Someone tells you about a wardrobe. Not an ordinary wardrobe, but a wardrobe that has the power to change everything. The power to save the world.
It takes you a long time to find it. You grow tired and weary of searching. Until one day you stumble across an overgrown cottage set deep in a lush river valley. You peel your way through moss and vine and enter through the front door but find it empty; dry leaves scattered across the floor and cobwebs in every corner. You are just about to leave when your eyes are drawn to a string hanging from the ceiling, connected to a small entrance above. You pull down the hatch to the attic and ascend the rickety wooden stairs.
You find lots of people there. People from all over the world and from all walks of life, all worshipping the wardrobe. People have drawn maps to it from every direction, and are bickering with one another over the most efficient routes. Stacks of papers with multiple sketches of the wardrobe lay out in front of them; each person’s imitation slightly different. Some say it has three hinges, while others four. Some say it is made of oak, others mahogany. Some have drawn it tall and slender while others have it drawn short and wide. A few people are bowed down in reverence in front of the wardrobe, while others gaze longingly at the object that gives them purpose.
Off to your left, you see an old man with a long grey beard sitting cross legged on the floor. His clothes are in tatters, his feet extremely dirty. Teetering piles of maps and sketches of the wardrobe lay in droves behind him. A handful of men gather around him as he recounts old legends and histories of the wardrobe. You take a seat in the back of the crowd, and listen for a while. He tells the crowd the story of his journey to the wardrobe long ago, and the many perils he withstood along the way. He shows them some of his most magnificent sketches of the wardrobe, and many who look upon them burst into tears. He lectures them on proper map making techniques so that if and when they leave this place, they might help others to find their way.
After sitting and listening for a long time, the question that has been eating away at you since you first arrived comes to your lips.
“Excuse me, good sir, may I ask you something?”
The old man stops and lifts his chin to peer over the crowd in search of the inquisitor. Those nearest you take a few steps back to give you space. He waves you forward and nods encouragingly, awaiting your question. You wipe your palms on your pants and clear your throat.
“Well, it’s just that, I was wondering… has anyone ever entered the wardrobe?”
The old man retreats a few paces with his hand on his chest. His eyebrows rise high upon his forehead for a moment before quickly returning to a deeply furrowed brow.
“Entered the wardrobe?! Of course not my dear boy. That would be far far too dangerous.”
“But all these maps and sketches. Tales of old pilgrimages. People gathered from all over the world. You are telling me that no one has ever looked inside?”
At this question, a hush falls over the entire room. All conversations cease. Everyone seems to freeze where they stand and stare directly at you as if waiting for something. Motes of dust float in slow motion across the sun beams coming in through the windows like stars in a far away galaxy.
You turn and look at the wardrobe. As you slowly approach it, everything else in the room seems to fade away. To you, the wardrobe looks about 8 feet tall and is just wide enough to wrap your arms around. You are no expert, but it looks to be made of a dark colored mango wood. The two main doors have ornately carved patterns across the front that lead your eye toward a small iron handle and keyhole positioned at the center. You reach for the handle, knowing deep in your gut that it will be unlocked. Sure enough when you pull, the doors open with ease.
A bright light shines from within, preventing you from seeing exactly what lies beyond the threshold. You pause for a moment, and look around. Hundreds of pairs of eyes bore into you, waiting to see what you will do next.
But for you the choice is easy. Your heart longs for those places that cannot be observed from afar, but must be experienced within. Places where no map can guide you, and no sketch can be drawn. You feel almost sad for those who will forever worship the wardrobe, but have not the courage to step inside and experience the gift that awaits them.
You step up onto the wooden frame, eyes straight ahead, and walk eagerly into the light.