Once there was a reed, tall and proud, growing near a stream. He was a fine reed, and how he loved life! He lived every moment to the full. From his height he had a splendid view of the whole area. He watched the small animals scamper to and fro, the birds darting here and there, the multi-hued insects, the fish gliding in the stream. But best of all he liked the flowers. They came in a never ending parade of exquisite form and color. Old friends would go, but new ones promptly followed and they delighted him so that he never stopped to wonder what happened to the old. And all the while he stood, tall and green. Yes, life was good indeed.
Then one morning he awoke, and as he looked into the stream he discovered that his tip was turning brown. His dismay grew as day after ay the malady spread until his fine green coat was completely gone. In addition, he began to feel dry, then drier and drier. Then the rains came and beat at him, the winds battered him, and finally a mightly gust snapped him loose from the earth. He lay desolate on the ground, broken, bruised, and heavy-hearted.
Some days later, a young man came by and picked him up. He put him into his bag where it was dark, so dark that poor reed could see nothing at all. He longed for the end. Anything would be better than this unending darkness.
Finally the day came when the young man took him back out of the bag. How good to see the light again! He saw the fields and rolling hills, and sheep grazing peacefully around. The young man took a sharp knife and cut part of the reed away, hurting him so acutely he couldn’t help but cry out. Then the man ruthlessly pierced him through from end to end, clearing out his hollow. Every inch of his being quivered with pain. Then he was thrust back into the darkness again.
Sometime later he was taken out again. He welcomed the light, yet dreaded the pain he anticipated would come along with it. And sure enough, there was the knife. This time the young man mercilessly cut several holes in him. He wept silently. Then he was plunged once more into darkness.
The day came when reed, from his black home in the bag, sensed something different about everything; there was some excitement in the air. The young man joined some of the other shepherds and they hurried toward the edge of town. There they went into a cave, and the young man pulled reed out of the bag. Reed braced himself for the inevitable knife. Instead, to his surprise, he felt only the gentle caress of the young man’s hands as he lifted him tenderly to his lips. Then the young man poured his life-breath into him and there came forth from reed a beautiful song, simple and pure. And as reed looked out he saw a young mother and her little Baby. And they both smiled at him.
written by a Madonna House worker