The Cleansing of the Multitudes (A Parable)

And it came to pass, that the Teacher had been giving instruction for about 2 hours when some of her apprentices came up to her and said, “Teacher, the people have come to us and said that they need a potty break. But they do not have any tissue or hand sanitizer. What should we do?”

Without hesitation, the Teacher replied, “Why did you come to me with this concern? Isn’t the answer obvious? Give them tissue and hand sanitizer from our supply.”

To which the apprentice countered, “But Teacher, we ourselves, only have 7 rolls of toilet paper and 7 bottles of sanitizer to divide among the thirteen of us for the next 30 days. And the people number in the thousands. How then can we give of our supply and not leave some without a means to cleanse themselves?”

“Oh ye of little faith,” cried the Teacher. Have you been with me this long and not yet seen that I know the heart of humanity? There will be enough. There is always enough when you have the eyes to see.”

Hearing this, another apprentice chimed in. “Teacher, I want to believe. Help me to see as you see. I know that we have Megarolls with 1000 sheets per roll. If each person were given one square each with which to clean themselves there still would not be enough. And even if it was enough, there is still the issue of washing their hands. How then with only seven bottles of sanitizer, can we sufficiently clean the hands of so many people?”

Frustrated, the Teacher asks out loud, “Oh how much longer must I bear with you all? Since we started on this journey have you ever lacked any true need? When you were hungry were you not fed? When you were thirsty, did you not receive drink? When you went to the porta-potties at these gatherings was there not tissue and hand sanitizer to meet your needs and more? So why now do you doubt? Fear not. There will be more tissue than you can imagine and every hand will be clean?”

And so, remembering the truth of her statements, all of the apprentices were filled with hope and asked how they should distribute the tissue and hand sanitizer.

And these were the Teacher’s instructions: 

  • Make 7 lines in front of 7 porta-potties with 1000 people in each line each standing 6 feet apart.
  • In each stall place one bottle of hand sanitizer.
  • Place an apprentice in front of each stall with one roll of tissue.
  • When it is someone’s turn to use the facilities, says these words, “Take only what you need and save the rest for your neighbor.”

And so it came to pass that on the next day, after everyone who had to use the potties had done so and returned to their homes, the Teacher asked the apprentices to gather all of the tissue and hand sanitizer that remained. To their astonishment, not only were the 7 original rolls not even missing a single sheet and the 7 original bottles of hand sanitizer completely full, in the stalls it seemed that a miracle had occurred. For there were more rolls of tissue and hand sanitizer in each stall. So much so that the Teacher and her apprentices did not have the hands to carry more than the 7 original rolls and 7 bottles that they came with.

Seeking an explanation for this miraculous turn of events, an apprentice, who happened to be a former quantum physicist asked of the Teacher, “Master, how did you do this? Is even the primordial substance of the Universe at your command that you were able to will the very air molecules to reconstitute themselves into the image you impressed upon them until the toilet tissue and hand sanitizer that were not became the tissue and sanitizer that you caused them to be.

“What a brilliant answer,” affirmed the Teacher. But no, I don’t have those abilities. However, I do know people. And I doubted anyone would walk way out to this venue without their own supply of tissue and sanitizer as it is well known in the land that these porta-potties are often empty of these items. After all, is that not what we did? Therefore, I imagined then–and apparently I was right–that everyone had their own supply but didn’t want to risk the chance of running out on the way home by sharing with others.

Believing that, though some of us may be greedy, we are still open at heart, I trusted that if we gave them a good example and trusted them not to overuse, they would rise to the occasion and use of their own supply. And perhaps, if they had extra they might leave some behind. And that’s exactly what they did. Hallelujah. And for this I’m grateful. As we all should be. To see a change of heart is the greatest miracle. So while it would be amazing to turn air into toilet tissue, I will stick to turning hearts toward loving their neighbors as themselves as my teacher taught me to do.”

Almost all of the apprentices agreed and praised their Teacher’s wisdom. And the Teacher couldn’t be more proud, even if she could see into the heart of one apprentice who was calculating how much money they could make if they sold all of the extra tissue and sanitizer at a markup.

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