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Wednesday, April 8, 2009

3rd chapter of "The Well-Loved Soul"

See previous Wednesdays posts for chapters 1 and 2.
The Slave
"…my own vineyard I have neglected."
(song of songs 1:6)

The journey of slavery is hard, thankless, demeaning, undignified and quite shameful. After all a slave has no voice of her own. She exists to fulfill the needs of others. Her thoughts, her feelings, her wellness matters not. Others expect her unflinching service and obedience. The severe demands of slavery has taught her to ignore herself. She has come to learn that she can perform at all costs even when she is sick, anxious, overwhelmed, apprehensive, desperate, empty, abused or angry. The show must go on. How she is treated or how she feels matters not. After all, a slave’s value is found exclusively in her ability to perform. If she can not perform and maintain her usefulness, her very existence is in question.

Her survival depends on not disappointing those around her lest they discover she is not who she appears to be; strong, flawless, unflinching, selfless. She can not express needs of any type, less she becomes a bother. A slave can not place demands on others, after all she is worthless. Not even of sufficient significance to merit the basic rights of free women.

The delight of choice, discovery, self-expression, freedom, fulfillment they are only a heavy mist that intermittently disturbs her reality. Far more distressing to the devoted slave, is the unsettling realization that in the secret places of her heart she has discovered that she is not as good as she pretends to be. She holds secret dreams of escape, longing for carefree days, longing to be loved, protected, held, free. Surely she reasons this must be a devout longing for my eternal home. Yet she is still troubled, because accompanying those hidden desires are disquieting emotions. At times she feels sad, deeply sad not even caring whether she lives or dies. Other times she is enraged, irritated, bitter, and resentful at the very people she is called to serve. Where is the love and grace of God to aid me in my service? The promised peace and joy are relatively nonexistent. At times she finds herself pleading with God, begging for circumstances to change, for rescue to come. At other times she is resigned and stoic, even accepting of her slavery. But what alarms her most is the times when she feels furious, betrayed by the God she serves. How could He allow her life to be so dreary, so desperate, and so painful? The desperate state of her soul conflicts with her faith, with her slavery, with the promises of God. Her situation is yet made worse, by the knowledge that she must hide the darkness that dwells is her soul. The dreadful turmoil is hers alone to bear. To express the chaos is to betray her faith, her role, her understanding of her benevolent God. But concealing the ugliness exacts its own price. She finds herself becoming increasingly distanced in her relationships. Honesty, truth, vulnerability, the staples of satisfying friendships is beyond her grasp. She is hiding within herself , and continually erasing glimmers of who she really is. Slowly her soul is disappearing

Somehow she must fight back, she must make sense of this insanity. Though she appears to live without want or need, her internal soul is screaming for release. She has been violently thrown into a crisis of the soul. Somehow she has managed to pick herself up from this disillusionment in the past, but this is stronger, more forceful. It demands a change. She senses her very life depends on it. She is perplexed, how can a slave change her world?

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