When The Owner began, the land was wild.
All manner of trees and plants grew every which way. Wild animals wandered about the place. Thorny flowers and poison ivy over ran it.
The man first built a shelter. The shelter became a house. The house became a home that was almost a mansion.
The land near the home was cultivated. Long, long rows of trees grew. Fields of fruit were there. And farm animals. It became something of an estate. It ran efficiently. It was nearly perfect. And so it was for some time.
But the man saw that it was missing something. There was no one to enjoy the harvest with him. There was no one to learn His ways… Really, what was the point of it all? Just simply to perpetuate itself?
And so The First Helpers came. They lived in the man’s mansion.
Some of The First Helpers did not understand. They were spoiled perhaps, because they had never known how things were before. They thought that the man was unnecesary. They did not see that his rules were what gave the place its beauty. With a heavy heart, he cast out those among The First Helpers who would not submit. They took up residence in the wastelands beyond the estate, in the wilderness beyond the farm.
The First Helpers who remained grew in harmony with the place. It was almost as if they were a part of the place itself, so smoothly did they integrate themselves to the day-to-day running. But there was a wall, an upper limit. They loved each other, the old man and The First Helpers… but there was this limit on the communion they could enjoy together. It was something about the fact that they had been brought into the mansion. Somehow, they had become disconnected from the very ground that was underneath it. Somehow, they failed to grasp that there was something larger than the four walls they lived in. They listened carefully. They learned from the man. They took his word for it. But they couldn’t actually experience the truth themselves. As wise, benevolent, and loyal as they were, in some way they were simply stunted.
And so the man hired a servant. And the servant lived in the garden. The man would come down from his mansion each day. They would spend time together, the man and the servant.
“This is your home.” The man said “Perhaps some day you will join me up on the hill. But that is another day. For now, I would like you to live here. Lie in the cool shade of my trees. Discover who you are, in this place.”
What the man and the servant discovered is that the servant was lonely. He was a social creature, the servant. He would discover who we was only with the help of another servant to help define him, to help him understand himself.
And so the old man welcomed another servant. He spoke to them both.
“Pluck my vegetables from the ground. Pick my fruits from these trees. Slaughter my animals when you are hungry. Make this place your home. Discover who you are: together. But know this, too: This place was made by my two hands. No one knows a thing like the one who built it. And I did build this place.
You may feel that you could build a place like this. I will tell you that you could not, but I fear that you will not take my word for it. I love you. But I also love this place that I have made. If you will not work in harmony with this place I have made, then it could all be ruined. So I will tell you this: there are rules here. If we can not agree that my ways are the ways which make this place operate, then we endanger the very fabric of this estate. And so I will set this rule before you: There is a tree which is mine, and mine alone. There is only one tree, in the whole of this place, which you must leave alone.”