A Story of Healing and Recovery
When I was a small child I leisurely walked down a bright path that was full of beauty and wonder. I’ve always imagined that I was like little red riding hood. I was on my way….somewhere with no thoughts that there could be a big bad wolf at the end of the path. I would stop and watch an ant carry a crumb down the sidewalk and be amazed at how small the ant was and the hugeness of the crumb. I would stand on the curb of the sidewalk after a rain and watch the water rush down the street. Sometimes I would make a boat out of a piece of board and run with it as it floated down the street. I got a bright red bike when I was 10 years old that gave me wings! I road it to school and back, to my friend’s house and to church at times. At 10 I was allowed to play late into the night on summer days. I was free and loved my journey to “grandma’s house”. That bright path was full of amazement, wonder, and learning. It was a path of learning about the simple things that life can bring us. I learned about the basics of who God was and it all seemed so simple.
When I turned 14 years old, I was forced on the path called duty. My little red riding hood inspiration would begin to dim. Living life was about what others thought of me, feeling less-than, …ugly, stupid and uncertain. There wasn’t time to watch the rain or the ants; or put on my red cape and meander down the bright path, I had a sense now of danger. It was a time of learning about people and the disappointment of life. It was a time of learning about duty, judgment and confusion. My adult caretakers consisted of the modeling of the judgment of God and the duties of church. My life path was filled with learning about people’s demand of me and using me for practical purposes, not what I was longing for…..someone to love me just for who I was. My basket, full of duty, was getting heavy to carry. I learned to not use my voice because there was an aftermath of lectures and trouble. I learned that men didn’t care for you like in the novels I read. My bright path was dimmed by a call to duty and propriety. My amazement and wonder turned to shock and confusion.
At age 17 I took the path called know-it-all. That was a very critical path. I left the path of duty that I felt forced to take and I put in my basket egocentricity. There wasn’t much at this juncture, I could be taught….after all, I knew all the Bible verses and I knew right from wrong and I most certainly knew that I had found the man I must marry…… do I need to say it again…I knew the scripture taught that you married the one that you ‘gave your self to’. I had this thing of life all figured out. It really wasn’t about being happy it was about being RIGHT. I knew for sure that once I got out of school and got married everything would be so much better!
The next path I chose was down to the valley of shame and sorrow (though when I chose it I thought I would be back on the bright path). Marriage was not what I had thought. It was full of doubt, shame, unhappiness and pain. I did begin, on this path, to look for God. I needed more than to just be RIGHT, I needed something to hold on to. I tried to give the love I thought God wanted me to give. I would hand my heart to the big bad wolf (who deceived me because I didn’t see his big teeth) to show him love and trust. I thought I could hold on to him but, he would take it, stomp on it, almost break it in half and hand it back to me. Being that there was enough little red riding hood still in me, I did this dance of giving my heart to the big bad wolf many times and received it back completely damaged. So…..I did the only thing left to do, I turned it into a heart of stone. I put it on my basket and I guarded it with every thing I had. I traded my cape in for armor and I trudged on down the path of shame and confusion. This path however taught me much more than all the other paths I had chosen. In order to walk this path I had to grow and become more alert. I wanted to get beyond this path because it was sucking the life out of me. My heart was as desolate and hard. It could only feel anger and resentment, but yet there was a familiarity about it so I stayed on this dark path. I felt stuck on the path and couldn’t see my way (it was very dark) to turn on the next path until God showed up and told he that HE would give me my heart of flesh. HE would value my heart and love me for who I was and not use me. I began to become aware of the things around me on the path again. I began to develop a new sense of amazement. I could see dimly in the dark now. God began to open my eyes though the process of getting off the path of shame and confusion was slow. It was his promise to heal my heart and make it like the bright path I once knew that keep me moving forward. I learned more from this path than any other path that I was on yet it was the path with had the most sorrow and fear. I took pictures of this path because I didn’t want to forget the wisdom that was severely acquired. I learned later that the pictures would be valuable to having faith when sorrow would pop back up. The most interesting part of the path was the pull offs and overlooks. As I begin to pull over and look at different part of the path closer, I found that the only way to soften the heart of stone was great pain. At the overlooks I could see this bridge that looked very scary. I sometimes took a gloomy path that was a very rocky and dirty. I remember being very much afraid on these little side roads, but each time I got back on the main path of healing, my faith in God and my wisdom had increased. My basket that I had carried all through my journey now had wisdom, empathy, love, eyes to see, and hears to hear. It was a lighter basket to carry.
I did at some point (though I don’t quite remember the intersection) turn to the right. When I made this turn I found the path of sagacity and love. Sagacity means wise, adviser, perceptive and sensitive. Now I don’t pretend that this road is perfect or an easy hike, but this path is an adventure that is unlike the bright path because the sights on it aren’t about innocence or inexperience. This path is about reality and again having a sense of wonder and amazement, but now based upon a complex and extraordinary God. Where I am walking now is with the huntsman who protects me and takes care of me and is teaching me all the mysteries of human love. Along with learning about human love, the real mystery is that it’s also a very amazing picture of God’s love. The huntsman is not perfect but is a great gift the “grandmother” gave me. Grandmother, I discovered, was God and his unconditional love. He heard my fears, my confusion, and my pain. I did my part on the journey and yes it was work … but it was a great work of heart. I would again, walk on the path of shame and sorrow for it is that bridge I saw that must be taken to get to the path of sage and love. Much of the beauty of Sage and Love path is the scars that give the authority to help others steer to the right. The sense of wonder and amazement come every time I get to take things out of my basket and give it to another journeyman. When I watch them take the eyes-to-see and the ears-to-hear, they too begin to go over the frightening bridge to get to the great path of Sage and Love. It’s a severe route that must be taken to get a heart of flesh and the basket full of amazement and wonder! This story is about the romance of life, but with new eyes to see now that are not only, spiritual, but looking for the adventure of life with eyes wide open. “You are my servant, Red Riding Hood, in whom I will display my splendor”. Love God.