Is it possible to be injected with poison so deep that it takes over 20 years to discover the infected tissue? I'm watching Disney movies with my daughters on a Friday night, alone in the house with the kids. Aaron's on call. A scene comes up that I remember clearly, and suddenly I am 11 and seeing it for the first time.
Most of you know the story: the princess gives away the one thing the prince loved - her voice - in exchange for her rebellious dream. When I was a child I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child... (I Corinthians 13:11) I'm sure I'm not the only girl who identified herself with the princess in a Disney movie...wasn't that their point?
The problem was, I'd given something precious away. Perhaps given isn't the right word, looking back with the hindsight of 33. In truth, someone had taken it from me. But I felt complicit, especially by age 11. A co-conspirator. The very best child abusers have that affect on their prey: it's the surest way against getting caught, to make the child believe they are just as much to blame as the abuser. I was afraid what I'd given away was the one thing that would satisfy the Prince of Peace.
And so this scene makes me small again. Scared. Heart pounding. I know the ending - the mermaid will lose the bet and become one of those small, unfortunate souls the witch feeds on. I was that afraid of what I'd done...to believe that satan had that power over me. To keep me small and trapped and evil for the rest of my life.
I ride the flashbacks like bad waves on an angry motion, trying to surf them. Trying not to submerge in the ocean of guilt, disgust, shame.
|A view of Mama courtesy of Amy's toy camera|
I remember reading Victor Hugo's poems in high school. "Be as a bird perched on a frail branch that she feels bending beneath her, still she sings away all the same, knowing she has wings." It took me 20 some years to understand this, although I loved it from the first time I read it. Whatever the circumstances, I can experience Christ's joy - however tenuous my perch seems - and freedom - for He has given my soul wings. That thing I had given away? That wasn't what He wanted. He wanted ME. However flawed, however frail.