When I was a child I was skinny, and I was a child. Shy. I stammered. Had to wear glasses very young. It kept falling off my snub nose. Got teased for that and my skinny legs. All that and I couldnot speak as well as the grown ups around me. I was ‘Pin throat’, ‘drumstick’, ….
“You’re the worst in your family!” One of my school teachers told me. “Terrible at sports.” Yes, unfortunately. I was underweight, how could I lift and throw, or jump heights, my ankles felt too tiny for my height. I was best in my bare feet running in the sands at the beach along our little home by the sea. I was happiest in the guava tree; I talked to squirrels and myna. They talked back to me, I’m telling you. Their grey soft fluff and under wings, their little eyes and snacker of beak in tree branch it all spoke to me in a peace that other languages did nothing to comfort a tiny person growing up in a world too fast to understand its slower creatures.
When I was four, a dream began. A nightmare. It happened around the time our landowners son tried to molest me, an afternoon my Ma was out working. I waited, and as I did, the landowners son grabbed me by the arm. It was odd, we knew him. A tall darkish boy who didnt talk. Now he pulled me to a stool in the corner of their shadowy shop. The shutters were half downed. Then he pulled me to the floor, it was cold hard stone, too fast to scream. I called to my God. Ma had taught me to pray, would God be here in this cold terrible place? He was. The shutter shuttered back up, someone entered I cannot remember who; the sound of that was freedom.
Daylight filtered through.
The landowners son flung me from him and disappeared. I do not remember how I got to stand on a heap of red ants. The househelp found me there, she yelled me to safety back up the stairs to our home above the landowners’ place. Was it that night the night mares began? It was a thin, very brown skinned woman in white flowing clothes, she had no face. She chased me around the terrace outside our home. Peering down at me, I saw it over and over . That face with no features. Like a painting smudged brown. It was the first time something hurt me, it took my peace. It chased, stalked, ate at me. It was the first time I felt alone. Afraid. Slowly the dream faded and left a shadow in me. A shadow that grew grew grew till it blocked out the light. Strange how you can believe the grey shadow coming in through a bad dream, is the light. Strange how we can believe lies that we are imperfect because we are not physically strong, strange how we can believe we are disabled because someone did a bad thing to us. Strange how we disbelieve the gifts we are given by God, just because someone somewhere made us numb.
Now later I met Christ at the Cross and He told me about murderers who didn’t know what they were doing, but what does a child know about bullies? I never told my Ma about the landowners son; never told her about an uncle who later tried that same vicious thing again. Ok they didn’t succeed, but why the silence?
I do not know.
But this I do know. It is the shut up – ness of a terrible event, that fosters nightmares. It fosters a lack of trust in oneself. It rears self hate. How I do not know.
I was once a child and spoke as a child. Now I am grown I do not speak as a child in the dark shuttered place by a red anthill, numbed by life. I speak as a grown woman, as a mother with girls of her own. I never spoke about that shuttered time, now as I do,
The nightmare recedes. The thin brown woman in white linen, her featureless brown face? She recedes. What was she?
I do not know. But yesterday I heard a girl talk about a Promise from the sacred lips of Yahweh. ” ...the years the locusts’ve eaten I will restore to you…”
A locust is an evil grasshopper I replied to the girl. Yes it takes our harvest. Everything that was ours rightfully. A metaphor of a thief , the locust & it came in a swarm! A whole thousand upon thousand of them, an army. years of badness. Of bad bad sad words said over and over. “You there, shush! Sit! You are reject. You are odd. No dont come here. Go to your corner. Shush. Dont talk. Dont sing. Go in the back row. You lil ugly thing.”
The locusts tried eat me up,
Bad dreams stole my nights now and then. Shadows grew their harvest tall. They spread their soft wings around my news. The news that crept in 24x 7. Bad news . Bad news. We believe it all.
Then I heard the good news of a Christ who taught me to forgive the landowners boy who didn’t know what he was doing. The good news that showed me how to love and not mind the bad all the time. I was a collector of sad events world wide, the good news of Christ was that, He knew. He knew about all my shadow. Nothing was hidden from Him. He was there too.
I had that good news now in me…. a Light that burned the dark away. Bit by bit or burned the dark away. Flame by flame it burned the dark away
Flame by flame it burned the chatter of my locusts stealing my joy. Christ was in every dark valley I’d ever tread. He, in every page every line every chapter every episode of my life. Times I messed, times I offended His name, times I ran from Him and His in the dark. Times the locusts killed me. Then I buried me. All my skinny self and snub nose and stammer. And times I felt not good enough. Times in the red ant hill, times numb with the loneliness only thieves of time give. Thieves of time, of smiles, of joy, of the fountain of life. Like locusts they arrive, not just ones and toes but thousands on thousands of lies with big jaws they chew chew cud chew on our weakness.
But Christ told me that….His power was made perfect in my weakness. My littleness. The littler, the weaker I was the more his power showed up in me. Like cracks in a wall, with light showing through. He didnt take advantage of my vulnerability. He laid Himself down for it.
Opposite of that locust, He, Christ.
The Good news. My defender. Healer. Physician. Rock. Strong Tower. Saviour. Master. Protector. My Light. Yours. Your defender. Your protector. Your shut-er up of the locusts eating up your mind. Eating up your time. Your life.
Their chatter chatter chatter it goes on and on in Mindfields we’ve buried with the ashes of time. You burnt out just trying to rise. Burnt out just trying to wake up refreshed from nights you did not sleep trying to sleep. But hey no.more..you hear me. No more.
Locusts… no more. In the name of Jesus, go get out of my life. I …am with the Christ.