graphic design | illustration | writing
I can’t really claim to have written this story. As far as I know, it’s true, it was told to me a long time ago.
There was once a young boy named Chris. Life was hard for him and his family. They were refugees, and were forced to live in a strange country because of the political situation back at home. There were other families like his living near them, but not many, and few of them had kids his age, so he played with the kids that grew up there. Sometimes they played nice, but often times they would exclude him. They called him a “Fugi” and made fun of his skin, and said that his parent’s religion was wrong. And they called him illegitimate because their parents had told them that Chris’s father had to adopt him.
Some of these things Chris knew were right, but others he knew were wrong. Instead of lashing out at the other kids though, he tried to ignore them. He didn’t really know how to explain to them how they were wrong, or how none of it was really his fault anyway.
After a number of years living away from a home that Chris had never really known, his father said that the political situation had been resolved back at home. The ruler had been removed for whatever reason, his father hadn’t really explained. But the good news was that they would be moving back. Even though Chris had only really known this country, it wasn’t very welcoming to him, so he was excited for a new adventure.
Chris grew a few years back in his parent’s country, and learned to call it his own. His father started teaching him cabinet making, which is how he made a living, explaining that someday they would work together. But Chris was really only interested in going to religion school, despite its unpopularity back where he grew up, it was common here, and he felt drawn to it.
It turned out that Chris excelled in school and grasped the teachings wholeheartedly, though sometimes a bit differently than the teachers. Sometimes they told him that he needed to learn the lessons the way that the teachers taught them, not the way that he thought they should be taught. But Chris knew that sometimes, the lessons needed to be understood differently.
He grew more over the years, learning more about cabinetry and religion. Ultimately, he decided that the school just didn’t see things the way he felt they should be seen, so he left. Neither did he feel that his father’s profession was necessarily for him, so he decided that he would leave the town and start teaching what he was passionate about on his own.
Inevitably, because of his passion, he made friends along the way, and they helped him as he taught. They even started learning the same things, and took up Chris’s passion for themselves.
It didn’t take very long for Chris’s new way of teaching his religion to become popular. He was a natural public speaker and put things in ways that were easy to understand. Unfortunately, when you do things differently, there are always people who don’t like change.
It turns out that Chris had gotten to know his birth father better over the years. It didn’t mean that he loved his adopted father any less, but his birth father knew things that he needed to learn. So he did, and he taught those things to anyone who would listen.
Eventually his words reached his old teachers from religion school, and through them, their teachers, and so on up the ladder. The people at the top were not pleased to hear that things were being taught differently by Chris, they had a system, and that system was comfortable for them. If things changed, they wouldn’t be comfortable, and they didn’t think of too many things beyond their own comfort.
So they sent people to listen to Chris, and to challenge him, but each time, those people came back having failed to effectively challenge anything he said, if they came back at all. The religious leaders became impatient and bribed one of Chris’s friends to set him up.
Despite the protestations of Chris’s other friends, he was taken away by the authorities on false charges, tried in a corrupt court and sentenced to death for trying to upset the balance that had kept the people in power comfortable.
He was executed like a common criminal.
But the story doesn’t end there. His friends continued to teach his way of thinking. First in private, and then in public. They had a hard time of it too, sometimes harder than Chris had it, but those are stories for another time.
You see, even though Chris had been teased, reprimanded, challenged and eventually killed for who he was and what he believed, he was right. And because he was right, he got to live, and that’s what makes what he taught all the more powerful.