before he had opened his mouth. This young man was the first to communicate with me internally before he had learnt to speak to me 'externally'.

I did say that it would be an important question.

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

The deal

"...and after I had helped father with his duties I had to help mother." Bethuel was telling me, he continued, "She wanted my help with some of the laundry and I was separating out the wet clothes to make it easier for them to dry when she told me something very odd. 'One day' she said, 'you will have others to do this for you my son', 'What do you mean?' I asked her. She told me that the master was giving everything to father and that father would then give everything to me. I was a little excited about this but confused, 'When will this happen' I said, 'when the crazy old fool dies' she said. I asked her who was crazy and she said the master. I was very upset and my mouth fell open."

Bethuel said, "And I said to mother that she shouldn't speak of our master like that and something father said appeared in my head and I said 'God chose him', the master is special. Mother turned to look at me and I was very scared, 'Special?' she said in a very quiet voice, 'Special?' her voice became very high that time. 'I'll tell you about your special master' she said, 'He was a poweful and rich man...' I didn't recognise the name of the place but mother said it was a kingdom, '...and he decided that the people of the kingdom were all mad and that he was the only normal one. Your master then declared that he'd done some kind of deal with one of the gods for some land.' Mother looked at me, 'You never make deals with the gods' she said, 'they always have a way of turning it around on you so that you lose out - you remember that.'

"And what was the deal?" I asked and she told me that this god had agreed to give all of this land to the master if he would only worship him. But that doesn't make sense to me, if the master did a deal not to worship the other gods then really he was only pretending. Because, if he knows that there are others he can only pretend not to worship them, I mean if they were there before his deal they must still be there somewhere?" Bethuel was addressing that last bit to me, he knew what his mother would have said if he'd asked her the same question.

Bethuel was about to ask a very important question, certainly very important to him....