“If you want to govern the people, You must place yourself below them. If you want to lead people, You must learn how to follow them.”

― Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

Eden stepped out from behind the wall. He glanced around him, ensuring the guards had not followed. He reached down and instead of brushing dust from his clothes, he patted it in. He hadn’t climbed walls since his childhood, today he’d climbed three. Instead of shaving and grooming, yesterday he’d told the servants he felt unwell and that they were to just leave him to rest, today the two-day-old stubble would hopefully be just enough to give him the disguise he needed.

The market stall holders were busily setting up their trade for the day, some still holding lanterns in the gloom of the early morning light. He walked on past them all, ducking his head whenever he felt someone was staring at him a little too long. He made his way to the docks and sat on the dockside watching the fisherman load their boats ready for the day. He’d always loved the water, but it was rare he was allowed to set foot near water these days. Too much of a risk. Maybe it would change when he married and had an heir, but what a heavy burden to put on a son, he should know.

A bell began to toll loudly, breaking his chain of thoughts. The people began to move and after a moment or two he followed, trying to blend in. The bodies heaved together in the narrow streets, eventually arriving at the temple. He found himself standing at the back with the other men, pretending to be one of them. There were not enough seats for everyone. He’d never noticed this before. His family had a special place they were led to each time they entered. The men around him lowered their heads and mumbled along with the prayers. When the time came for each of them to say their own prayers, they whispered of hopes for their families; food, shelter, medicine and health. Lastly, they whispered for the Monarch, thanking God for his presence in their lives and praying for his continued good health. As he heard the words of the whispers drift towards him, his eyes filled with tears.

As he made his way back to the gates, he felt a wave of understanding fill his heart, and his sense of purpose renewed. His role was to be a servant to his people and he would never forget it.

If you want to govern the people, You must place yourself below them. If you want to lead people, You must learn how to follow them

Originally written in response to:

I’ve not done one of these combos for a while. The story was written SOC style.

Much Love.



20 thoughts on “Purpose…

  1. This is a lovely use of the word below, KL. How few leaders follow this example. Your story reminded me how much people in public life actually suffer. Their loneliness must be an overwhelming prison from time to time. It must be especially hard for those who have to assume or even learn leadership at a very young age.

    1. Thank you very much, Marsha. How very true, whilst it does have benefits, there are certainly some drawbacks, particularly around freedoms, that I think most would really struggle with. KL ❤

      1. I know they struggle with them too, and your story is the perfect example. It is so real it could be true.

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