Friday, December 23, 2011

More tales for the journey: Hiding in the Light (Awakening from pain)

I stood still in that place where they were, and it was dark.  I was afraid to move.  I heard voices and they seemed to be talking to me, but I could not be sure, so I smiled, just in case.  I wondered what they looked like and what they felt inside and I tried talking to them about that.  When I spoke to them about their dreams and thoughts they came close and spoke to me.  Then it did not seem so alone there in that place.

Fencing 3 Clip ArtThen the fencing match began, and I was afraid. I did not know the rules, and I could not see where my opponent was, with her sharp rapier, which so often found its mark.  I darted about at quickly as I could, and I learned to see in the dark by guesswork, which threw some light upon what was happening.  I turned away and hid out of sight and out of the way of the sharp rapier that could sting but never killed, that humiliated but never drew blood.

I stayed a long time in hiding, for the rapier was silent and deadly and ay in wait for me to emerge.  If I did, there it would be once more with its deadly steel and the silent masked face behind it,  and the tough vest that admitted no hurt.

And then another opponent whose name was Death took her away, leaving only the memories and the dreams I had made in my own silent space.  I still found my way about by guesswork, and made my own torches to light the way, woven from my hair and spittle, until my mouth was dry and my hair was thin and my scalp was a weeping sore.

It was so lonely and silent there that I looked for others who shared the place with me, and I heard their voices speaking to each other.  I spoke to them about their thoughts and dreams and they spoke to me, and it was less lonely then.  They spoke to me about another place where it was not dark and they did not have to use their hair and spittle to make torches, for the light shone always.  I wanted to be in that place, and I tried to find out how I could get there, but no one showed me the way.  They seemed to think that I did not need showing, that I should know.

I became very ashamed of not knowing, for that made me feel stupid and unworthy.  Other people  seemed so confident and sure of themselves, moving about with ease, not needing to guess where they were but somehow knowing.  This puzzled me and I did not understand.  Then one day there was someone who saw me, and he said so.  He said he saw a person there and it seemed to be me.  I was amazed, for how could he know I was there, in the dark?  I couldn’t see him, so how could he see me?  I could only see what I could work out from what he told me, his tone of voice and how he made me feel.

Surely he could only see what he imagined me to be - and I wasn’t sure he was all that accurate in his guessing, for he didn’t seem to guess that much.  He seemed to stumble about in the dark and hold on tight to anything he fell over, and he fell over me several times and often bruised me in the process.

Then there was another person who agreed to be my friend and help me explore the place where I lived and learn more about it.  I hoped that she would guide me, but she always waited for me to find the way and she would follow.  This made me afraid at first but soon I learned to guess what she wanted and went the way she seemed to like best.

After a long time I realised that we had been going round in circles, and we were not far from the place where we had began our journey.  I became angry with her for being such a poor guide, and I floundered for a long time, unable to see where to go or what to do.

We met many times by agreement, until it seemed to me that somehow she could truly see me there in the dark, but I did not understand how.  I longed for her to prove to me that I could be seen and heard.  I dared to ask her to reach out and touch me, so I could know she had really seen me.  She refused to touch me.  I was even more afraid, and asked her more and more urgently: “Touch me!  Please touch me! Then I can know where I am and where you are and feel safe here in the dark. Then I will have someone to hold on to.”

Still she refused to touch me.  I wept and wailed; I sulked and I shouted that she was wicked to refuse me this simple thing - just to bother to reach out for me, to show she cared about me!  Still she waited for me to do something, but she never said what.  I reflected upon the life-long fencing match and realised that every time that rapier had come towards me I had ducked out of sight,  I had never allowed it to touch me:- to be touched was very dangerous!

I felt around my chest and discovered that although my opponent was dead, I still wore the thick vest to protect me from her rapier.  I also saw that I still carried my own rapier in my hand.  When I touched someone I did so gently to find them in the dark.  But what if they had no vest to protect them from this rapier of mine?

How many people had I wounded with my rapier in my efforts to find my way and find them?  I felt deeply ashamed and sorry.  I wept and cried out with remorse.  I threw my rapier to the ground and tore off my vest and flung that aside into the dark where I would never see it again. I touched my own raw skin beneath the vest and knew that I was sore and bleeding under the vest.

I had never felt such pain before.  The wounds had been hidden for so long that they had festered and wept. They had stuck to the inside of the vest so that in tearing it off I had torn away my own skin.  I felt the wound that I had inflicted upon myself and felt sorry that I had not taken care of my skin and allowed it to heal.

How I needed healing balm now, and loving care to heal the wounds that now felt so raw!  I cried out for help and care - I longed for someone, anyone, to give me a healing touch to make things better. I lay there in pain and no one came to me and I longed for someone to care enough to reach out to me.  No one noticed.  No one cared enough about reach out to me in my pain.

Then I took my pain, which had begun to heal a little, to my friend and told her how it was that no one came to me and no one cared.  I wanted so much for her to reach out to me, and I wept when I told her this, for I knew that she would not reach out to me - but at least there was kindness in her voice and she did not turn away.  And in her kindness I saw that she understood how much it hurt that no one came to me in my pain.  I saw her understanding, and I knew then that I saw her.  

I knew that here at last there was a light to see by and surely she was making it!  I tried to thank her for making the light, so I could see, but she did not want my thanks, she said it seemed that I had made the light for myself.  How could I have made the light for myself?  I had not made a torch for a long time, for my scalp was too sore and my hair was thin and my mouth too dry. 

I looked about me and saw clearly - saw the faces of those around me.  I saw them and knew they saw me, for the world was lit from end to end.

I had found the light by simply opening my eyes.

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