Once upon a time, there was a princess in a far away kingdom. When the princess was born, she cried a lot. Her parents, the king and queen, called all their advisors for help. Some said she was cold, others said she was tired, some said she was hungry and others said she was wet, but one old advisor said, “The princess is in the middle of a fight”.
“A fight?” asked the king in surprise, “She is just a baby. Why would she be in any fight?”
“The different parts of her body are having a fight. Each wants to be considered the most important part of the princess. Whenever they argue, she cries”, said the old advisor.
“Will it stop?” asked the queen in worry.
“Of course it will. Throughout our life, our body parts argue about their importance. When they do, we cry, feeling confused and frustrated. As we grow in wisdom, this fight is settled and we feel content. At each stage of her life, a different part will win and she will relax for a while. The fight will stop when she decides which part of her body is the most important of all. It is something you have and also something you give without losing yours. The more you use it, the stronger it gets. The more you give it to others, the more you receive it from others”.
“When will that be?” asked the king.
“Only time will tell”, said the old advisor, “Every person reaches this wisdom at a different age. Trouble and sadness are signs that some wisdom is waiting to be discovered. You can be young and discover it or realize it when you are older, but eventually, we all find the answer”.
At night, when the king and queen were in bed, the king asked his queen, “Do you know the answer?”
“When I was young, it was my beautiful face that took over. Now I think it is my heart”, said the queen, “The heart is the most important part of my body. With love and compassion, I overcome difficulties and conflict. I have plenty of it and I give it to others without losing it. The more I love, the more I get love from others. The more I love others, the stronger my love grows. What about you?”
“I think it is my head”, said the king, “With thought, justice and focus, I overcome difficulties and conflict. I use my head to inspire others and to rule them well, and so I do not lose it (ha, ha, ha). The more thoughtful, just and focused I am, the more I get back from my people. The more I think of my people, the more they think of me”.
On the princess’ 7th birthday, her mother told her about what the old advisor had said. “Wisdom is finding out which part of your body is the most important”, said the queen, “Whenever you feel unhappy and confused, ask yourself which part of your body can help you overcome your challenge. It is something you have and also something you give without losing it. The more you give it to others, the more you receive it from others”.
“What do you mean, Mom? My eyes are the most important parts of my body”, said the princess, “I can use them to appreciate the beauty all around me”.
“I think blind people can still appreciate beauty without their eyes. You need to give it away if you want to receive more of it in times of trouble”, her mom said.
Some time later, the princess came to the queen and said, “I think it’s my ears. I can enjoy life with my ears by listening to music.”
“I think deaf people can still enjoy life without listening. Most of them can feel the music without being able to hear it. Remember, look for something you have but it also something you give without losing it.”
One day, while eating an exceptional dish that was especially prepared for her, the princess said to the queen, “I think it’s my mouth, my sense of taste, the joy of eating and experiencing the wonderful flavors of this food.”
“I think hungry people can enjoy the wonderful flavors of simple bread and thirsty people can experience the joy of drinking plain water. And can you let others use your mouth and get more of it?” asked the queen.
One day, the princes came to her father crying. Her dog had died and she cried the whole day. The king, watching his sad daughter, had some tears in his eyes too. The princess put her head on the king’s shoulder and cried. He hugged and kissed her and told her words of comfort. “Remember”, said the king to the crying princess, “Trouble and sadness are signs that some wisdom is waiting to be discovered”. And as he repeated the old advisor’s words, he sat next to her bed and hugged her while she was crying over his shoulder.
“Thank you, Daddy”, said the princess and kept crying.
“Well, one day I am going to need your shoulder to cry on, my dear. By then, of course, your shoulder is going to be strong enough to carry my sadness and tears”, said the king and touched her hair softly.
Suddenly, the princess stopped crying and looked at her father in surprise.
“It’s the shoulder, Daddy, it’s the shoulder”, she said happily, “The shoulder is the most important part of my body.”
“Is it because it holds the head?” asked the king.
“No”, said the princess, “It’s because it holds the head of the people we love when they are sad and crying. It is something I have, which I can give without losing. The more I use it, the stronger it gets. The more I comfort others, the more I will receive comforting when I need it”. And the princess stopped crying. She was very proud of her discovery.
The king looked at his young daughter in surprise. She was still young, yet the parts of her body had stopped arguing. As the old advisor had said, when we accumulate wisdom, our inner struggle is settled, and that trouble and sadness are only signs that wisdom is about to be discovered.
“You are right, my wise princess. We all need a shoulder to hold our heads when we are sad and need comforting. I offer you my strong shoulder and pray that you will always have a shoulder to cry on”.
I pray that you have a shoulder to cry on and I add the words of the song that says it all, sung so purely by a princess I know personally.