Once upon a time, in the snow-capped mountains of a foreign land, a baby girl was born. It was the middle of December and snowflakes fell upon the ground as the girl’s parents looked upon her for the first time. “Welcome, Theresa” they said, smiling as they held their new baby girl. And from that day forth Theresa grew up and lived in those snow-capped mountains of a far away place – – until today.
Eighteen years later, when summer was in full swing, Theresa ventured out from the mountains she had grown up on. “It’s ironic,” Theresa thought as she packed the last of her belongs into the horse-drawn carriage out in front of her cottage, “that I should leave home for the first time when all the flowers are in full bloom, when the air is rich with the morning of dew that falls upon the green grass, and when laughter and love float amidst my people.” But Theresa didn’t care. She knew that it was time for her to leave the comforts and safety of home and to find her own way. Maybe one day she would come back here, when she was full of knowledge and satisfied with all that life had given here, but she could never know for sure. No one could; that’s just the way life works.
Theresa hugged her parents goodbye as she got into the carriage and set off down the dirt road leading away from the cottage and into the forest below. She had her journey all figured out: she would go to the master storytellers in the village on the other side of the forest, learn how to tell captivating stories herself, and live happily ever after. Little did Theresa know, that’s not the way life works.
As she ventured into the forest, she was immediately overwhelmed by its size and vivacity. With so many things to see and do, Theresa could not wait to experience it all. So she began to wander from the course she had set for herself. Theresa explored the depths of the rivers, where she almost drowned. She climbed the highest mountain peak, where she was tossed aimlessly by the cruel winds. She even went into the deep recesses of a cave, only to find emptiness and solitude.
It was inside this cave that Theresa began to think of home. She wanted nothing more than to see her smiling parents again, the snow-capped mountains in the winter, the daisy-filled fields in the summer. As Theresa cried for all that she had lost, she began to wonder why she had set off in the journey in the first place. She did not find the master storytellers, or learn how to tell the greatest stories in all the land, and she was most definitely not living happily ever after. No, Theresa was stuck in a cave, cold and lost.
But then, Theresa remembered her Father telling her once that whenever she felt alone and scared and hopeless, to remember that He will always be there, to guide her and help her, no matter where she may be. Even though she was not with her Father, she felt His presence. She knew that she could get out of the cave, find the path, and eventually reach the master storytellers.
Theresa picked up her belongings and found her way out of the cave. She wandered over to a river and set up a tent by the flowing stream. As she washed the last of the tears from eyes, she heard another approaching traveler.
She turned around to see a young man smiling and extending his right hand, “Why hello there. I’m Ulysses,” he said enthusiastically.
“I’m Theresa” she introduced herself as she shook the boy’s hand.
“Where are you going?” Ulysses asked.
“I’m heading to the forest on the other side of the river to learn the art of storytelling.” Theresa replied.
“I’m going there, too, only to learn all about their sciences and medicine. Would you like to go to the village together?” Ulysses suggested, and Theresa agreed.
So off they went, through the forest together, laughing and exploring for quite a while. Theresa and Ulysses went on their own adventures – jumping off a waterfall, canoeing down a river, and even climbing the tallest tree. Until one day they realized that they were approaching the end of the forest, and the village was just below the ridge.
They stared in awe at the village – it was everything both of them had been dreaming of for so long. It had paved roads filled with people from everywhere on earth. There were scientists, philosophers, artists, and merchants, all happily going about their business. As relieved as Ulysses and Theresa were, each of them had a bit of sadness.
The village could only give them so much, but it was their journey through the forest who made them who they were.
Theresa reflected upon all the hardships she had overcome and all the wonderful times she shared with Ulysses. It was not the way she had imagined her journey would go, but she knew that she learned so many life lessons from it. There would always be tall mountains to climb and dark caves to navigate through, but now Theresa knew that she could always count on Ulysses. And if Ulysses ever had to go away, then someone new would come and accompany her on journey. If all else failed, her Father would be there with her, and that was comfort in itself.
Most of all though, Theresa knew that if she could climb the tallest mountain in the forest or find her way out of the darkest cave, she could conquer anything.
When Theresa reached the village, she finally learned how to tell the greatest stories from the masters, but she found that the masters could only teach her so much – it was the journey that made for good stories. And it was of her journey that she would tell.