by Ken Willers
Once Upon A Time, there was a big house that had a skeleton in the attic. The family that lived there was very frightened by this skeleton so they insisted that no one in the family should ever go up to the attic. And yet, it so happened that one day the little boy who lived in the house and who was very curious by nature secretly made his way up to the attic. When he got to the attic and opened the door he immediately saw the skeleton sitting in the corner of the attic. He was scared at the sight of this ugly skeleton, but he entered the attic and sat far away from the skeleton and just looked at it for a while. For a whole year the little boy would sneak up to the attic and would just sit on the floor and look upon the skeleton from a distance.
When a year had passed he realized that he was no longer really scared by the skeleton's presence so he attempted to get closer to it. He moved right next to it and for some reason he started to talk to it. The more he talked with it the more comfortable he felt being close to it. Of course the skeleton didn't talk back --but the boy just pretended. He would tell the skeleton all the things he was afraid of and even how he was afraid of coming to the attic. After about year the boy, in the midst of one of his conversations with the skeleton, just reached out and touched it.
When he touched its coarse bone, he startled himself because he felt how cold and hard the skeleton was. But what was even more startling was the fact that the skeleton started to speak back to the boy. The skeleton told the boy not to be afraid--and he thanked the boy for allowing him to talk by touching him.
"For two year," the skeleton said, "I have waited to speak, and your simple touch has unlocked my lips. Now, when you come back tomorrow we both can talk."
So, for a whole year the two of them would talk about life, and death. The boy would ask the skeleton what it was like to be treated so badly by people. He asked the skeleton why people were so afraid of him.
The skeleton said, "People are not comfortable talking to things that look strange, ugly, or remind them of painful things. People are scared of me because I remind them of death."
The boy however was very happy to have made a new friend with this skeleton and he thought, perhaps, if he put clothes on the skeleton it would feel better about it self.
So the boy brought up clothes to the attic and he picked the skeleton up off the floor--but when he embraced the skeleton with his arms the skeleton all of a sudden started to walk by himself.
The skeleton was so happy and said, "Oh, thank you so much for clothing me with your embrace. All I needed was your arms around me to give me strength. Now I can walk."
So, for another year the skeleton and the boy would walk around the attic, talk, and laugh. The boy grew to love the skeleton and the skeleton was very grateful to the boy for all the gifts of life he had given it. One day as they were hopping around the attic the skeleton tripped over a trunk that was in the center of the room. It fell over and landed very hard. Its legs were shattered and its skull was cracked--the skeleton was now unable to walk and almost unable to speak. The boy ran over to the skeleton and picked it up brought it over to the window sill and laid it out trying to make it comfortable.
The skeleton looked at the boy and said, "It looks like I will have to go back to being a mute and still skeleton again. But, before I go back I just want to thank you for all the gifts of life you have given me."
The boy started to cry and told the skeleton he didn't want him to die or stop being his friend. The boy told the skeleton that he loved him as a real person and then he leaned over and kissed the skeleton on the crack of the forehead. As soon as the boy's lips touched the skull, the skeleton turned into a fleshy person.
The boy couldn't believe his eyes and said, "You are a real person--now you'll be all right."
"No," said the skeleton, "I will soon be gone--I will disappear--but your love and kiss has given me, in my final minutes, the gift of being a real person. Thank you very much. When you leave here today, I will go away and you will never see me again--but you must remember this moment, so, when you meet other skeletons you will not be afraid to sit with them, talk with them, touch them, embrace them and kiss them. It is because of your love that you have been able to conquer your fear of skeletons and at the same time your love has given me the life of a real person--even though now I must depart from this world."
"Look at me now but remember me as I once was: a skeleton you found in the attic.
Reflection by Ken Willers
How do we embrace the 'skeleton that resides in the dark attic' of our reality? Life has a way of making us encounter this side of ourselves. Do we retreat or approach? Do we stand on guard or sit with patience? Do we discard what is found or do we learn from its truth? Do we reject out of shame or do we find meaning in our acceptance?