There was once a people who lived happily at an oasis in the desert. There was plenty of food and water and the people were full of love for each other.
But one day a curse fell upon this tribe. It came with the wind which whispered in an ear here and an ear there a simple message : “You’re not good enough.”
No-one told anyone else about the voice that they heard. And each privately argued back against it. The more they fought this inner battle the less attention they had for each other, and so gradually the warmth of their love grew cold.
There seemed no local answer to their growing problem. And so, one by one, they were driven out into the desert in search of an answer. They were driven as a slave is driven with the crack of a whip across their back. And the name of that whip was You Are Not Good Enough.
Some lingered at the oasis, some set up camp at various distances from it, but those most cursed walked far out into the desert. Thirst, hunger and the blazing heat of the sun took their toll. Some grew weak, some went mad and some thrived by killing and stealing water and food.
Horror stories of life in the desert filtered back to the people at the oasis from those who had set up their tents along the way. Some of the tent dwellers would return to the oasis to replenish their supplies of food and water, but the further the tents were from the oasis, the shorter they would be of such supplies. So news would come often from the tents close by, but only occasionally would they hear from the outlying communities, and the stories were blood-curdling.
“We must help them,” the people of the oasis cried. So they gathered together supplies of food and water and maps of how to get back to the oasis. And they set out on an expedition to help those who needed these things the most.
But when they arrived at their destination, the desert dwellers – crazed by hunger and thirst and the blazing heat of the sun and embattled by constant fighting with each other – turned on their would be rescuers and killed and ate them.
“That didn’t go so well,” said those left at the oasis, when the news was relayed back to them by tent dwellers coming in for supplies. Then an idea occurred to one of them. “Why don’t some of you guys move back here. We can help you take out more supplies to those of you who decide to stay where you are. And then we can work together to get more supplies to the next lot of tents and maybe some of them would like to come back and help to get a steadier supply of food and water to those further out.
One day a man, not much more than a living skeleton, caked with blood, crawled up to an outlying tent. His plan was to steal some food and water, but he didn’t have the energy to do more than collapse. Hands reached out and picked him up and carried him into the shade. Cool water met his lips. The next day, when he opened his eyes, he knew that he must still be out in the heat of the sun, hallucinating as usual. Around him was a crowd of people, laughing and joking as they put up new tents and unpacked supplies. All of them were wearing garments emblazoned with the message “Everyone Is Good Enough”.
When his strength was restored, the desert dweller headed back out from whence he had come. He was carrying a message.
“It must have been a mirage,” they told him. But they couldn’t explain his state of health.
“They have enough food and water for us all,” he insisted. “And they can lead us back to the oasis.”
Some were willing to give him the benefit of the doubt and came to the tent city. Others died in the desert. But soon the people of the oasis were as one once more and preparing a united effort to find more sources of food and water.