A Series of Vignettes
On the Soul’s Journey to Freedom
It was like there was a little bug in her ear, wigglin’ around, whisperin’ things. Like she never really had a chance to know what she really thought about stuff. Just listenin’ to the little bug, chattin’ away about this or that.
She didn’t know how she got him. Seemed he’d been with her for as long as she could remember. She knew there were some times when she was a kid when he hadn’t been there. Time when she had been drawing or blissfully swinging. She’d used to love swinging. She loved it now in fact, just never remembered to do it. Or, she was plagued by little ones wanting her to push them on their respective swings whenever she did. And, something about the feet… There wasn’t enough room for her feet. Each pump she had to bring back the little bug and think about her feet or they would scrape the ground unpleasantly.
That was pretty much the story of her life: never enough room for her. The trouble had started when she was five. She and her brother had been sent to kindergarten together. He was older, she quite young, for kindergarten that is, but her mother thought she was bright and would be able to keep up. She did. She kept up wonderfully. That was the trouble.
Her older brother DIDN’T keep up. His genius was different. He needed to run and play and express all the energy of the massive divinity that created the wild and vast outdoors we so enjoy the edges of. His was to run and jump and feel. His was to touch and kick and roll around in the pleasantness of all of creation. His was not to sit in a room listening at one person, verbally muzzled, painfully tied to six inches of pencil, required to create on a measly 8 inches of man made paper. His palette was the earth and his tools were hung from the sky. He knew the world was his playground and he deeply resented this new life of constraints. They had taken his expression, they had taken his joy, and they squeezed him each day into this box of a room called kindergarten, conscripted to a lack of activity that pressed the very breath from his body.
He would not suffer it, though. He was a powerful little man in the making and he would not let them crush him. He fought. He tossed the leash of a pencil away. He longed for his tools hanging free in the sky. Now he could now only catch glimpses of them through the bars of windows. His hands dropped the pencil angrily and moved to take up the tools of his earth. His eyes flashed their lightening so brightly that the room could no longer hold him.
And he was sent home from kindergarten.
No one told him he was bigger than that room. No one told him the world was his school. No one told him that a man in front of a class wouldn’t drive his success; that his heart was too big to be reined in with the masses. No one told him of his kingly crown that burst him out of those cold dark walls, or of the beauty of the art that would come from his freedom. No one told him.
There was only what was said, leaving deep ruts in his heart in spite of being spoken only in whispered tones: “He CAN’T sit still, he ISN’T ready, he WON’T follow, he’s NOT ABLE to conform.” All of these grand shows of the great divinity within him, were not celebrated but were negated and the negative words expressing the lies were let to rain down upon his spirit and slowly crush it inside of that horrible room. The wafts of conversations drifted to where he put his creativity to work and lighted upon his soul… “Can’t,” “not ready,” “isn’t able to”… And it seeped in.
The pain of his pressing was as a slow dying. The creative life of divinity is hard to press out. It takes years, and at first, there is much protest. The earliest of his protests began with her. Her divinity expressed neatly through a pen and paper. Hers was calm and demure. Hers did not seek to create massive structure through the glory of the bigness of the world. No, hers went inward, it looked at the heart. It took what was and wanted to see the smallest parts of it. Hers was heightened to get smaller and smaller and smaller. Just as the quantum scientist hardly moves seeing the tiny and the astronaut hardly stops as he readies for his expansion, so vastly different were he and she in the expression of their divinity. Kindergarten provided a way for her to go deeper, to study, to dive, to put together the pieces of her paintings in new ways, to capture the world she loved in brilliant new colors, it opened a vibrant door to expressing all that her heart loved.
And so, she was his first battleground. Why had his brush and palette been taken away while hers been expanded? Why was he left without tools and she given more than she could imagine?
The power of his creation went straight to work. He would prove to the world that this was not right. He would show everyone that HIS tools were of value. And so began the perpetual demeaning. The loss of friendship that had been so dear to her heart. As he fought to show that he was of value his words so often struck out against Her. His life breath being pressed slowly out of him shouted out his own value by cutting down hers.
He was a child. He did not know that there was divine creation within both of them. He only knew what he could feel and that was the hard weight of “can’ts” and “won’ts” being relegated to his corner whilst she was showered with beauty and expression in her corner. And he cried out, “That isn’t everything! That isn’t value!” His cries were for his own preservation but he was young. He didn’t know to say that both of them were valued. He only knew to fight to define that what her value was not HIS. They pressed him and pressed him. Trying to get him to dress in the clothing of her dearest expression. And he fought and screamed that her expression was nothing. And it was. Nothing to him. Nothing but a trap, a painful iron cage for a beautiful roaming king of the plain. He was meant for the sun, he was meant for the land. He would find his power in the open freedom of fresh air. And he cried out for it by condemning the tools she was given. His strained gasps for the air of his life seemed to spew out acid and burn her in their struggle. And so they were broken. The sweet fellowship of what had been dissipated into his desperate struggle to communicate his value. He was deeply misunderstood. And she was deeply hurt.
From a five year old’s perspective the constant shouting that her newly treasured tools were a failure, that her success was not of value, that the beauty of the paintings she now created with these tools were not all there was in the world seared her heart with a hot iron. She was rejected, as she was the banner that was held up for him to show that these tools were a success. With all his power and will he rejected that banner. The tools they gave her were not enough for him and he translated that to just: not enough. There was not enough room for her in his world. There was not enough of how she expressed, of how she created. And as he rightly rejected the not enough-ness of her tools, he also rejected HER.
Suddenly, there was no room for the person that she was in the heart of the one who had even so dear to her. Suddenly she was pushed away with every struggling breath trying to save itself. Suddenly the treasures that she was given were shamed and seemed to now hold the power, not only to create beauty but also to destroy relationships. Suddenly it was crushed. Her own genius had the effect of lashes of a whip struck upon the tender heart of the one she cared most. And there was not enough room for her. Every joy in which she basked, in the expansion afforded her with the new tools; each was an added weight to his burden. Every success pressed harder on the very lies that were sucking his breath away. And he lashed back, he screamed, he jabbed and poked. “This is not important!” He would cry out, for it was killing his own expression to be boxed into her same box. But she did not know he needed no box. She only knew that what she was no longer of value. When she expanded it pushed away the dearest heart she had known.
Her feet not fitting between the swing and the earth then seemed somehow comfortable now. There hadn’t been room for her expression for a long, long time. The way her own heart expanded had not been life giving to those around her since she was very little, hardly able to process much of anything. But she had been processing. Processing, processing, processing.
And now when there was not enough room for her expansion she yielded to it. She had lost what was most precious to her, her dear sweet childhood playmate, her sibling, her pal. She would lose nothing more. When she looked longingly at new tools for her own expansion she would shy away. Perhaps reach out and touch them, perhaps create a luscious stroke or two, but when that old feeling of delight wells up in her soul she would recoil in fear. Would this beauty of expression too take the life away from those she cared about most? She would quickly put the new brushes down and shuffle away seeking to protect those around her even as she now felt the weight of creation pressing down upon her.
They had both lost. His tools were taken by force as he was caged into the iron locks of “normal. ” And hers had been yielded willingly, hidden or given up quietly in order to preserve anything that might have been left of the sweetness of fellowship. Their pain was perpetual. Neither creating. Neither breathing easy. Neither expressing the glory they were made for.
And so she listened. She listened to the bug she had in her ear. “You can’t do that.” “You never have been able to.” “You aren’t enough.” “It never works out, does it.” “It’s just a fail.” “Never enough.” “It may look good but it will bite you.” “Just leave it.” “Abandon it.” “Don’t try to do that.” “It’s a fail anyway.”
She was tired of the bug. She wanted it out. She wanted her power back. She wanted to create.