Chapter 15 - Clothed with the Sun.
John saw an angel, a woman clothed with the sun.
He saw in her the native image of mankind.
He saw her not covered, hidden, or embellished.
He saw in her the sun of our humanity
crowned with stars of rejoicing
engaged in the 'Royal Dance'.
Under Tony's direction a two-week tour had been arranged for Ushi and me to explore the great deserts of Arizona, Nevada, and New Mexico. Ushi wanted two quiet weeks in the wide-open desert to heal the soul. Granting her wish was Fred's note of thanks to her, for her help. My role was secondary. I was 'allowed' to accompany her as her security escort. Of course, knowing Tony, I wasn't surprised that the entire Air Force contingent in the area knew of our arrival. Ushi's fame, based on her efforts in Venice, preceded her. In comparison, I was just a diplomat, someone doing his duty.
Perhaps it had been under Tony's 'orders' that nobody spoke about politics. Getting away from the political world had been the purpose of her holiday. In respecting her wishes, politics appeared to be a forbidden subject. We were treated like newlyweds instead, discretely, but affectionately. Maybe that's what Tony had told them that we were.
We stayed in remote hotels at first in various parts of the desert of the Southwest. We even camped once. At mid-week a newlywed Air Force couple joined us. They came with a four-seat helicopter at their disposal. With that we could go wherever we wanted, and the couple knew all the best places. Ushi and I became a part of the family so to speak, and apparently a part of the Air Force family as well. We were treated to life as it unfolded at the grassroots level where the games are easy, unlike at the diplomatic level, and full of fun and wide open for anything.
At one of the parties that we were invited to, Cathleen, our newlywed bride, wanted to act out a fantasy. She confided to Ushi that the fantasy had come to her like a dark urge during her wedding party.
"Why don't you act it out now, right here?" Ushi asked.
Ushi might have imagined what this dark-urge fantasy had been. With a grin on her face she encouraged Cath to give herself that chance. Ushi must have felt it to be safe enough in this 'family' environment to do something really daring. Everyone at the party had called her simply, Cathy, or Cath for short. Her full name, Cathleen, had never been used by anyone. She appeared to be 'family' to them all, or someone closer.
With a great smile on her face, when the music tape had come to an end that had provided the background music, Ushi stood up and said that she wanted to tell a story. She asked for help to clear a space in the middle of the room. A table had to be moved and chairs rearranged. She brought one of the children's high chairs from the kitchen and placed herself in the middle of the open space and told her story.
Ushi told the story of a king. It was a king with a good heart who had received visitors from a far away land. The visitors were not royalty, or philosophers, or priests. One was a poet, another a composer and performer of music, another was a man of science, and so forth. They were traveling together to explore the beauty that can be found in being human. Rumors had it that wherever they went people became uplifted by their wisdom.
So it was that they came before the king. The king was pleased with their performances, their stories, and their wisdom. A few days later, during the royal banquet, on the night before their departure to new destinations, the poet of the group asked the king if he was happy being isolated from his people by his wealth. The king answered that he wasn't at all happy about it, but that he was also unable to do anything to change that. He explained that if he gave away all of his possessions in order to be closer to his people, it wouldn't help many and he would end up as poor as the rest of them, so that in the end nobody would be bettered.
The poet agreed that this wasn't a workable solution. The musician however had an idea of how the problem might be solved. Both the poet and the man of science agreed that the composer's idea could work.
The composer had been told during his travels that there lives a man in the king's realm that has an exceptional ear for music. He was also told that the man was poor and his musical instrument was of a poor quality. The composer suggested to the king that he should purchase a violin for that man. He described the violin as an instrument that sings the melodies of the heart. He told the king that such an instrument could be obtained in a foreign country at a price far above the means of a poor man. He also assured the kind that the poor man could perform wonders with it, while the king could afford it easily and should bestow it as a gift of love to him.
The king protested. He protested, because if he did this, so he said, the lineup of beggars at his door would be endless. He was sure of it.
The composer waved him off. He told the king that he should never present such a gift as a royal handout. If he did that, indeed, those problems would occur, but more than this, his gift would thereby become tarnished. A gift becomes tarnished if it is perceived as a means to bring the bearer of the gift calculated advantages, such as fame and honor. The composer suggested that the king should present the gift while being disguised as a traveler, as an ordinary man, and that he should bestow the gift in such a manner as would be necessary to assure the recipient that it is a gift of love and nothing else. The composer said to the king that the gift would then not be tarnished. A gift is not tarnished if it can be accepted as a gift of love. "Then it will shine."
Ushi said that the king didn't like the idea at first, but as the days passed it seemed more and more right to him that he should do what his wise visitors had recommended. So he set out one day in disguise to visit the poor man. Indeed, everything that he had been told about the man was true. Consequently, a month later the king stood before the man again, in wayfarer's clothing, and bestowed on him his gift of love. It was by then a gift of love indeed, bestowed with all his heart and soul, as he had personally traveled to the far country that his visitors had spoken of, to obtain the precious instrument.
The king was pleased with himself. In fact, he was so pleased that he repeated the process in many other ways. He also found out that other people were emulating him once the violinist began to enrich the lives of the people of the kingdom with his own gift of love, his music. It wasn't long after that, that a group of people in the kingdom banded together to construct a much needed irrigation dam at the river that had been long desired. They constructed the dam as a gift of love to themselves. In this manner, as the king's pioneering venture caught on, the entire kingdom became enriched and uplifted.
Naturally, the king was more than pleased with this development. However, soon a new problem developed.
The problem was, that the king's daughter had been inspired by her father's success and had wanted to extend it still further. Only, she had no riches to share. Still she had seen that the people had become closer to one-another by extending gifts of love to each other, although not close enough to love each other fully as human beings. She felt that unless people began to really love one-another for their humanity, they would remain forever divided, and that she herself would thereby remain forever isolated in the king's castle as an outcast from society, an icon of a royalty for which society had little true affection. Thus she sneaked out of the castle one night, secretly in disguise, to the local inn where she began to dance. She danced night after night in the nude, sharing not the king's riches, but herself, her own riches as a human being.
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