She was afraid, because they harmed her. She said: Never again! She’d rather be lonely! She built a shell-house above everyone else’s. She was perching in it, sometimes sniffing the outside, her horns hitching a good friend or a nasty hedgehog. After every meeting she crawled right bac ink and kept on being afraid. She was looking down on life from afar as it was spinning on time. The good and bad were coming and going, but she just peeped through a tiny split in the door.
Only the White Wanderer was singing with her. She trusted Him a long time ago and invited Him in. He pressed her, edged her on to live well already, enjoy the beauty already, and as soon as He became the Lord inside the shell, not just a Guest, the little snail listened to His voice. „I have a plan with you!” – said the White Wanderer, her Best Friend. „You have to get out and make as many friends as you can! Talk to them about Me, their eyes might be opened and they might see me as well!”
She dared to get out a little. It’s not so bad being outside after all, she thought. She made one or two friends, but didn’t invite in anyone. That would’ve been too risky! The place is too small, and anyway, nobody invites her in either, and anyway, everyone hurts her, and anyway… In other words, she didn’t want to suffer. And she didn’t like embarrassing things. What can be more embarrassing that loving someone who doesn’t want to love you? On the contrary, pricks you! Nudges you! Cuts you! It hurts a lot and is too embarrassing!
But she became braver and braver by and by. Then one day, whether it was a day of warm summer shower or silver snowfall, I do not know, but on a lovely day she opened all the windows and doors wide, and even though she was trembling, she invited every soul in. Let them come in! The good and bad all came. They treaded down her carpet and drank all her raspberry drink. The good and bad all sang together with her inside and outside her shell, and by and by walked away. Many of them saw the White Wanderer, and she shared a special smile with them, and although she gave and received many wounds, there was Happiness next to Sadness. She conquered her fears, she changed.
She had a room deep in the shell, and in that room she had a wardrobe sealed with seven locks. In that wardrobe she had a suitcase sealed with seven locks. In this suitcase was slumbering the creature called Falling-In-Love. She never let anyone go near it. Once she showed the dusky room to the Wanderer, only for a second on tiptoes, but she was clutching the keys very hard. The Wanderer smiled. „The time will come, little snail,” – said the Wanderer, – „when you will let me in here too!”
The snail was terrified! She knew that when the Wanderer will step into the room nothing will ever be the way she wants it. Can’t she keep for herself at least this tiny room, this tiny wardrobe, this tiny suitcase, at least Falling-In-Love in its slumber? Can’t she be the Boss at least in this little corner? He will rummage through everything, the Wanderer will confuse her! As He usually does! She sqeezed the keys in her hand, but the fourteen locks did not let her rest. So be it! – she sighed.
„Let Your will be done!” – cried the snail to her Friend, but even her horns were trembling as she spoke. „Wake up Fallin-In-Love, if you wish, or let it sleep on forever! I had enough of living in fear! Here are the keys, do, what you have to!”
There were many things in that room, not to mention the wardrobe! Bric-a-brac, lumber, bad memories, revenge, envy, ill desires, the nest of maggots and slimes that she held on to and smuggled in the room so that the Wanderer wouldn’t see it. She hid Pride in there, her most precious treasure, in a golden case. The Wanderer shot a glance at it and whoosh! – with a sway threw it out the open window. Oh, anything but that! – the little snail wanted to shriek, but she was so relieved that she laughed out loud instead. Out with it, whoosh, out with it!
While the Wanderer was opening the locks somebody else stepped into the room. a boy-snail. „Am I in the right place?” asked he shyly. „I smelled a friend-smell in here. A Friend of mine told me to come here.” The little snail was so shocked that she was left speechless for a while. What will happen now? A stranger in her innermost room? Oh, anything but that! But then she smiled and said: „That is just the smell of raspberry drink. Feel yourself at home! What’s your name?” The other snail answered with a misgiving glance: „Derek. And who are you?” The snail answered: „Johanna”.
At frist they were both very frightened, but the Wanderer was the best Friend of both of them, so they often exchanged special smiles, and heard His voice pressing them: „Open your doors, let the air in through the windows, leave your keys with me!” Suddenly the boy-snail was startled. „Something stirred inside there!” – said he. It was Falling-In-Love that stretched and shaked its disheveld head, it was awake. It was good, very good! But the Wanderer warned them: „Falling-In-Love is always sleepy. As quick as it burns now, it will just as quickly go out. You can keep it awake with unconditional Love. There is no other way!” That hurts, man, because when there are no conditions, there is nothing to protect you. But it’s really good too. Without conditions there are no limits either!
This is my story. Or rather our story: the White Wanderer’s, Derek’s and mine.
Everybody is afraid more or less. And everybody wants to be happy. But Happiness isn’t just the good friend of Sadness, it’s his sibling by blood. This is why one needs courage for Happiness. One cannot be happy if one is a coward. Happiness isn’t an object that one can put on a shelf or twirl around in one’s hand to use it as they see fit. Happiness isn’t a guest, a long seen acquaintance, isn’t a neighbour or relative. Isn’t a family member who stays in you for a while, let’s say, until they find a job or until the storm ends. Happiness isn’t Falling In Love. Either Happiness is a complete stranger to you, or He is the Lord of your Heart. Happiness is the Son of the Blessed One, He is Love.