Pearls.

Last night I was blessed with a very potent dream. In the dream, I found myself in a massive cavern with a black temple hidden within its core. For hours I searched for an entrance to this temple, but to no avail.

I was about to give up… but just then a glimmer of light caught my eye. High up upon a nearby clifftop, a golden orb of light levitated over a shrine. I climbed up the cliff and retrieved the orb. I returned to the front of the temple and immediately discovered a slot in the ground in which the orb fit perfectly.

Immediately, the temple’s structure shifted around on axis, as though it was a giant interactive labyrinth, and revealed four new open chambers within the outer walls of the temple. Samira steps forward as though she had been there all along. “There must be four more orbs,” she says. I acknowledge and we both seek out these individual orbs. We find them and place them upon four stone altars within each of the four chambers. Again the chambers of the temple shift around on axis, revealing new passageways and chambers as we near ever closer to the heart of the Temple.

With each chamber that opens, I realize there are more and more people present. I see my family, I see old friends, I see all of you who I’ve interacted with online.

Finally, all of the chambers are open and there is only one door remaining. I read an ancient inscription which gives the directions for a ritual that will open the final door. The ritual is to culminate in a feast.

A great banquet is prepared and everyone takes their seats, waiting in anticipation. But in order to begin the ritual, candles must be lit around the entire central chamber of this temple. With everyone already seated, I set out to light these candles, one by one. As I do so, I see the frustration growing in everyone’s eyes around me.

Now when I’m about halfway around the room, a gust of wind suddenly picks up and blows throughout the entire cavern. All of the candles are blown out and the crowd lets out an audible exclamation of their collective irritation.

But I’m not deterred. I return to the beginning of the candles and start over immediately. Now, when I’m approaching the very last candle, thunder echoes throughout the cave and suddenly a rainstorm commences. All of the candles go out immediately, leaving only black smoke amidst the rain. I cast my eyes around the room to see everyone staring at me. My father looks me in the eyes, and then commences to eat his meal. Everyone else in the temple immediately joins him. Once the food is devoured, the crowd disperses, leaving only Samira and myself left before the main door of the temple.

“They were only here for the food,” I remark to Samira. “That’s all they wanted. They don’t even care about the ritual.”

She nods, and we proceed alone.

Now it is written, “For when he had found one pearl of great price, he went and sold all he had to obtain it.” This is true. For the cost all must pay to obtain is everything. Now when one has obtained this pearl, the bearer finds it of such inestimable value, that the bearer seeks to share their findings with the world. “Hear me! Hear me!” the bearer screams. “For I have found that sacred elixir, the ambrosia of the gods! I have transmuted base metals into gold!” The bearer casts his pearls at the banquet table. And they are consumed as morsels of meal, indistinguishable as crumbs in the slop. The bearer gasps in stupefaction. For this bearer, who has now sold all to obtain such sweet gifts, is brought to naught, destitute in their attempts to bear the light.

For it is only the wise man, who having obtained this Pearl of Great Price, honors this gift by adorning his own crown, concealing this pearl within his own secret flame.

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