There once was a Prince named “If Only”. He had spent his entire life in the castle, and only went out on business occasions. Every day, he would look out his window to the world below and dream of being part of it. He saw the fun clothes they wore, and looked down at his own royal apparel. He was so tired of his spotless robes. He was tired of being marked as different because of the princely garments he wore, the drinks he had to abstain from, and the purity to which he was upheld. He disgustingly threw his crown onto his bed and whispered, “If only I wasn’t a Prince!”
He would constantly ask his parents why he had to be so different. The King and Queen would reply, “Son, you have been born into a royal family. We have given you the best of tutors to train you in all that you need to know to live as a Prince, and we have fed you and clothed you with the most fitting of food and garments so that people can know who you are. You feel different than everyone else because you are different. You have a special calling- one that requires you to live to a higher standard. Sometimes your calling is lonely, but it is worth it. Don’t keep longing for a different life. It is not as glamorous as it appears.”
The Prince would listen with his ears, but the words never reached his heart. He had heard the mocking words of the townspeople (“reclusive, mamma’s baby, coward, scaredy-cat”)…and those terms stung too deeply for him to heed any wisdom from his parents.
At ten o’clock each evening, the town would come alive with flickering candles, fires, and lanterns. Delicious aromas would waft up from the parties and into the lonely room to tickle the prince’s nose. Laughter, jesting, music, and dancing would play in his ears. Scenes of lovers and romance would delight his eyes and stir longing in his soul.
Finally, the Prince could no longer take it. He would no longer just sit and dream about if he wasn’t a Prince. He would no longer sit under teaching that told him to do this, and act this way, and dress a certain way. He would no longer be held prisoner to the bondage of being different. He would finally do what his heart wanted to do.
Prince If Only pulled a traveling bag from his closet. He took off his crown, robes, rings, and shoes- until he was down to a simple shirt and pants, just like the townspeople wore. He stuffed his unnecessary garments under his bed and filled his bag with money and a change of clothes. Stealthily he crept from his room and down the thirteen flights of stairs. He crept past the sleeping guards. By the time the creaking drawbridge had awoken them, the Prince had melted into the busy town.
He was almost dizzy with excitement at his new-found freedom. “Hey, stranger. Come join the party,” a young man said as he slapped the Prince on the back and pulled him over to a nearby table. “Eat and drink up; the bill’s on me.” The Prince did just that. Oh, the food, the drink…it was so enchanting. Never before had such surprises touched his mouth. He ate, and he drank. And he ate, and he drank. The lights and music swirled faster and faster around him, until he dropped into a faint.
“Wake up; you mustn’t get out very much,” a woman laughed as she shook the Prince. The Prince grabbed his head and tried to keep the world from spinning. “Yup, just as I thought- a real man,” she added sarcastically. When the Prince finally could see properly without everything looking like he was gazing at it through a kaleidoscope, the most mesmerizing scened greeted him. She looked like a gypsy fairy. Her black hair hung to the floor with silver and gold strands woven through it. Her green eyes twinkled seductively. The Prince had never been in love before, but that strange feeling in his stomach and light-headedness had to be symptoms of infatuation. She drew closer to him. Oh, she loved bewitching this innocent young man.
The Prince now no longer had to watch the scenes of romance- he was finally one of the actors in the great play of forbidden love. Perhaps a Prince should maintain purity and virtue, but he reminded himself that he was no longer a Prince.
The morning arrived. He awoke and looked around. His fairy had left just as quickly as she had appeared. He searched for his bag, but came up empty-handed. She had made a nice fortune on her time with the Prince.
Prince If Only looked around.
Somehow, from his castle window, he had failed to see all of this….
The broken bottles and kegs lay scattered across the ground. Men were sprawled along the filthy streets while dogs licked the vomit that trickled down the sides of the drunks’ mouths. The Prince noticed that the same women that had looked so beautiful the night before, now only had despair and betrayal written across their faces. They looked like old workhorses that had been used and hurt too often. The children ran unruly through the streets. Their skin bore marks of beatings from their uncaring parents.
Scene after scene of life surrounded the Prince.
A child speared his friend to death, a woman worshipped her god, Drug, and constantly offered him her veins, a man idolized his literature and then raped and abused when the perversion had numbed his mind, a teenager sliced herself to try to escape reality.
The Prince shivered as it finally sunk in- this was life, this was what he had wanted, this is what the town was when the mask was stripped away. He of the royal family was one of them now, in tattered clothes with broken glass cutting his bare feet.
He had always wondered about what life would be like if he wasn’t a Prince, and now he knew.
Perhaps fairy tales should always have happy endings, but I prefer sad final scenes. The ones that end with a melancholy finish are best remembered and thought upon.
The moral of this story?
At some point and time, most everyone has whispered to themselves, “If only I wasn’t a ‘Christian’, I would do this, or be that, or dress like such.” We spend most of our lives looking out the window and longing to be like everyone else. Why don’t we appreciate the fact that we are born-again into a royal family?
Along with that heritage do come certain responsibilities; but why do we view them as restrictions instead of privileges? We forget about all the freedoms that come along with being “set-apart”.
So go out and live like the Prince or Princess you are called to be. Instead of sitting wistfully at the window, talk with the King and thank Him for letting you be His child!
Romans 12:2 – And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what [is] that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
1 Peter 2:9 – But ye [are] a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: