Dear me…

There is a shameful secret that I have held for many years now, and it goes a little something like this: At one point in the bible, Jesus advised that we should “love others as we love ourselves.” To me, there had always been a sense that there could be no greater insult delivered upon another of God’s creatures. To me, this was a blasphemy beyond reproach.

This week, The Blogging Lounge tasked us with writing a letter to our younger selves. What follows is that which poured from my mind to mine…

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Hey.

Do me a favor, OK?

Look into the mirror.

Yeah, that one.

Now, look into the eyes you see in that reflection.

Go ahead, look deep in. Gaze deeper than you’d like, deeper than you’ve the strength to. Deep enough to see what truly lies behind.

See the being that resides within those eyes? He’s beautiful, right?

No?

Well, then I guess our little chat here is over.

OR…

Or, you can look again. And this time, you could try it with an honest and open mind.

See?

He is beautiful. He’s beautiful, and he is YOU.

Now, I’m going to tell you something. Something that you won’t believe. Something that almost sounds insulting on the surface – partially because it is. I’m going to tell you that you will spend a large portion of your life trying to avoid this Truth, relying instead upon the retarded opinion of those around you who’ll want to deny it themselves. Those few whom you seem hellbent on assigning a credence they simply never have earned, nor even now deserve.

In fact, I am going to go so far as to tell you that you will willingly seek out those who will greedily clip your wings, simply so that they (and you, to a certain extent) can deny you your flight, use you to their own ends, and then simply discard you as they would the bone of a fatted calf, after they’d sucked its marrow dry.

And you? Well, you’ll allow it happen of course – both professionally and personally – you’ll almost hand select, and give your unwavering allegiance to, those best poised to fulfill your erroneous prophecy of self-defeat. And you’ll do so simply because flight is scary.

Because beauty is scary.

Because Truth…

Well, you get the point, I’m sure.

Hey. Do me a favor, OK?

Please, don’t let your Beauty scare you.

Don’t let Truth – your unique Truth – scare you.

Please, don’t allow your fear to corner you into simply accepting What Is, instead of What Could Be.

Take flight. Don’t stay grounded merely for “safety’s” sake, for another’s sake.

I’ll tell you something else. You will realize your dream of being a father, of being a dad.

And even though certain wing-clippers – those untrustables whom you did anyway – will try to steal even that Joy from you, your Apples will need you to be a strong tree. A tree that truly loves itself as it does others.

So look into the mirror again.

As long as you can look into the eyes reflected there and acknowledge the Beauty that truly resonates within, then those cherished Apples of yours, along with the others you love – they who already see your Truth, and love you in return – and even you yourself will come to find the perfect space.

I promise.

I promise, and I look forward to meeting you there one day, high above the fray.

Love,

t

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Lose This Skin.

Admittedly, Eustace was a prig.

But of all of the Narnia characters, he is my favorite. And not simply because he’s allowed me the opportunity to finally use the word “prig” in a post either.

No, of all the characters, Eustace is my favorite because he was transformed. And unlike Edmund, he did so without even the promise of a greater good to come in the process. There was no talk of a future crown or a greater glory for Eustace, but he saw the need, and transformed anyway.

He did so shortly after his old ways had turned him rather abruptly into a dragon.

Assuming you haven’t read the tale (and if not, you really should), Eustace found some dragon’s loot, and in stealing a piece, he in turn became a fire breather himself when he placed it upon his wrist. His new dragon arm was much thicker than the previous boyish version, and as a result the bewitched gold could not be removed. He was stuck. Forevermore to be cursed – and alone – with his new dragon persona. As so often happens in the Narnia tales, Aslan came along and – after a bit of earnest and deserved begging from Eustace – saved him by stripping all the dragon flesh from the boy. But only after first commanding the boy to do so himself several times instead (a task that the boy tries and ultimately fails at, in each and every instance).

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Of all seven of the books in the Narnian Chronicles, this is the singular scene that spoke to me the most. So much so in fact, that several years ago I found myself beginning to pray that I too might have the good pleasure of having my scales removed. You see, I knew that who I was, wasn’t who I was. And I knew that there was something greater within – something more true, more inline with the creation that He envisioned when first He crafted me. Of course, much like the book, I imagined that there would be a moment of pain, a tear of the flesh causing a tear to the eye, and then I would be provided with great big (((Jesus hugs))) before bounding merrily upon my new and improved way.

None of that happened though.

What did happen was this. First I buried my father. And then my brother’s marriage. And then I heard that I would have to do the same with my marriage as well. And then the children, The Little Things, who were in our protection had to be removed from my care as a result. And then I lost daily contact with my own children, as they stayed with their mother while I moved out. And then (and this is no small matter to people who care) my cat died. And then, in early December, I found myself restructured rather abruptly (the 3rd, at 11:02 AM, to be precise) into the world of unemployment. And finally, that resulted in me losing my car, my family health insurance coverage and my financial security. Never mind any falsetto self-worth I had foolishly built up along the way based upon these superficial achievements.  And that is where I am now.

And it dawns on me… All the scales have been removed.

All the dragon flesh has been stripped from me. I am raw, in tears, naked and pink. I received what I prayed for, I just never realized the immensity of what it was that I wished. I am sore, and scared, and at times feeling (though I know it’s not true) terribly alone. And although there have oft been times when I simply felt the urge to go to Sleep, I am filled with the promise of a wholly new being emerging. One who will be loved by those who love without condition or expectation. Finally, and for the first time in 44 years, a “me” that is one of my own making instead of others begs to come forth. A “me” that will hopefully come closer to fulfilling the beauty of the creation that He envisioned when first He crafted me.

Who Am I?

I’ve no idea.

But just between you, me and all these discarded, hard shorn and useless scales, I simply can not wait to finally find out.

•••

This post was created in response to my Life as it stands, and to the prompt provided us by the beautiful people over at The Blogging Lounge.