The Keeper of Connection
There once was a boy who was the Keeper of Connection.
See, his people had fallen into rampant isolation.
They all knew that they longed for connection, and yet their loneliness persisted.
They all felt the parch and thirst of their disconnectedness, but everyone else seemed so far away. And it was scary to take a risk.
Some people seemed so busy. And others so guarded. And everyone was busy with work.
They didn’t go to church anymore, because their logic was too strong.
The boy was very worried about his people. His heart ached, and he wanted to help. What could he possibly do?
One day, feeling disillusioned, he went walking in the woods. On the ground, he noticed something shimmering.
A shiny tip was poking out into the mossy trail, so he approached the thing, and slipped his fingers into the dirt to pull it out.
A crystal — orange and white, swirling colors, reflecting the sunlight back at him.
When he touched it, he felt ocean waves stir within him. He felt the atoms of his bones vibrating, and his skin felt electrified. Pleasantly so, somehow.
Puzzled, he looked into the crystal. He thought he was dreaming as he gazed into its interior. He saw images of friends and family gathering.
He saw meals being shared, grandparents dancing, and actors in colorful masks, putting on a show.
He saw hands interlocking their fingers, and others that wiped away tears from tired eyes.
He saw young couples exploring the world and each other, and groups of children sitting around a storyteller, who was thumping a hand drum.
The boy felt a fire burning inside him. He knew he was supposed to share what he’d seen.
He longed to remind his people of how to find Connection, to jolt them awake, to be the inextinguishable flame that broke the dense fog.
He knew they needed to gather — to mourn, to joke, to cry, to sing together.
That isolation was a trick the devil played, and he played it well.
Before he knew what he was doing, the boy was running into town to share the news.
He was letting his heart guide himself and his people to a more beautiful world.
So off he ran.
When he arrived at the first house on the edge of town, he knocked and was greeted by a family of three.
He struggled to find the right words, though he was bursting with excitement, so he simply grabbed the crystal in his pocket and held it up to them.
“Look!” he pleaded. He was met with blank stares.
The couple looked in his hand: “Nice rock!” said the man. “What is that, quartz? Moonstone?”
“No, look closer!!” the boy urged. But the couple couldn’t see anything. They saw only a hunk of stone, pleasant but forgettable. A little like him.
The boy didn’t know what was wrong. So he ran off, disappointed but hopeful still.
He arrived at the second house, where a business man in a finely pressed suit read the newspaper.
The boy knocked with enthusiasm, but was met with all the dismissiveness of a man who knows too much.
“Buzz off, kid. I don’t know what kind of prank you’re trying to pull, but it’s not going to work,” snarled the man. “I don’t see anything, ok?”
Anger brewed inside the boy, and he grumbled as he looked down and stuffed the crystal back in his pocket.
Off he ran.
At the third house, which was quaint, with a patio full of well-loved plants, an elderly woman with kind eyes opened the door.
He held up the stone; she took a deep breath and spoke: “I can’t see it, son. But I can see the fire in you. And I believe you.” His eyes widened.
“I know that the voice you’re hearing is the voice of Truth. You know how? Because I hear it too. And I’ve learned that it will always lead you in the direction of beauty. It will always lead you forward through the fog.
Truth will help you be the candle, and the world needs more candles.
When everyone tells you you’re dreaming, don’t give up. Find a way to show us the truth that you see.
Do this and your heart will reward you with fullness.”
He smiled and nodded, feeling seen, and walked down the mossy steps away from her house.
He floundered for a while. Excited, but puzzled.
Eventually it was getting dark, and he began to worry. Scary thoughts overcame him — that nobody would believe him, that he was hallucinating, that he was just a child. Tears welled in the boy’s eyes.
He wanted to see the images one last time before the light of day faded, so he took the gem and placed it gently on a tree branch overhead.
The sun was setting, and the light from this angle was refracted in a way he hadn’t seen before. In a flawless way, that captured every detail of the stone exquisitely.
This time, the light passed through the crystal and shot outward. To the boy’s amazement, the light projected the images from the crystal onto the walls of the houses in the town.
Images appeared everywhere — of children balancing on planter boxes. Of families dancing, pulling each other in a circle, holding a newborn in a basket above the crowd.
There were hundreds of images of dancing shadows, of movement, of life in motion.
The silhouettes danced and danced as the pink and purple sunlight painted the houses from floor to ceiling.
An elderly man walking by with a cane was the first to notice. He called out for his neighbor. “Marah, you gotta see this!”
Gradually, the rest of the townspeople started pouring out of their homes onto the cobblestone streets.
At first, they were speechless. They watched the shadows dance — all shapes and sizes, bending every which way.
The people didn’t know what to do, but something stirred inside each of them.
Without knowing why exactly, they began to emulate the shadows. They began to dance, to stretch their bodies and fingertips outward, to climb on planter boxes, to play tag, to embrace one another.
They began to hold each other’s hands, overwhelmed with a desire to return to themselves. Overwhelmed with desire to come back home.
And the only way they knew to come home was to hold each other closely. To look into each other’s eyes.
Here, in each other’s embrace, they could find themselves once again.
A young girl came up to the boy under the tree branch and looked into his speckled, hazel eyes.
Hers were bright blue, like the reflection of a river in spring. Her face came close as their eyes merged and their gazes softened.
She lost sense of time, of space, of herself. She was thoughtless, for the first time in many months, and he was as well.
This silent moment — the first moment they ever shared — lasted a lifetime.
The boy felt ocean currents swimming within him again, and felt the atoms vibrating in his bones and in his skin.
Eventually, a sound pulled them both out of the trance. The boy, worried about the crystal, looked up at the tree branch.
He gasped as he realized that it had disappeared, leaving a silent sliver of smoke in its wake. He gasped in sock.
He was angry, at first. Then defeated. “How could I be so careless?” he snapped to himself. A wave of shame overcame him.
After a moment, though, he gathered the courage to look again at the girl, to brave the electrifying waters of her eyes.
And when he did, his soul was soothed and his breathing slowed as he managed to glimpse a sea of tiny figures dancing there. Dancing in the light of her eyes — gathering, jumping, balancing, swinging…
The feeling of calm washed over him like a warm, gentle tide. He knew he had done his job, and he’d done it with a full heart.
As they stood there beneath the tree, the sun completed its setting and the stars began to peek out. They flickered and played with one another, as stars sometimes do.
The boy looked up hopefully at the evening sky, and a smile painted across his face.
The people of his town danced and held one another in the cobblestone streets behind him.
They were grateful to feel the warmth and wrinkles of their neighbors’ hands against theirs once again, finding themselves in each other’s being.
The boy danced too, in his dreams that night, and he slept peacefully.
He had done his job, and he had done it with a full heart.