Seeker -- Leaving Destruction
I saw a man with a burden on his back and a book in his hands. The book had told him that the city he lived in would soon be destroyed and that he needed to escape. He had told his family but they did not believe him. He kept trying, but the more he tried to tell them, the more worried they were about his sanity.
They told him to get some sleep, but he spent the whole night weeping and sighing deeply. In the morning he felt no better.
His family did not know what to do. They tried to comfort him, but that didn't work. They even tried ridiculing him in the hope he would recognize his foolishness and stop.
He went out to the fields and wept some more. The more he read, the bigger the burden on his back became, but he knew the book was true and could not stop reading. He was desperate to run, but did not know which way to go. Eventually he cried out loudly,
What must I do to be saved?
A man named Evangelist came and asked what was wrong. The man explained his fear, so Evangelist directed him to knock on the narrow gate in the distance. Once there he would be told what to do next. As he could not see it, he was told to aim for the light until he could.
As he ran toward the light, his family and friends called to stop him running. He desperately wanted them to come with him, but he knew they would not listen to what he had already tried to tell them. He could not wait any longer. So he plugged his ears and continued crying aloud,
Life - Life .
Two men ran after him. Their names were Stubborn and Changeable, his neighbours from the City of Destruction. They resolved to bring him back to the city and stop this nonsense. Once they caught up with him they tried gently, but firmly, to persuade him to return.
Seeker, they asked him,
why are you leaving?
He told them he was going to find an incorruptible home and inheritance. He told them that they should come with him to the City of Life.
Stubborn refused, saying that he was not going to leave all of his friends and comforts for the sake of a pipe dream.
Seeker told Stubborn that the whole city, including those friends and comforts, would soon be destroyed. He pleaded with Stubborn to come with him.
Stubborn, seeing there was no hope for Seeker, told Changeable to give up on Seeker and leave him. But Changeable believed Seeker and stayed while Stubborn returned.
Seeker was encouraged that Changeable had chosen to come with him and, as they walked, Seeker told Changeable everything he had learned from the book. They were both full of excitement, but, because of this, they were not looking ahead to where they would have seen the Swamp of Despair.
Together they fell into the swamp. Changeable became angry with Seeker. If this was the hope that Seeker had brought him along for, then he could have it.
No matter how Seeker pleaded with him to come, Changeable was going back to the City of Destruction. He left Seeker in the swamp, weighed down by his heavy burden.
Seeker struggled on, and eventually he made it to the other side of the swamp. However, his burden stopped him climbing out. He called out, and a man called Help came and pulled him out. Seeker wanted to know why the swamp hadn't been filled in.
Help told him that the king of the City of Life had sought to fill it in, but could not yet. Every time someone became aware of their own evil, and turned away from it, it all came here and filled the swamp afresh.
Help told Seeker that the King would remove it at the end, but, until then, he had put sturdy steps through it, for those who were careful.
Meanwhile Changeable had returned to the City of Destruction, only to be mocked by everyone there. They insulted him for being unable to finish what he had started. Eventually he joined with them in making fun of Seeker. Life was easier that way.