Rejection sat by the edge of the extensive pond, meditatively reflecting on times past. Languidly gliding the tip of a finger over the surface of the water, she rested her chin upon folded knees; a silent tear losing itself in the long flow of her golden hair.
Overhead, birds took flight, swooping and darting about the rich canopy of towering trees, as though joyfully lost in a game of Hide-and-Seek. But Rejection did not notice.
Spring's gentle breath kissed the earth, inviting shrub, flour and leaf to join Freedom's merry dance... but... Rejection did not notice...
Another tear slipped from Rejection's weary eyes; the misery pushing it forth finding no rest until it returned to the depths of Rejection's troubled soul... This she noticed...
Across the way, unknown to Rejection, another soul appeared...
From beneath the swaying branches of a willow tree, Light was drawn to the weeping woman sitting by the edge of the pond. He wondered what had left her so wounded, but, for the moment, he dare not go in search of an answer. Rather, as he watched, he prayed, calling on the heart of Wisdom to guide him. Beauty - as he decided to name the woman - did not need his opinion or his reactions. This, he knew. What she needed was to be rescued from the darkness overshadowing her, and that could only be done by reflecting truth to her.
Light knew that truth, given in and through love, would set Beauty free. Anything less would see Beauty retreating further beyond the walls of her heart, and possibly lost to the darkness forever.
With his heart of integrity and compassion leading, Light feigned ignorance of the woman's presence, started whistling a merry tune, and stepped forward into the open.
Though his gaze was deliberately set on the other side of the pond, he watched for Beauty's reaction from the corner of his eye.
She stiffened, immediately sitting up straight. She was quick to hide her tears, and, for this, Light captured an ache of his own. He had stepped forth to help free Beauty from the grips of misery, but his presence caused her to retreat further into the icy shadows of her distressed spirit...
Inwardly, Rejection - as she had come to know herself - trembled, but outwardly she moved to appear as though she were in control of all of her senses.
The stranger stood by the edge of the pond, hands on hips as he cast his gaze about the land. When he inhaled deeply, looking the other way as he did, Rejection figured this was her moment of escape.
She jumped to her feet and was preparing to hurry off into the depths of the forest when the intruder called for her attention.
"Hello, there!" he cheerfully greeted; Rejection's humble soul calling for her to stop and respond.
With head and eyes lowered, Rejection held her breath and replied with a timid, "Hello..." Her voice was a mere whisper.
He stepped towards her and, privately, she ached to runaway; every inch of her body tensing. Fear hurried to cover her like the well-worn coat it was.
"I am sorry if I have disturbed you in any way," he begun, moving closer still. "Please forgive me."
So tender and genuine was the echo of his thoughts that Rejection automatically looked up in response.
His eyes - rich brown, with flecks of green - reached deep beyond Rejection's mask, gently penetrating the secret depths of her soul.
There was something in his eyes that stilled her heart, that called to her, that stirred within a desire to be known, to be seen. There was something in his eyes that seemed very familiar. It was almost as though his eyes reflected something to her... but what...? What was it she was seeing...?
Blinking aside such foolish imaginings, Rejection noticed the stranger was reaching out his hand in an act of friendship.
"I am Light," he informed; Rejection's senses on full alert as her hand was lightly embraced by his warm touch.
Lost in a moment of fascination, with her heart instantly pierced by an emotion she could find no name for, Rejection momentarily forgot who she was. "I am—" Rejection...? No, that didn't sound right. Sinner...?Fool...?Was that it...? Was that her identity...?
"Beauty," he completed for her. "Your name is Beauty."
With grave curiosity, she searched his hypnotic gaze for an explanation.
As he drew her hand to his lips, he breathed, "You, my lady, are Beauty."
Before he could complete his gallant action, Rejection focused on several scars pressing into the skin of her hands and arms, and was quickly reminded of who she. She abruptly tugged her hand free. How could she have forgotten who she was! "No!" she irately demanded, deeply annoyed by the stranger's effrontery. "I am Rejection! And you are not welcome here!"
Before she could view the shocked expression of the man before her, Rejection spun about, aiming to run home, but everything was different. Her surroundings had changed. Nothing was familiar. Everything was so... so... colourful...!
Panic sliced through her soul, constricting her chest, twisting her stomach, stealing her breath. Where was she? How did she get here? This was not her home! Her world was grey... so unlike the radiance surrounding her at present.
On the wind of a breathless cry, she inwardly called out, "God, help me...!"
Light had to act quickly. He could tell by Beauty's reaction that she was incredibly frightened. He had seen such behaviour before, and he knew if she were to run into the cave of fear she stood a high chance of being lost forever. He also knew that in daring to reach out and grab her, and hold onto her until fear was banished, he would risk being struck by the trepidation she possessed.
But he would rather risk being wounded than see her lost. He would rather be damned and injured than see any soul imprisoned by fear and panic.
Without further hesitation, Light reached out and tightly wrapped his arms about Beauty, strapping her arms to her side and trapping her back against his chest. She struggled and hissed, and demanded to be let go, but he was stronger... and he was determined to see her free.
"You do not see the truth before you, Beauty!"
"Damn it," she barked, "I am NOT Beauty. Let me go! You have no right to hold me this way. How dare you... How dare you!"
Light did not say another word, but neither did he give in to her demands or her struggling. Sooner or later, he knew, she would tire, long before he did.
When that time came, when her strength had fallen away, and she all but collapsed in his unrelenting arms, he gently held her to himself and with a heart full of love and compassion - a heart whose sole concern remained with Beauty's welfare and not its own - he warmly breathed, "Sometimes, Beauty, in order to see reality, you must close your eyes."
Rejection did not have the strength to argue, or fight him off. All she had the energy to do was shake her head and cry.
If he knew what she had done... If he knew what her heart was capable of...then he would know she was not Beauty.
"Hear me, Beauty..."
She didn't know why he insisted on calling her that, but she despised him for lying to her. What was his name? Deception...?!
"Leave me be," she feebly wept. "Let me go and leave me be."
"Hear me, Beauty. Please." "No!" she demanded, an unexpected burst of energy forcing her from his arms. She spun about to face him, to damn him, to curse the day of his birth, when suddenly the sun was eclipsed by the presence of the moon.
Frightened by the darkness surrounding her, Rejection stepped back and clung tightly to the solid trunk of a tree; her troubled gaze darting to and fro as she expected to be hounded by the voices that often taunted her at night.
"Leave me alone," she pleaded; petrified. "Please,” she begged, “leave me alone."
"I won't hurt you, Beauty."
"I wasn't talking to you," she quaked; the rustling of a nearby shrub causing fear to strike her again.
Then Light realised: "You can't see me, can you?"
Rejection was growing annoyed. "It’s dark now! I can’t see anything! Sir, I don't know who you are, or who you think you are, but you are so not welcome here! Leave me alone!"
There was no time for persuasive words and gentle leadings; he knew the spirits that had come to haunt Beauty - he knew them by name, what they were capable of, and how swiftly they moved. He had met them many times before. He could feel them closing in around her.
It was not difficult to see that such demons knew they had a right to Beauty's thoughts and emotions, because she believed they were right in all their bitter accusations. Her faith in their opinions gave them a right to own her. But he’d be damned if he let them have their way with her again! He'd rather take on all her demons, shame and scars than leave her trapped. His heart would have it no other way!
With all the inner strength and power he could muster, Light held his breath and made his presence known. With fists clenched, and jaw locked, he closed his eyes and released the fullness of his power. As his power spread forth in warm light, penetrating every inch and corner of darkness, he felt Beauty's heart with his own. It hid beyond the walls of false security; beyond walls of fear; beyond a mountain of lies that had been sent to knock her to her knees and keep her there.
The strongest of all the demons was the Spirit of Manipulation. He could feel it trying to choke the life out of her. He could see its cold, calculating eyes as its honed claws tightened about Beauty's throat. With snake-like tongue it hissed its accusations at her; spitting in her face, damning her very existence...and she believed its every word. She was weakening beneath its grip. She was dying...and happy to do so.
Light's energy was running low, his entire being ached, but he would not bow to darkness, no matter what the cost. He would not give up. He would not give up his fight, nor would he ever give up on any lost soul - especially one that called for help from the pit of inner torment.
He could feel her shame. He tasted her tears. His heart broke with the weight of her grief. And out of the brokenness of his own heart there came a rush of love, renewing his strength, brightening his light, awakening greater determination!
"Believe," Light called from the centre of the brilliant glow. "Close your human eyes, Beauty, and SEE the truth! Feel it! Embrace it...!"
Beauty was losing the will to live. She felt herself collapsing in the darkness. She longed for her last breath. But then something touched her. Something warm and bright touched her heart; it reached beyond the fear, beyond the lies, deep into the shame and proclaimed love. A light turned on in her soul. Hope swept her up into its arms... Dare she believe...?
As she dared to reflect upon the truth that Light poured into her heart, as she dared to receive a true image of her self, Light vowed to never leave her, never forsake her, and to do all he could to set her free from the claws of deception. His love for her would allow him to do nothing less... And she believed him... Suddenly, she knew his sacrifice, his heart, his love, the truth he brought with him, would free her.
With his strength filling her soul, she opened her eyes and looked into the face of Manipulation. "You have no power over me," she confidently declared, allowing joy to fill her entire being as Manipulation first froze with fear, then vanished from sight.
She was free...
1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was with God in the beginning.
3Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4In him was life, and that life was the light of men. 5The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.
6 There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John. 7 He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe. 8 He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. 9 The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.
10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God-- 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God.
14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.