Thursday, May 23, 2013

Lifting Back the Veil

It may have scurried over and found her on the dusty playground during recess in a moment of Lonely.  Or perhaps PE when she first felt Discouraged by the way she played the ballgame.  It could've been during math class when she allowed Defeated to take over while struggling with a fractions problem.  Whenever it happened, it circled her, found her to be at a low point, grasped onto a chink, got a foothold, and climbed onto her back, and began to grow in strength as it whispered ugliness into her ear.  What a burden she struggled to carry around all day.

I may have seen the shadow of that gloomy beast when she came home from school sulky and tired.  But I wasn't paying full attention.  We talked, she snacked, and then it was up to her room to mope about in moodiness.  As a mother I should know better.  I should take time to check her out when she arrives home.  I should pay complete attention and put down whatever is obstructing my insight, stop listening to whatever is disrupting truth.  I need to use the mother's heart I have been honing and use it to see what might be clinging to her. But we're entering brand new territory, she and I, and some days I'm completely complacent.  This morning I'm armed and ready.  But it took all of yesterday for me to become aware that a tough thug of a devilish minion had arrived into my home on my daughter's back, all slimey, hideous and conniving.

She was mopey and a little bit down yesterday, which comes and goes with 5th graders.  The last two weeks of comfortable elementary school is closing in on her, closing in on her classmates.  More and more I hear the news: someone got a new one of those, someone said this to a classmate, someone did this easily and differently, someone is so much smarter, someone sparkles just a little prettier.  And no matter how I've handled her shared thoughts, no matter what my motherly answers, there seemed to be no relief in sight.  I should've smelled the stench of rotten breath as it whispered in her ear.  I should have seen the dirty claws as it dug in tightly around her neck.  The scaley pointed tail as it wrapped around her waist.  But I missed it all.  I let it go and she spent time alone in her room with that evil creature whispering negative ugliness to her.

Last night I finally saw it.  With lights out after prayers, in the dark while I kneeled on the floor tucking a soft sheet corner in around her, she said, "I hate freckles and I hate my frizzy hair. I wish I looked different."  And I saw the trickle of a tear sparkle and slide across her nose as it dripped onto her pillow.  And suddenly, that ugly creature clinging to her was no longer hidden.  With a slant of moonlight shining across it, I could see that beastie scrunched up clinging to her neck, whispering in her ear, squeezing all the joy it could from her.  And the only battle you can do with these little demons is make your child aware that when we lift back the spiritual veil, these beasties are plain to see, and waging warrior-like warfare against is as simple as using one loving word at a time to defeat them. 

I asked her to use all of her senses to think up the ugliest imaginary creature she could muster.  I knew that frustrated her hanger-on to no end, and at first she remained silent.  That creature whispered in her ear and squirmed to squeeze tighter.  Ignoring it, I told her I had an inkling, but if she could describe a thug-of-ugliness to me, it would be amazing.  And slowly as I coaxed her along, it released it's claw from her mouth, and she told me just how terrible it looked, how it stunk, how it whispered, and how awfully heavy it felt.  Her description matched the evil creature clinging to her and I noticed a glint of fear in its eyes as it hissed and glared at me dripping hatred with catlike eyes.  I explained to her that as powerfully pure and beautiful as God's angels are, Satan's minions are just exactly the opposite, though they are just as powerful if we allow them to be.  That's when I first noticed that the beastie had shrunk and deflated, just the tiniest bit. 

I watched as my words caused it to loosen it's grip while I explained that the devil sends them racing to us when we're at a low point because of the big chink in our not-so-healthy self-esteem or our hesitancy to do or say or feel a good thing.  That hairy nasty thing continued shriveling as I told her there's nothing that they desire more than discovering a chink because it's all they need to climb on our back and get a stranglehold.  And before you know it, they've whispered awful stuff right into our very ear.  Stuff that we begin to believe about ourselves and about others.  Stuff that has no basis in truth and that makes us sink right into Sadness, Fear, Doubt, Anger, Haughtiness, or Worry.  In fact, those are a few of their very names!

She listened intently as I told her that if we allow them to stay, they invite other evil critters to join them.  Disappointment, Just Plain Mean, and Snarky are all hoping to catch a ride, too.  And before you know it, you haven't just one little devil weighing you down, you've accumulated a dozen or more.  They come in all sizes and shapes, and they can  grow to enormous proportions in all forms of hideous and slippery.  They're hanging off our arms, dragging us down by the ankles.  We might have them draped around our neck, or wrapped heavily like an itchy cloak around us.  Some are riding high on our head wrapped tightly like a turban while holding claws over our ears to shut out anything that sounds like Goodness, Love, or Compassion.  Some might even appear to sparkle and shine like jewelry dangling from our finger or wrist -- but soon enough we learn how terribly we've been fooled.  All that glitters is not beautiful nor heaven sent.  That devil delights in glistening and glinting with gloom, twisting ugly just so, until it appears pretty or helpful or nice.  (By this time, her little devil was shrunken small and sickly, it's whispers barely audible in her ear.)  It shrunk more quickly now because the power of a mother's love for her child is no match for the devil.

When I asked her if it was OK for this beastly hitchhiker to hang on and demand that she lug him around, and burden her with a free ride everywhere she went, she giggled.  When I impressed upon her heart that she was made in the image of God, that He created her exactly perfect for the plans He has made for her, that He doesn't create ugly, that He doesn't craft junk, another tear slid down her face.  Would a loving Father do that to his precious daughter?  I reminded her that she was the only girl in the world like her. In any era, in any land, not a single girl like her.  Ever.  Imagine that!  There is no other, and never will be another, exactly like her. 

I reminded her that He dotted her gently with every freckle on her nose.  He wove the most gorgeous waves into a glorious shade of brown and spun it with golden highlights like no other head of hair on earth.  He exhuberantly experimented with speckles of green flecks on a velvet shade of brown to create a landscape of intricate pupil.  Lashes just the right length.  A one of kind brain sending neurons flowing through preciously intricate synapses that formed at just the right speed for her to learn.  A strong pumping heart to live with and LOVE with.  A perfectly shaped body with a slight curve here and there, just for her.  Arms strong to hug and hands formed to share.  Long strong legs with muscles powered perfectly for her.  Even fingers and toes shaped like no other, tipped with amazingly intricate whorls.  And in a puff of the tiniest bit of smoke, that lizard of a devil who had once been large and filthy hanging onto my daughter for dear life, gulped with tiniest gutteral groan and disappeared.  She sat up in bed and sighed with a big smile.  I know what she was thinking, and I knew she couldn't put into words... What a relief to be rid of that ugly spirit!  

I told her that knowledge makes each of us powerful.  I also explained that unfortunately the little devil would be back to take another look for a chink.  It or another one would linger around, inspecting her, waiting for a moment to close in.  She frowned in the darkness when I told her that we're surrounded by what we choose.  If we choose Happy, if we choose Joy, if we choose to battle Envy, to ignore that Mean Spirit, we can keep the devil at bay, (and every powerful angel God has given command to watch over us will never leave us), no matter what.  Angels do battle first and foremost for us often sending them fleeing away before we never know it.  But when an ugly thought or feeling creeps in, we have to remain aware that it's caused by an awful hairy bug-eyed little demon clinging to our back.  And it's whispering all that ugliness in our ear. 

What's most important to remember, is that those little devils are easily dispersed by lovely words.  Positive self talk, and asking ourselves, "Is this Good?  Is this True?  Is this Lovely?  Is this Building Up?" are the simplest way to handle a little devil. That and your determination to shrink it, and to yank hard and toss it away.  Or maybe even watch it go up in a puff of smoke or remove it's evil grasp with a Smile, with a Laugh, with a Kind Thought.  Whisper Loving and Peaceful thoughts back to it and then deeply believe them yourself, and watch that little devil sizzle and shrink in seconds. 

This morning she got up and was getting ready for school like most mornings: light hearted and a little bit hurried.  Just before she left I noticed a frown and she mentioned frizzy hair, but I was prepared. Immediately I pointed out that I saw something small and scaly looking a bit like Despair sitting on her shoulder.  When I warned her, her eyes widened and she knew just what to do.  She knocked Despair off with a smile and a glance in the mirror to take a second look and lovingly look, not at frizzy hair, but at the golden strands that had slipped out and were curling loosely around her face from her ponytail.  I reminded her to keep her eyes and heart open at school.  Those nasty ugly devils can show up anywhere, but once we know how to battle them, we're fierce warriors forever.  And ever.  {{Amen.}}


MamaHogan said...

Oh Sherry! Beautifully heartbreaking...marvelous!

Anonymous said...

I'm weaping. So perfect and every word of it, the inspired truth. Capital "T" Truth.


Sherry Douglas Buser said...

Oh thank you. However we learn to guard ourselves and our children from the grasp of the devil is inspired by our Maker. That night in a moment of creative thought was all Him. It's not meant to be scary, but rather give feelings like Envy, or Sadness, or Doubt, or Just Plain Mean a brand new shape and form--and they are always the ugliest little creatures you can imagine! Once we picture them like that, it's easier to {{want}} to be rid of them. <3 sdb