There Was Once a Girl…
There was once a girl with a huge imagination. She can summon fairies, dragons, and other mythical creatures at will. She played with the dwarves while singing with the fairies. She rode on the back of dragons. She danced with the nymphs and even played and fought with creatures from other worlds. She can talk to her guardian angel. She can travel to different dimensions. She can shoot fire and ice from her finger tips. So, though this girl was often left alone without anyone to play with, she was happy. As happy as anyone can be with her imagination.
When she was too young to go to school, she would often “borrow” her brothers’ school books when they were not looking. She loved the stories that the pictures showed. She was fascinated with the adventures that she saw that were illustrated on those stacks of paper. She knew that there was more to it than the pictures though, and that she had to know the whole adventure. She saw the letters underneath the pictures, and that those were the key to depicting the ending of the stories.
She heard her brothers read. She saw the letters being sung by other kids on TV. Saw how the children on TV combined the letters to make a sound, a word, that would help her break the code to the stories on the books, heck, even on the comic books that were delivered every weekend. Comic books that she could not get her hands on because she could not read.
One particular weekend, she insisted on getting to the comic book first, when one of her brothers took it. She, being strong willed and maybe more than a little bratty, demanded that she should get her turn first. Her brother told her that she could have her turn if she could read the single line that he was pointing to. She gave the comic book up. But she was smiling inside. She understood the line that her brother was pointing at.
She found out that she could read.
From then on, she was hooked on reading. She always found time to read. A whole new world of adventure opened up for her. She would read anything she could get her hands on. She joined the school adventures of a pair of blonde twins. She felt like one of the members of a group of young baby sitters. She was scared out of her wits at the horrors and twisted tales of a puppet and a clown, and the creepy stories from a scary street. She knew all the spells and incantations, and seriously felt that she belonged on one of the houses of a magical school.
She solved mysteries with a red-headed girl. She read love stories of different characters. Some ended happily, some did not. She cried with Ollie when Jen died. She was part of a sand storm and followed a young shepherd’s journey to seek the fabled alchemist.
She laughed and cried at the adventures of a boy from Zephyr, Alabama who narrated his life story. She learned the importance and application of numbers, and the principles of certain things, what makes something work, how to fix broken things. She learned that everything changes. You grow up, and the things that you were used to, as a child, may not be there anymore.
And she also learned, that one day, eventually, you do have to become an adult.
She was baffled by this adulting thing. There is no instruction manual on how to become an adult. Nothing could have prepared her for the events that unfolded towards adulthood. She can still retreat to her made up world, but she cannot stay long. There are bills to pay, and children to take care of. There are tasks to be done, and a job to attend to. There are everyday chores and errands, and there are issues and problems that had to be sorted out. There are decisions to be made that may or may not affect the future.
She wanted to do a lot of things, and yet she also wanted to do nothing. She met a lot of great people, but she also encountered the opposite. Some stayed, some just passed by. Some made her happy. Some hurt her. Some gave her very valuable lessons in life. She discovered that there were things, events, and even people, that are much, much scarier than the grotesque creatures that she read about. That there was no magical spell that you can search for that will make the bad things in your head go away.
But still, there are a lot of things she grasped that she did not learn from books. She learned to be patient. To be understanding. To be compassionate and kind. To help others. Unfortunately, not everyone learned the same lessons.
And there was this dark, dark, creature living inside her.
This creature picked her mind when it wanders. It pushed unpleasant memories in her head. It was so good at what it does, that she can feel tears burning at the back of her eyes when this creature triggers a memory. Even when she was happy, this vile creature can make her sad or angry. Not at anyone else. Only at herself.
Outside, she is a rock. A mentor. An adviser. People look at her and they see someone strong-willed. Someone that cannot be shaken. She can be found at the center of a conversation or telling a funny tale to make others laugh. She can take and give a slew of unpleasant words and remain unrattled. She helps others.
But she cannot help herself.
When she comes home, and the lights go out, no one sees that she curls into a ball and cries. No one can feel the hurt, and the suffering that she relieves. She has been hurt, yes. But she has hurt others too. And because she has hurt others, deep inside, she feels that she does not deserve to be happy. That she has to sacrifice herself to make others comfortable. The dark, vile, creature inside her never lets her forget that. And there is no escape. Even if she closes her eyes, she can hear the nagging voice telling her that she deserves to be unhappy. And then, she remembers the adventures she had when she was a child. She remembers the fairies, the nymphs, and the dragons. She remembers them fondly. But she knows that they cannot help her now. The vile creature’s pull is too strong, too real for her to just ignore it. This creature drains her slowly, but surely, into a murky corner on her mind. It makes her want to retreat. It makes her want to give up. It teases her with the feeling of hopelessness and pointlessness. It makes her feel empty. So empty, that she feels alone even when she is surrounded by a lot of people.
The creature’s pull gets stronger as the days pass by. She goes through the notions. She talks when needed, she answers when she gets asked a question. She can feel the creature is getting more adamant in winning her over. And she knows that it is succeeding. Slowly but surely. It is succeeding.
She wakes up and feels that everything is sad and pointless. She focuses on the negative. She feels like a prisoner, but she is too tired to fight for her freedom. No one can rescue her. No one can save her. Because she tells no one. And she does not want anyone to help her. But she knows that it is real. Because she can feel it inside. The creature is now a constant presence in her life. She sometimes wonders how this has happened to her. How she ended up like this. She was a happy child. And she never thought that she would be in a situation like this.
The vile creature eats up everything that is pleasant in her mind. It corrupted the happy thoughts that she always seemed to have before. She was so frustrated, lonely, and desolate. She was getting tired. She figured out a way to escape. She just needed a plan on how to do it.
She came up with an easy enough idea. She wanted the plan to be fast and painless. She bought what she needed, and set up to do what she felt she needed to do.
No one was home. She locked the door for the last time. Had a long look at her surroundings and opened the bottle. Because it was so eerily quiet, the sound of the metal cap hitting the floor startled her. It made her stop what she was about to do.
It fell beside a brown book. A book that she recognized from so long ago. You see, she read a lot of books, but she seldom took the time to read this book. It was dusty and worn out. She wondered why it looked so worn out, when she almost never used it. She set the bottle on the floor, sat down and picked the book up. She traced her fingers over the gold cross printed on the soft leather. She opened a random page.
And immediately, she was again transported. She was taken to a place where a crowd was shouting angrily for a Man to be crucified. She felt that Man’s sadness and pain. She saw his lash marks, the crown of thorns. The fabric that was mockingly draped over Him. The bloodied face. The wounds and gash marks.
She followed the crowd that was following the Man who was carrying a heavy cross. Who stumbled three times because of the weight that was given to Him. Even though He did nothing wrong. She watched as the Man was crucified. Watched as he was mocked by the people who were saying that if He really was who He was saying He is, He should be able to rescue himself.
He seemed to look right at her when she heard Him say “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.”
She watched helplessly as the Man’s mother approached his feet. She felt His Mother’s pain while seeing her child like this. And she immediately remembered her mother. Her father. Her own family. She felt what they would have felt had she done what she was planning on doing. She was so ashamed and scared. She immediately regretted what she was trying to do. She felt her tears fall from her eyes effortlessly. She feels the pain, the pain of seeing someone you love to suffer and the unbearable agony of losing someone you love. Of someone you held in your arms. And she knows that what ever happens, she can never ever let her parents or her family experience that type of pain from her.
She continued to read the book and she was reminded of the ultimate sacrifice that was done just so everyone can be saved. She read that even though she felt worthless, hopeless, and helpless, God loves her. He loved her so much that he sent His Son to save her.
She got up, dusted her pants and took the bottle again. She threw the contents down the drain. And as she watched the remnants of the dark liquid, she wondered why, of all the books that she read, she never really gave made time to read the Bible.
It has been a long time since she talked to God. But she remembered that when she was younger. She used to talk to God every day. And though life was not always breezy, talking to God made things better. She knew that God was in charge. He provides, and problems were solved. She can think clearly. Yes, she did feel sad and angry at times, but she never felt depressed. Because she knew that God was always there. God loves her. All she had to do was to open her eyes to see that.
She felt so ashamed and guilty. But she now remembers that God forgives and restores. She fell to her knees and closed her eyes. Tears now streaming down her face, she asked for forgiveness. She asked for a change of heart. She knows that no one can save her but God. She asked to be led to the right direction. She cast all her worries and troubles to God.
She got up and she felt lighter. She now knows that she can defeat the dark, vile creature that is living inside her because God is at her side. She knows that there are others who feels this way and she knows that the Lord has given her the gift to help others in need.
In her own way, she knows that she will make a difference. She sits down on her desk, opens her laptop, and she begins to write “There was once a girl…”