Day 11 of 31 days. Click on the image above to read the beginning of the story.
Just as soon as the prince finished his marriage vows, the crowd erupted in applause. They could not contain themselves any longer. What a glorious morning it had been! The cheering turned into singing and the singing into dancing. People spilled out of the courtyard and into the streets, laughing and dancing and enjoying the goodness of their prince.
The couldn’t stop talking about how their prince had rescued an enemy from the other side of the gates, brought her home, and transformed her into an entirely new creature. She was beautiful, but now they could see that her beauty was nothing compared to his glory.
In fact, they could not take their eyes off him. He had not changed overnight like his bride had, but his visage was sharper, as if a bit of a veil had been taken off and they were seeing his features more clearly than every before.
Even Jewel, the woman once called Obscurity, noticed. The prince’s face was radiant like the sun.
She felt that she was radiant too, just because she was near him, and she marveled because he had chosen her to help make himself known. Jewel realized, then, that this wedding was not about her. It was about him.
He had shown them a trick that only he could do, and it was so amazing, their shouts of astonished exultation reached all the way to the edges of the Enchanter’s land. He cringed when he heard it because only the prince could take something so broken and make her worthy of the bride she had become. Only the prince could take a joke, a cosmic shock, and turn it into something so glorious.
But the most amazing thing was, he did it out of love. He was able to look past everything Obscurity was and was not, and love her anyway. He loved her even before she was clean and beautiful, even before the jewel had been polished out of the rough. Now she stood before the people, able to love and be lovely because of what he did for her.
Of course, the people had not understood at first. But now they saw it clear as anything. This was their story. This is what their prince had done for each one of them too. He had loved them before they were lovely and had given them a home and an inheritance and a new name. He had made them lovely with his love.
How could any of them have missed it?
Well, they reasoned, it was so long ago, and when the prince called them to come to his kingdom, they were not nearly as unworthy as she. They were not as bad as Obscurity.
Then over time, each person had settled in to life and work in the kingdom, and they began to think that they deserved to be there. Some actually thought that the prince opened his gates for them because they were so good and useful. He needed them.
They forgot their own dirty clothes, their own mud-caked feet, and their own stubborn hearts. They forgot the details of their own rescue.
But here it was, played out before them in shocking allegory. There was nothing in them worthy of rescue. There was nothing clean or beautiful or good. It was only and always the goodness of the prince that was able to bring about anything good in them.
Jewel’s story was their story. They had known that part. But what they had forgotten was that Obscurity’s story was theirs too.
And you can’t have one without the other.
It was a hard but beautiful reminder of the character of the prince who rescued them, the despised and the forgotten ones. The parts of their stories that were the ugliest–the parts they wanted to forget–were the very same parts that made him most glorious. Because only their prince could write an ending like that. Only their prince could make them lovely with his love.