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Archive for August, 2013

“And what of me?” She demanded. Her hands trembled for an instant upon the rough-hewn chest.
“What was my lot? I was the laughing one, the laughable one…with foolish comments and jests, I made them to laugh. But what of it? In the end I was but a child to them, my dignity sacrificed upon the altar of cheer. Nothing but an object of scorn, a jester, a fool. I have no respect or regard to call my own, as my fellow-maids have in abundance. They are the ornate butterflies that adorn milady’s garden, that bring beauty and grace along with their regality. And me…I am the gamboling pup, tripping on its feet and rolling over foolishly. They may love me!” she said, seeing the look on his face, “But is it not in a condescending, patronizing manner? Nobody would smile and pet the head of a butterfly as they do ofttimes to a pup.”

He said nothing for a moment and seemed not to see her tears, but instead took up one of Elsa’s pups. The soft, chubby little one squeaked and wiggled in his hands, objecting to the rude interruption of its feeding. He held it closer, and the little one quieted down, content against the heat of his jerkin.
“Nobody, Maid, save a fool would regard a butterfly as they would a pup…for butterflies are of the air, lofty and ethereal as the angels of Heaven. Pups, and the hounds they shall someday grow into, are of the earth, and too close for us to oftentimes gaze at them with wonder.
But in the day of sorrow and uncertainty, of battle and fear, it is not the winged wonders who aid us, nor are they the ones who we can wrap our arms around and wet with our tears. The butterflies do not stand by our hearts and sides in the day of battle, Runa…it is the hounds. Unsung, disregarded and kicked aside though it be, a hundred little ornaments cannot measure up to the truest heart.
They may laugh at you, Maid, and consider you but a child with nary a care. Their considerations do not mark truth. That the others do not see your tears, sorrows, dreams and strengths doesn’t decree that such exist not. To you has been given the shadowless light, the cloudless sky, the spotless rose that they may turn to in the day of their calamity. At such time they will remember your laughter, and it shall give them courage to carry on.”

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The Villain!

The dark, evil man with a twisted smile and motives to match. The cowardly, blustering bully who thwarts our somewhat muscle-challenged hero. The deceitful, seductive lady who hides her true goals behind smiles and flattery.
In other words….THE VILLAIN!

I’ve noticed how, when watching movies or reading books, I’ll often find myself justifying and defending my favorite characters for certain words or actions– “Well, she’s just had a tough week…   “Oh, there’s got to be a good explanation for why he just said that…”  “It was just a one-time mistake, that doesn’t make them absolute villains, for crying out loud!”

Some time back I was commiserating over the various hiccups in my schedule (such as why I was running late for an appointment…AGAIN!), and, while doing so, brooded over my mother’s frustration at my repetitious “crimes”.

“Well, I can’t be perfect all the time….and anyway, she was on the phone till just a few moments before we had to leave. And I DO know how to manage my time well, and I AM making good use of my hours… we weren’t late because I was on Facebook too long. And–“

I suddenly stopped.  What was I doing? It sounded…it sounded just like….

Just like I was defending my favorite character.

The truth dawned rather crushingly on me. The story….my story…was undergoing a not so pleasant turn in the plot, and I was defending my own favorite character–ME.

It was my fault that we were late, of course. And my mother was absolutely correct in saying what she had about my time stewardship…I did waste too much time, and I wasn’t keeping track of my schedule.

It was the truth, and it hurt to admit it. It hurt to admit that I’d been justifying and making excuses and defending when in reality I was the cause of it all. The perpetrator.

THE VILLAIN!

And isn’t that just like us?  There are so many knots in life, so many misunderstandings and tears and fights and failures which we can’t seem to get around.

I wonder how many of those cases could be dealt with properly if only we’d stop making excuses, accept responsibility, and face the true villains?

 

Now, before you start feeling depressed and wretched about your wicked villainy, let me  finish.

There’s a saying– “Don’t cry over spilled milk”. Now there’s two extremes in the situation of spilled milk, and both are wrong.

The first is to cry and wail and lament and tear yourself apart with guilt and hopelessness over the mess on the floor.

The second is to shrug your shoulders and wonder why somebody didn’t have the courtesy to pour you the milk so that this mess wouldn’t have happened, why the counters weren’t built out a little longer to prevent the cup from tipping over, and where you can get the number to sue  the cup maker. (Or, even worse, stare in confusion at the small white lake on the floor and wonder how that happened!)

But both reactions are wrong.

In the Bible we are taught the seriousness of sin, and of the consequences that follow. At the same time, we are shown the forgiveness and love of God…if we repent and turn back to Him. Now, in order to repent (a word which literally means “turn around”) you have to realize something rather startling–that you were going the wrong way in the first place…or, in this case…that YOU are the villain!

 

In our regular life, as well as in the case of the spilled milk, there’s no way the mess is going to be properly cleaned up until you’ve acknowledged the reality of the situation, and your own part in it. But once that’s been done, and though there’s definitely a place for sorrow and tears, don’t stop there.

Isn’t that a blessed relief! You don’t have to continue with the tears and shame. God doesn’t  prolong the poem of pain with innumerable commas. He offers a “.”, an end, which in and of itself brings the promise of a new sentence and a clean start.

There’s forgiveness for the wrong….and a rag for the milk.

I’d suggest we go hunt down the true villains, and make them use both.

 

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