Once upon a nowaday time, there lived a common man (named Kirk.) He lived with his mate and their four children in a modest home. To outsiders, it appeared that the dwelling was like any other house, surrounded by carbon copies of layout and design. From the outside, looking in, this may have appeared to be so, but within the wooded frame, one and all felt loved and secure. Near the entrance, outside this home, hung a wooden message, “WELCOME! THE BENISH FAMILY LOVES HERE” and it was true.
The commoner’s mate was a “kid magnet,” attracting children of various ages, as well as those who were young at heart. Throughout her busy days, youngsters and teens came and went, stopping by for brief moments to be nourished emotionally or physically, to tell a weary tale or to receive an “atta boy” for a well-deserved achievement.
Kirk spent his days as a buggy builder, hand-carving excellence and beauty into physical form. He also created horse-drawn sleighs that would bring magical moments to others on crisp, winter days. His tools were crude and yet he proudly completed projects that validated his trade, talent and love of bringing unique beauty to others. He was a Master Craftsman, who attempted to resurrect a dying art.
As much loving patience and perfection that he hand-crafted and oftentimes painstakingly performed in buggy building, the same high quality was given to his family. He was tireless when one of his loved ones found themselves in need. His strong arm of protection afforded the family security in all ways and always.
When times got lean, his mate offered to go within the marketplace to secure a position. With pride, he thanked her, knowing full well that he had her support and concern. However, he was aware of the many tasks she performed which filled her days from early morn until late at night. Together, they agreed that her service of being available to their four children as well as strangers was far too important to sacrifice. In total agreement, as man and wife, and as equals, the decision was made. Kirk would acquire a second, part-time position
Together, with hands and hearts joined, they asked in united prayer for the awareness of the Divine Presence in their lives, knowing it was ever present. Each gave silent thanks, knowing the highest good of all concerned would manifest. No decisions were ever made in the home, except by asking for awareness of the Divine Plan and their individual aspects within the Wholeness. They trusted that all outer circumstances; situations, people and supply would be aligned in the physical world in Divine right order.
As their request went forth, into the silence of the night, their acceptance of the greater good and belief that prayers are answered, created the mold of thought which would soon be revealed. In their home, gratitude was the greatest attitude. Thankfulness for that which is not yet seen was the final release To All That Is, “the letting go and letting God.”
Kirk and Gloria had learned so long ago that if they did not have their prayers answered, it was only because they had not asked aright. Only through worry, concern or lack of faith, and sometimes from hanging onto requests, attempting to humanly or mentally figure things out were previous prayers unanswered. To ask only for the Divine Presence is a soul’s guarantee that the prayer will materialize as all that is needed.
Seventy-two hours after the prayer, a perfect position made itself known. The small village needed a Lamplighter. In his own quiet and subtle way, Kirk would serve others by lighting their way.
The position was perfect for Kirk. At dusk, he could drive his team of horses, allowing them exercise. He would only be gone from home during the hours his children did their homework, returning early enough to give quality time and to hear the events of their day. With these hours of employment, his wife wouldn’t be alone in the dark of night.
For Kirk, personally, he would have quiet, reflective, meditative time so he could continue to hear the still, small voice within him. The fresh air and the great outdoors (where he most enjoyed being) were his own personal reward in accepting the position.
Knowing full well that God works in mysterious ways, Kirk knew the service of lighting lamps hadn’t come to him by chance or coincidence. Though the position didn’t pay large sums of alms, he knew in his heart he had been chosen for this position.
Kirk was aware that God and he were partners. The Almighty gave him ideas and opportunities. He had to take physical action to do the work. In quiet solitude, with a thankful heart, the Commoner felt blessed.
Before Kirk left for the first night at his new job, he and Gloria chatted excitedly as she prepared his dinner. He watched as she sliced her homemade bread and made a sandwich that would have been fit for a King. Warm, banana-nut bread, his favorite, for an added treat. He smiled as he thought, “The woman loves to cook, but she loves it even more to watch others eat. If there was one woman, like her, for every thousand people, this world would be an almost perfect place.”
Her words, “Hurry along! Don’t be late…” jarred him back to present moment. She walked him to the horses and buggy awaiting him at the invisible boundary line of their yard and street.
They hugged endearingly before they parted and her ringing, happy voice wished him well. As he drove away, he could hear her say, “I can’t wait to hear, when you return, of all the wonderful people and moments you experience!”
He blew her a final kiss, silently thinking, “She genuinely means it. She always listens to every single word I speak.” Knowing how inspired she became from people and life, his gift to her upon return, would be sharing his experiences.
The Lamplighter fulfilled his round that evening, stopping to chat with countless people. He watched the beautiful sunset fade behind the mountains in the distance, turning the sky to azure and fluid, pastel pink, together making a soft violet. He was complimented by countless souls that evening for the service he performed. It was offered that the lighted streets made it safer for moonlight walks.
Upon arriving home, his mate joined helpfully at his side to remove the bridles and harnesses and listened carefully to his every word, feeling the excitement of his adventures. As seen through his eyes, she saw so clearly the events of the night.
Almost as a ritual, nightly adventures and stories were told. Each better than the previous day. The Lamplighter had tales of children, animals, and stories that enchanted her. She felt such pride in hearing how her mate was touching so many others, in common ways that are most generally taken for granted. Weeks and then months passed and they discovered one evening that they no longer needed this position. The moment had arrived that a choice could be made. He could continue the position out of love for it or he could quit.
As in all matters of great concern, Kirk and his mate joined hands in silent prayer asking for guidance from He Who sees and knows all. Believing the answer would be clearly revealed in dreams, visions or in hearing another’s words as they passed as strangers on the street, they gave their release of loving thanks. No changes in their outer world would be made until they knew within that all was in Order.
Within 72 hours, the Lamplighter had a dream. Though he saw no face, a Voice of mighty authority spoke: “Be My Hands so others can feel My touch, Be My Voice so others can hear Me speak, Be My Heart so others can feel My love, just be yourself…for that is Me.” The voice continued, “Comfort those in need and help Me to help others. Are you aware, My son, that everything that occurs to you or others is always for the highest good? To outer appearances, that statement could appear as questionable. In reality, had you not momentarily experienced lack, you would not have needed to secure a second position whereby you could be of service to light the way for others in their darkest hours.”
Even in the dream, Kirk knew that he must heed the Voice. The message was being engraved in his heart so that upon awakening, the dream would not melt away. The Voice continued, “When people ignore their inner urgings, visions, and dreams, they find themselves in precarious situations. Each event, although sometimes momentarily uncomfortable or even painful is only an attempt to help them recognize that Spirit, as Light, stands behind all appearances. Their greater good stands supreme when they place their attention upon it.”
Before the dream ended, the Voice spoke once again, “There are two women who need to hear how to have a successful marriage. You will meet them tomorrow, your last day as a Lamplighter.”
Kirk awoke, not knowing at what hour he would locate the ladies, nor being aware what the secret to a successful relationship was. Intuitively, thoughts followed, “No need to worry. You will be shown and in that hour, when it becomes necessary to speak, Spirit will speak through you. Be at peace.”
The following evening, the Lamplighter hugged his wife and climbed up into the buckboard seat that he, himself, had beautifully upholstered. He blew her a kiss and though she couldn’t hear him as he drove away, she read his lips as he said, “I love you so much!”
Kirk became aware that everywhere he drove, each lamp he lit, and each woman he saw, he questioned if it could be one of the women he was to speak to. He silently affirmed and trusted that whatever he was to speak would come forth.
He had but one more lamp to light and his job would be complete. He carefully removed the glass globe and the match sparked in the dusk. With no sign of two women who needed Divinely inspired wisdom, he retreated to the buggy with his head hung low. He believed in dreams! He was willing to serve and go on faith alone, if need be. With a heavy sigh, doubtful emotions subsided and he listened closely to his thoughts that were guiding him to a nearby coffee house in the marketplace.
Knowing that a soul doesn’t see the entire picture and only gets a piece of the puzzle at a time, that each new step is only offered in each present step, Kirk trusted to be led to the end result. Life is magical when one learns to listen to the subtle hints and clues from the invisible world.
Stepping over the threshold, the Lamplighter’s attention was drawn to two women chatting at a small table. He took a seat at the counter and ordered a cup of tea. He could feel the tension and anger, overhearing their conversation. He silently questioned the Divine, “Are these the two you spoke of? If so, give me a sign.”
The miracle startled Kirk! Within milliseconds, one of the women got his attention and said, “Sir, I recognize you as the town’s Lamplighter. We need you to join us for just a moment.” Kirk smiled inwardly as he walked towards the ladies.
Offering his hand, tipping his hat and then removing it in a gracious gesture, he sat at the table,
“How can I be of service?” he asked.
Hope replied, “We both have marriages that are failing and we have often discussed you and your mate. As we stroll about town, we see you and her, together, holding hands and looking adoringly into one another’s eyes. How is it that, after so many years and so many children, you keep the spark alive? What is your secret to a successful marriage?
Until this moment, Kirk had thought when he came face-to-face with his mission, that profound words would be placed in his thoughts. Instead, he only had to speak from his heart.
“Loving praise for one another is the secret, dear ladies. My wife speaks words of praise to God, appearing as me, thanking the Divine Spark within me at the end of each day for everything I’ve done. Because she praises me, I find myself wanting only to please her more. She would never think to degrade me, to even her dearest friend, for she knows that space or distance does not limit harsh words and the energy behind them. Unkind remarks hurt just as deeply whether near or far. In our home, we speak kindly to one another.”
With great pride he continued, “She speaks as kindly behind my back as she does to my face. Others feel her love for me and no one has prejudgments of my weaknesses or negative traits, for they are non-existent if they have no energy or attention placed upon them. To be successful in your marriage, put your attention upon your husbands’ strengths and remember what attracted you to one another. I guarantee, with loving praise, all of your relationships can be healed. Trust that God can fix anything, even a broken relationship.”
Kirk returned home from his final eve as a Lamplighter, greeted by his smiling, loving wife. She pumped him about his experiences and he seemed to be so vague. He walked her out under the stars, held her hand and under the light of the silvery moon he said, “I once read somewhere that miracles are expressions of love, unconsciously directed as a result of a loving heart. When I look at you, I see a miracle. You never once plan or try to be loving or kind, you just are. You don’t have to try to love me or others because you just do. You don’t have to read books or listen to lectures or sermons to learn to be loving for your very essence is love. I’ve always known how fortunate I am to be a part of your life, but tonight, I feel like the luckiest man alive. If my life were to end this moment, I would die a happy man, for these years with you have been the best years of my life.”
In the silence of the universe, they embraced and she giggled as she whispered, “People think happily-ever-afters are for fantasy alone, but honey, there’s a place where fantasy and physical live side-by-side. If I could give a gift to the world, with love, it wouldn’t be by telling them which yellow brick road to take. I wouldn’t want to take away their adventures, surprises and wonders of the journey. I’d write a book and tell them it exists and allow them the opportunity and magic to find their own way. But, since you know I can’t keep a secret, I’d be sure to give them the key that opens their heart.”
Gloria had learned long ago that she couldn’t appreciate others until she appreciated herself. She couldn’t love others, unless she first learned to love herself. From the teachings within the Bible and within her quiet time, she had been taught to “Love the Lord God with her heart, mind, and soul…the first and greatest commandment ever given.” To know that the Presence of God resided within her individual consciousness was the first step as she learned to love herself, completely and wholly, without guilt. Loving one’s self had been erringly taught as selfish. In spiritual reality, it is the foundation on which all spiritual growth occurs.
Taught from within, she placed her hands upon her abdomen…fingers pointed down toward her pelvic bone and thumbs upon her navel. She had felt a deep emptiness until she was guided in this process. In her thoughts, she silently stated, “Dearest Father/Mother Creator of All That Is, God within…I love you.” An inner glowing warmth flooded from the core of her heart and soul and filled her being with liquid, divine love. As the sensation subsided, she whispered silently, “I still feel the need to experience more love” and the infinite and unconditional warmth filled her again and again. No inner Presence called her greedy. No inner Presence denied her request, no matter how many times it was called upon. Now that Gloria loved herself, she could freely and willingly love others, as needed. She would never withhold information or love in any form and she, like He Who maintained and sustained her, would never tell another that the gift to give was limited. Others could take what they needed, and she would continue to give unconditionally as she, herself, had received, because there is plenty for everyone.
That evening in her husband’s arms, the inner glow surrounded and filled them as she whispered, “I love our life together, I love our family, I love life itself…and I love you… Won’t it be a wonderful world when others feel and experience the Divine Spark within themselves and their relationships?” She saw a shining tear in his eye in the moonlight and watched as he nodded his head in total silence.
The ending? Speaking critically of one another and not taking responsibility for hurtful words, denying that the spoken word has power, for there are no idle words. All create on some level. The beginning? This moment: Allowing gratitude to be the greatest attitude in one’s home…and in one’s life. In doing so and by focusing on your loved one’s light rather than their darkest shadows…well, don’t be surprised by the results of you moonlighting as a Lamplighter. The salary and your efforts may be minimum, but the payoff is maximum divine security….
Once upon a time, a gallant, brave, dashing Knight (named Kirk) journeyed through life with high ideals and aspirations. He offered kindness and love to all he touched. Kirk’s armor protected him from the harsh elements of life, his word was mightier than his sword…and he rode a pure white Unicorn that symbolized his purity of heart and intention.
A sojourn took the Knight to the most Northern part of a distant land and there he met a Damsel (named Gloria) in distress. Just in the nick of time, Kirk literally swept her off her feet. With his mighty strength, he lifted her gently to sit next to him atop the Unicorn and they both soared to unknown heights.
Kirk took Gloria up into the stars and she thought she must have been dreaming. They slid down from the Unicorn and stood face-to-face, looking deeply into one another’s eyes. In the silence of the Universe, they embraced, each feeling the warmth and security of one another. For the briefest of moments, beyond time and space, they escaped society’s eyes, judgments, and criticisms…experiencing a Oneness of Spirit.
The Knight whispered to Gloria,
“If you ever feel alone, just look to the stars…
For in one, I’ll be smiling, through another,
I’ll send love…. Remember to give thanks for those stars up above,
For in them are beauty, love, and light…. guidance, direction,
and me…your White Knight.”
In the stillness of the morn, the Damsel replied, “Memories of our magical and precious moments, together, are my prized treasures. They need never be locked away in a safety deposit box, for no one can steal them and no flood can destroy them. They are forever in safekeeping.”
With those words, she placed a timepiece of gold upon Kirk’s wrist. The Knight didn’t need a tangible object to remind him that their time would come, however, he graciously accepted the token of her love. He knew that the greatest gift there is…is one you can give away….
Within the timepiece sat four small diamonds that sparkled like the stars, in the pattern of north/south/east and west. Was it “coincidence” or did they somehow symbolize four children that would one day grow and go in separate directions in life?
In a Holy Moment, beyond time and space, Kirk and Gloria surrendered their personal Wills, placing their lives in the hands of God and “His Time.” Each pledged their hearts to one another and believed in one another, as well as in God.
There is no ending to the brief, but lovely encounter. The beginning is accepting that once true love is experienced – one can no longer settle for less and be satisfied. As Kirk and Gloria know it – time knows no existence, for as they were, as they are, and as they shall be…intertwines in that timeless reunion of All That Was, All That Is, and All That Is To Be.
Therein, my friend, my love, my partner…lies our happily-ever-after.
Update: When Kirk proposed, on bended knee, he said, “I want to be the father to your children, I want you to be the mother to mine…and I want to awaken, each morning, with you at my side. I accepted.
When we were trying to find a minister to marry us, we were told by one, “I’d rather perform a burial ceremony than a wedding.” Others wanted us to join their church prior to a ceremony. After countless attempts, we found a faith that would join us as man and wife, however, we were asked to rent a hall to do so. In our tiny town, that request was no easy task.
One afternoon, I was inspired to approach the local “Chantilly Theater” and the owner happily rented us the building. It was around Christmas, decorated with flowers, gifts, and large bows hanging from the theater curtains. Earlier that day, Kirk’s mom and my mom placed the cake and reception tables “behind the closed curtains.”
Looking like a “Barbie bride,” my Knight, in a Tux…joined hands, hearts, and minds in holy matrimony. Following the ceremony, the theater curtains were opened – and much to Kirk’s and my surprise, LARGE SILVER STARS (for an upcoming Christmas pageant) adorned the black backstage curtain. He and I looked at one another, in awe, because “six years earlier,” the tale had already been written. Amazing. Simply amazing.
Once upon a time, planet Earth was an amusement park, where children roamed freely to play. Smiling children sat in swings, with straps, to give added security. Teeter-totters went up and down, with each child attempting to rattle the other’s teeth by hitting directly upon the ground. This, too, brought squeals of delight. The slides had children lined up; taking turns to coast with great speed to the bottom. Merry-go-rounds took “team effort” to spin so rapidly that all would be thrilled with momentary dizziness. Yes, life was fun, and then something changed.
Negative individuals took away the security of others using and enjoying the playground to the fullest. Those same individuals completely lost their balance, remaining and living with nothing but negative conditioning. This, in turn, taught them greed and they began sliding further into the negative. Feeling all-powerful, they began pushing others around! They no longer chose to go round and round, they wanted off the playground – at any expense – even if it be their own.
The entire playground was littered with old, worn-out attitudes and ideals and it was so ugly to see, but it seemed too far gone to be saved.
One day, a young man came to the playground. He saw that these terrorists had the upper hand and he also noticed that they didn’t think too highly of themselves…and for this, more than any other reason, he was sad. These were not “bad” children, they were confused and he offered to re-teach them how to share and to allow others the privilege of enjoying the playground.
They rebuked him, heaping insults upon him, along with comments, “No one asked for your help, why don’t you just split, man?” He calmly explained that it was everyone’s playground and that new rules were being made.
You will learn to be nice to others;
You will respect this property and play by the rules or not at all on this playground.
He continued, “It’s your choice to follow those rules or to continue your negative acts of violence. The rules are being changed NOW and you either play nice – or not at all here.”
The children did not realize this teacher’s strength in his gentleness, for he had quite a small stature. Nor could they understand “where he was coming from.” However, they had dealt with larger adversaries than this and they raised clubs, knives, and chains to attack him. The man did not raise his voice from a normal tone of speaking, but yet his words froze in mid-air as he spoke, “STOP NOW.” (He didn’t want to harm the children. They would be responsible for their own actions if they took further recourse to be a menace in his presence.
Something inside each of the children told them to go home, think about what this man had to say, and to believe in his newly established “rules.” But, they chose instead to force the issue. They had bullied so many and hadn’t they been taught that there was safety in numbers? They again raised their weapons, took one step towards the man…and turned on each other. This was a surprise to the onlookers and all were confused, for was this man a magician or a warlock?
He spoke to the crowd that he had come in the name of peace, that he was truly saddened by the display of violence, but in the name of love – they had made their own choice. He also stated that such events would continue on this playground until everyone “cleaned up their act,” for there is no more complacency towards negative acts of violence to children on this planet.
He explained, “I am not a witch, I merely projected the light of God to these individuals. Upon this radiant beam of light is love, which is intended for the whole of humanity’s safety and protection. To those, who know not love – for self or others – they shall have their hatreds and fears mirrored back upon themselves. Each must look, honestly, at their individual lives and attitudes and ask, “Am I a swinger or do I like to push others around?” This display only proves that negative conditioning hurts no one, but self.”
This man’s message for each and every soul flowed forth: “This Earth is returning to an amusement park where all can play in unison to the tune of peace. Harmony in the greatest sense is being restored for now and evermore. You will roam the countryside freely, you can play to your heart’s content, without fear, and you can rejoice – for it is the truth.”
The only ending was for those, who (through Free Will,) chose to intimidate others with false strength, threatening the enjoyment of others and vandalizing the lives of the children who willingly follow the New Golden Age Rules. The beginning is awareness that this isn’t a fairy tale at all, but a reality of our future tomorrow’s. Recognize the importance of your light, alone, to become a part of this great plan of team effort so we can all have a Merry-Go-Round.
To the Reader: Allowing a little bully to grow to a bigger bully is not an act of love. Perhaps we can unveil “why this person is a bully in the first place, healing the cause.” Allowing someone to be harmful to self or others, again, is not an act of love.
Once upon a present day time, an Adult Child (named Linda) found herself wanting to test her cleverness concerning her existence. She had countless skills and wanted to combine those talents with newfound ingenuity to solve the riddle of her life.
Life had always puzzled Linda. She was baffled by certain events that had occurred. Painful and perplexing memories from her past bewildered her.
The ingenious Adult Child chose to build a miniature, 3-D puzzle of her life. Linda knew that once all the pieces were in place, she would be able “to see the bigger picture,” and finally understand these experiences. She set about purchasing the needed materials and tools, construction paper, paints and Balsa Wood. Setting a card table in the middle of her room, she quietly sat, questioning herself whether she was truly willing to tackle such a project? She knew if she began, she would have to complete it.
Linda made a silent commitment to do whatever it took, whether it took years of her life or but a short amount of time. Memories filled her mind from long ago, of a friend who wanted to lose weight. The friend had failed on every diet she had tried, overwhelming herself with the end result of losing 30 extra pounds. It wasn’t until the friend discovered that, in reality, she only had to lose a pound, at a time. In reaching her short-term goal, it built her friend’s confidence and the weight loss was no longer difficult. Her goal was a personal rewarded effort that she could always use and be proud of.
Linda gave silent thanks to be reminded of this memory to establish a short-term goal and work towards it. In doing so, she wouldn’t overwhelm herself with the project at hand. A day at a time, the Adult Child would work on solving the puzzle.
She laid a 4′ X 4′ thin sheet of wood atop a card table, which would be the foundation for the story of her life to unfold upon. Before she began cutting, pasting and building, Linda painted a landscape on the board. Blues and whites for capped ocean waves, green meadows and brown, green, and golden mountains. Symbolically this would speak to her of the peaks and valleys of her life.
The days and weeks passed with Linda carefully cutting each piece of her life from the Balsa Wood, painting it or covering it with colored construction paper and attempting to fit each piece of the puzzle together.
As she returned to her childhood memories, she slowly cut a heart out of wood and colored it carefully in red. Holding it in her hands, she placed pressure on both oval, curved sides and broke the little heart in two. In remembering her pain, hot salty tears flowed down her cheeks. She silently questioned, “How could I have been so betrayed? What did I do to deserve to be hurt so badly?” Still hurting, she tucked the broken heart into the adjoining pieces, trusting that soon she would be able to see the whole picture of her life from a new perspective.
From deep within, Linda continued to build her 3-D puzzle. Some days were harder than others to continue, but she persevered.
As a small child, Linda wet the bed and after the beatings from her father, she was forced to wash the sheets with a toothbrush in the bathtub. For this memory, she drew a monster uglier than any other she’d ever seen. She placed this piece of the puzzle next to the broken heart.
For a moment, the Adult Child smiled, remembering her special 7th birthday when she was given a shiny bike. She had felt so proud that she could ride with the wind! The smile, however, quickly faded as the monster returned. The party was ruined as Linda’s mother was beaten. The child, and the shiny, new bike became the spoils of the monster.
The Adult Child drew and cut the bike from Balsa Wood. She painted it with glossy, red paint and allowed it to dry and then cut the wheels from the bike before placing it within her puzzle. It would symbolize the loss of her freedom. Her broken toy joined the broken heart.
Linda soon discovered that the monster enjoyed hurting her and forced her to do things, which she knew in her heart, were bad. No adult, not even her mother attempted to rescue her. He took photos, which shamed her. Unbelievable pain filled her heart in remembering, as she cut a puppet from the Balsa Wood. She looped black; yarn strings into the wood and glued them to the monster. At that time in her life, there was no escape.
Next to the bed they shared was a jar which housed gold fish and lying at the bottom, Linda could see silver dollars. She would quietly fantasize, at night, that she could rob the jar and pay someone to take her to her mother. The monster lived the outlaw life, having guns for toys, exercising the right to shoot-outs in the presence of the child.
To combine these two memories, Linda drew a convict in black and white prison jerseys, holding a gun in a robbery of a bank teller. The monster had robbed her innocence and no amount of money could buy her happiness. The puzzle piece fit tightly and perfectly next to the others.
The monster forced Linda to take pills and threatened if she told anyone of the things he had done, he would kill her and the mother. He didn’t have to kill her, for inside, she already felt dead. The inner child had perished long ago. For Linda’s 3-D puzzle, she cut a tombstone out of the Balsa Wood. In small lettering, she wrote her name; her birth and death date and cried aloud as she lettered, “Rest in Peace.”
At age 24, Linda broke the vow of silence (forced upon her by the monster) to her ex-husband, who accused her of lying. Without the validation and necessary healing, she journeyed on a self-destructive mission. A decade of drug addiction followed, as the young woman attracted abusive monsters to mentally, physically, emotionally and sexually resume where her daddy had left off.
For the 3-D puzzle, Linda cut a phonograph record out of the Balsa Wood. She used a tool to make the grooves in the disk-shaped object and to fully complete the symbolized effort; she scratched the record deeply across the indentations. This piece, like all the others, fit perfectly into place, which would heal the repeated painful and dysfunctional pattern she unknowingly recreated time and time again.
Weeks had now passed since she began this project and now as she looked at the puzzle, and seeing it in a more completed form, she recognized why her life had been so filled with pain. There had been nothing of beauty to look upon. There had been only sadness, pain, and misery.
Not blaming or hating, she could look back and now understand why she had made the choices she had. Being robbed, at a tender age, of innocence, self-esteem and self-confidence had modeled her present day world.
As she looked at the puzzle, she became aware of the ugliness. Where was the love? The gentleness? The compassion and trust? Where was the closeness of a family, morals, bonding, and dreams? At that moment, Linda realized fully what she must do.
Immediately, she sat in silent prayer, not asking, nor telling the Divine anything of what she thought she needed or wanted. Rather, she sat with a listening attitude. Her prayer was this:
“I know now I’m a good girl and I don’t deserve to be abused in any way! I am worth loving, I am smart, I am pretty, and thanks to you, God, I feel very confident about the great unknown of the rest of my life. Fill me with Divine Ideas of what it is You want me to have and I open myself to receive. Amen.”
One-by-one, images were born in Linda’s mind. A soft, white bunny with tall, floppy ears, a pink nose and black, strand whiskers. She remembered it as a stuffed toy she had admired as a child. The vision recaptured a memory of her innocence. She drew the bunny and fit the piece into the puzzle. She could see the bunny, ever-so-clearly in her mind. She could almost feel the soft fur of its body as she brought it to life on the paper.
Next, she saw a Fawn in an open field. It was delicate and pure and she knew it symbolized gentleness, which she desperately wanted to feel from friends and a future man companion. She drew the Fawn, and it, like all the other pieces, fit perfectly into her puzzle.
A soft yellow rosebud, tinged with pink at the edges appeared in her mind, along with a sister seed of a full-grown rose. As she drew the image, she had a vision that the bud was her when she was a child. Beautiful, but closed to prevent harm. Awareness and time had folded back the petals, with an ever-expanding consciousness that now beheld love, purity and beauty. The puzzle was nearing completion.
Now, as her eyes rested upon beauty, her vision was filled with herself as a fiveyear-old child. In a pink and white checked jumper and her eyes shining, the smile that appeared would have brought tears to anyone’s eyes! The inner child hadn’t died afterall, she was alive and well and wanted to play!!! She wanted to run and swim, dance and sing, she wanted to look forward to holding hands with a boy and blushing from a first kiss!
Though Linda was now a grown woman, she was going to begin this day by allowing her inner child to experience those golden moments. She placed a before and after photo of herself in the puzzle.
The Adult Child looked at her puzzle of life and sighed as she saw past, present and future build a 3-D tapestry before her, however, she hesitated in announcing the project as complete. The pieces all fit; but somehow, she had this nagging feeling that there was still a missing piece. To all appearances, the puzzle was solved; it
was whole and complete.
Linda had a choice. She could trash the puzzle or she could search inwardly for the missing piece.
Again, she looked at what the entire picture was telling her. She saw her past for what it was. Her present offered recovery and acceptance. Her future melted into the now by placing her attention upon beauty, kindness, gentleness, love and the purity of the rose.
What had been omitted? She closed her eyes and within her inner vision, she saw the missing piece.
A double rainbow, in all His Glory, arched across the sky. It was the first one Linda had ever seen, coming at a time when she had admitted her entire life openly. She inwardly knew that the rainbows were a sign, especially for her, from God, telling her that everything would be all right. Doubly all-right!
In watercolors, she painted the double rainbow and as it dried, she placed the final piece of the puzzle in place.
There is no ending to the pieces of life we’re given. The real beginning began the moment Linda chose to heal her perspective of her past experiences, and to understand her choices and decisions. Courageously, she was willing to “see the bigger picture,” understanding that she could help countless others. She had learned compassion, she had learned gentleness and self love. She realized, too, that no matter what our life appears to be, we are each here to make a contribution to others within society…a contribution to the world as a whole… Linda’s riddle was solved. Life no longer remained a puzzle.
To The Reader:
Linda, at this time, (Spring of 1995) is serving her final months of incarceration in a minimum-security prison in California. She was able, because of her incarceration, to locate friends of her father who had known him well. (Her father had been killed several years ago in a motorcycle accident.)
One of the things Linda learned via correspondence with a now, much older Outlaw friend who rode with and loved her father was that her father’s father was a monster, too. Unlike Linda, he was never able to pull the pieces of himself together in order to see the bigger picture.
Love surrounds Linda in the form of a husband who adores her two little boys that need her, friends that listen to and support her, and a few old Outlaws that care enough to help her reconstruct her past.
It is Linda’s dream to help others learn how to piece their lives together, to put their monsters to rest.
Latest Update July, 2003:
Yearly, at Christmas time, I am remembered by Linda and her beautiful family with a photo and expression of gratitude. When Linda paroled, she managed a “half-way” apartment house for other ex-convicts. Respected, compassionate, organized, and openhearted, she helped countless others, recovering from life in prison, gain a strong and steady foothold upon society. I have had the pleasure of traveling to California on two occasions to meet her, hold her, express my pride, and to recapture the miracle of not only our meeting – but her recovery, as well.
I noticed recently, that I am tremendously content. I just finished writing my 18th book. I look forward to the day when the book, “Between Saint & Sinner” that Linda K. (Nikki) Fudge and I wrote, together. It was written while she was incarcerated. The reader, of this title, would find a “twist,” in this writing, however. Most titles of this nature relate an experience of a “Saint saving a Sinner.” In this book, the opposite is true. You, who find my books helpful…would discover that, without Nikki Fudge, I would have never have become who I am today.
In a workshop, following Nikki’s release from prison and joining me to teach across the nation, she made a statement before a Boise, Idaho audience that I, still to this day, hold close to my heart. “Everyone turns to Gloria for help – but, it took her…finding an ex-heroin junkie, in prison, to find someone who would listen to her.” She spoke the truth. When countless people thank me for being the “instrument to save their life,” I wonder, “Did Nikki know that she saved mine?”
I don’t know if a publisher will ever give me the opportunity to make this fact known, (by publishing “Between Saint & Sinner,”) therefore, I’m making it known today HOW IMPORTANT SHE WAS NOT ONLY IN MY LIFE, BUT YOURS…IF YOU HAVE EVER BEEN HELPED THROUGH MY WRITINGS. Nikki Fudge deserves the true credit, even if it’s only stated on this webpage.
I am choosing to download a “Personalized Fairytale” once a month for your enjoyment. All my tales are written, concerning real people, true experiences, dreams, visions, revelations, and modern-day miracle stories.
My spiritual awakening revealed a gift, besides healing, in my beginning years. I realized that if I met or listened to someone with a problem, a “title” would appear in my thoughts. If I wrote the title down, an entire “personalized” tale would follow, without effort. I soon found myself getting creative, using watercolor parchment and painting a rainbow, allowing it to dry, and typing the tale for the individual. Framed, they became beautiful gifts, expressed as I wrote each with the emotion I felt for…or as the individual spoke.
My first fairytale book, for adults, “To Become as Little Children” unknowingly began in September, 1986 when I was trying desperately to find a wedding gift for friends. The shopping had turned to frustration and anxiety because all I found was either too big, not enough sentiment to show my love, or too impractical (even if it was pretty.) Hours were spent in the hustle and bustle, only to return empty-handed and broken hearted because that special gift couldn’t be found.
In silence, the voice of my soul said, “It’s not what you give, but how you give it. It doesn’t have to carry an expensive label or tag to allow the receiver knowledge of how much you want them to “have only the best.” Any gift given, from the heart and with love, is more priceless than any tangible object you could purchase.”
“Give of yourself,” my soul continued to guide, “It can’t be written in a “gifts received section,” but it will be written indelibly in their hearts that it’s the greatest gift you can give.”
Since that time, I have written scores of (personalized) fairytales and poetry – typing, framing, and giving them as gifts to friends, family, children, celebrities, and strangers. I have never called myself a literary giant and I’m not saying anything that’s never been said before. However, I discovered that the tales helped many on a personal level. I convinced myself that they should be compiled and that they could help many others.
While Nikki was illustrating “To Become as Little Children,” behind prison walls, she related the following in one of her letters: “Inmates gather, together, and we read one tale at a time. It seems we can only handle one per reading because we cry, process our pain, and heal through these tales.” To you, perhaps you’ll become aware of these Divine messages and incorporate them in your current situations and find the same peace.
Throughout my life, I have been described as an innocent Pollyanna-type and countless people have gossiped and wondered if I’d ever grow up. If, acting my age, means that I must conform to a group of misguided souls who are full of cynicism and social acceptance believes this “to be adult,” I’ll label myself, with pride, … I’m a child at heart.
I believe the “story behind the story” is miraculous in itself. In those cases, I will relate this, as well. When possible, I will follow up with the effects of the tale and the individual’s life, as well.
Hundreds-upon-hundreds and perhaps even into the thousands…I have written endless numbers of fairytales. Although I may never have another opportunity to be published, you and I are not limited, because…with modern technology, beginning here and now…you can enjoy some TALES FROM THE LIGHT SIDE…
Gloria D. Benish, Ph.D.
(Alias: Dr. Glo-bug – Just here TO LIGHTEN THINGS UP!)
Once upon a time, a young and beautiful Maiden (named Nikki) broke the laws established within the Kingdom and found herself condemned to the dungeons of darkness. She was surrounded by countless lost souls, all being judged by society as sinners.
In reviewing her past, Nikki felt an overwhelming sadness. She had been a teenage “know-it-all,” a teenage runaway, and discovered through personal experience where her wild side would bitterly end, in teenage pregnancy. Her son, Shayne, was born into a negative life in the fast lane. Coddling and nurturing were unheard of and he was grateful for every crumb of attention. Shayne loved his mother beyond words and was mesmerized by her inner and outer beauty.
Nikki was honest with Shayne, even as a young lad. She shared that she received money from men for sexual favors. Nightly, Shayne curled into an easy-chair near the window, looking out to the midnight stars, praying his mother would come safely home.
Most nights, his prayers were answered. Other times, Shayne’s grandmother would take him to a health-care unit to hold his mother’s hand as she recovered from being stabbed, strangled, and sometimes even raped.
Guilt of tremendous proportions filled Nikki’s heart. She questioned if she could do anything right. Her pain became intense and to numb herself from the harshness she had created for herself and others, she found solitude in the form of chemicals. The substance became her best friend. It was loyal and served its purpose well. At the time, it seemed like the only thing to do.
Though Nikki hated the burning, stinging twinge of the countless needle pricks, that self-inflicted pain was minimal to the amount of distress, despair and misery she felt without it. To sedate her emotions to the extent of having no feelings was the ultimate power that ruled her very existence.
To the dismay of her son, family, friends and co-workers, they knew that Nikki was hell-bent on self-destruction, and they felt powerless. She would lie, cheat, and steal to support her comforter.
Alas, her choices had been made and in the family’s eyes, there were only two possible end results. (1) A miracle must occur to turn her life around. (2) She would die, for her $600/day heroin habit could not be sustained indefinitely. Nikki had gambled with life, taking every risk she possibly could. One day, the dice would fall and her number would be up.
As Lady Luck would have it, a miracle did present itself. She was arrested and sentenced to 12 long years for her third conviction. Nikki’s wings were clipped, and she found herself as a jailbird, locked away in a black hole of concentrated negativity.
Depressed, alone, scared and coming down from heroin withdrawal, Nikki stood upon her top bunk. She looked up to the Heavens, in her mind, requesting God to let her come home. “Please let me come home now,” she begged, just before she fell towards the surface that would surely introduce her to death and to ultimate freedom from pain. Milliseconds before she took the head-first, high dive, her attention was drawn to an inmate in her peripheral vision. Nikki turned and as she fell, she fractured her spine and both wrists.
The Night Watchmen, thinking it was a ploy to get more drugs, ignored Nikki’s cries for help. Pain, coupled with heroin withdrawal, in that moment and in the days to come, took on an entirely new dimension. She was angered “because she couldn’t even perform her own death successfully.
As the life of Nikki was unfolding, far, far away in a different State (of awareness,) a Saintly woman (named Gloria) was busy performing daily miracles and writing inspirational works of art. When Gloria was good, she was very, very good. When she was bad, well, she wasn’t…because she was too afraid to be bad.
Gloria had been raised sheltered from life. Her ventures outside the Kingdom were limited, for her parents wanted to protect her from as much ugliness as they could within their power. Gloria was kind and loving to one and all, treating commoners and royalty alike. She always did unto others as she would have wanted them to do unto her.
She lived in a home of glass and stone and to all appearances, her world was magical and perfect. She always had a smile on her face and uplifting words for each she met daily. She gave hope to the hopeless, encouraged the discouraged and spiritually fed countless souls. However, Gloria felt as though she was a prisoner, locked behind doors. A bird, without a song, trapped in a gilded cage. But, alas, for appearances’ sake, she would never voice her true feelings aloud.
There were times that Gloria felt guilty. According to world standards, she had it all. In her heart, however, there was a void, a deep, dark abyss that no amount of human love could fill. She was empty, but had learned long ago how to numb herself from feelings. No chemicals were needed to anesthetize the pain she felt.
Gloria had been Graced by the Almighty with a spiritual healing gift and yet her world was filled with imperfection, loneliness and dysfunction. At a moment’s notice, when called upon by others, she would go within, touch the hem of the Robe of Christ and watch as each received their miracles. She never once thought to heal her own life, however. That’s how saints are though, or so we’ve been taught through stories of ages gone by. To think of one’s own needs appears as selfish. To give of yourself, even if that means giving every last ounce of energy to make this world a better place to be, then so it shall be. Or, anyway, so she believed…
Through a daughter of a friend, Nikki heard of miracles occurring through the saintly woman. Shortly thereafter, on a golden afternoon, in the month of May, a Dove of Peace descended, delivering a letter into Gloria’s hands. She opened the envelope and in beautiful handwriting, Nikki’s tale of woe was revealed. Gloria realized that her safe, sane, goody-two-shoes, saintly world had just collided with someone who lived a life she had only read of. Fully innocent to Nikki’s chosen reality, Gloria responded immediately. That’s what any other saint would have done, is it not?
In the letter, Gloria instructed Nikki that though she was in an extremely negative environment, to imagine a little miniature angel sitting on her shoulder. An angel who’s not limited by a physical body and can do anything. Gloria called upon the Faithful Dove to deliver the message to the stranger in need.
Nikki received Gloria’s heart-felt letter and the words seemed to be magical. The sentences were filled with genuine love, compassion and acceptance. It was as a soothing balm to her soul.
As a gift of loving thanks, Nikki retrieved her only personal possessions from beneath her bed. She lifted the lid to the aging trunk and thought how symbolic it was that it was empty. A reflection of all that her past had given her. From the chest, she clutched four colored pencils, the only tools she had available to create a gift for Gloria.
Borrowing a scrap of parchment, Nikki made a homemade card, a self-drawn portrait of herself in soft pink and violet pastels. Standing naked before the world, her long blonde hair flowed softly against her shoulders, her blue-gray eyes so clear you could see to the very goodness and core of her soul and her breasts were the clouds. Sitting atop her shoulder was a little angel.
Inside the card, she wrote, “Gloria, I am announcing the birth (or rebirth as I used to talk to my Guardian Angel when I was a child) of Amalie. She arrived on May 24th of this year after the receipt of your most welcome and appreciated letter. As you can see by our picture, we get along just great so far. Thank you! With warmth and care, Nikki.”
This treasure arrived days later, at Gloria’s home, once again delivered by the Dove of Peace. As Gloria viewed the delicate, lovely artwork, she felt a direct, inner knowingness that Nikki was to be the illustrator for the inspirational book she had just completed. She responded as quickly as she could. Gloria did not want to lose touch with this incredibly gifted, artistic genius!! In the letter, Gloria explained that she didn’t have financial reimbursement to pay Nikki for her talent. She requested that the drawings be created “as a demonstration of faith” and that when published, she would receive percentages from all books sold.
Nikki excitedly agreed and the two joined hands as partners in various creative projects that would help masses of people, whether locked behind door or bars. Months passed with “chain letters” and two Doves were needed to handle the bulk of mail. The ladies were fast becoming friends, bonded deeper than most people experience on a physical, daily basis.
Over the course of time, each of their fears were unveiled and healed, insecurities faded and secrets and shadows were shared. In sharing their lives and experiences, they watched as one miracle after another occurred through their writings. They discussed the possibility of combining their actual letters into book form. They teasingly spoke of entitling it, “PARDON US FOR LIVING.”
For themselves or others to read the manuscript, which would remain unedited, revealed to their amazement that two situations were clearly visible in the writings. (1) Each letter was clearly dated. As Gloria asked a question of Nikki or vice versa, the answer was forthcoming as the letters crossed in the mail. (2) Throughout the book, if the reader didn’t look to the end of each letter to discover whether Nikki or Gloria wrote it, one would never know “who was the teacher, who was the student, who’s the Saint and who is the sinner???” Each was both and neither. They were just two people doing the best they could with the awareness they had.
Both ladies were honest with one another at all times and freely discussed situations as they arose. Gloria questioned herself one day if what she was doing was because she truly loved Nikki, as a dear friend, or was it just another attempt to have others look to her and respond, “How nice it is of Gloria to give someone like that a chance!” She had to be honest with herself, for if she was using another’s talents, to selfishly fulfill a dream or to once again be looked upon as a Saint, then she was, indeed, doing it for the wrong reason and would more-than-likely create a lesson from the experience. Gloria soul-searched her heart, released every prejudgment in her mind and wrote a note of sincere appreciation to Nikki for mirroring her judgements and fears in order that she could experience a true healing.
Gloria, now knowing that she would defend her friend, to death if need be, felt self-assured in true and pure friendship.
In excitement during the first year of corresponding, Gloria innocently and excitedly shared the relationship with those who were near and dear to her heart. Innocent and unaware that her friends were talking behind her back, one afternoon, she sadly discovered the superficiality.
The tale unfolded with Mabel and Martha*, sitting in a restaurant booth, unaware that Gloria was in the next booth. Their conversation began to center around her and the correspondence between Gloria and Nikki.
Mabel began by asking Martha “If she’d heard the latest about Gloria’s ADOPT AN INMATE” and she responded, “No, but I can’t wait to hear!” Proudly, Mabel started running off at the mouth and Gloria was shocked, hurt and embarrassed by how her friends saw her. Mabel’s lack of sensitivity to the situation and relationship cut Gloria to the bone, but Martha’s words were like adding salt to the wound: “Since day one when Gloria told me about this situation, I wasn’t being totally honest with her. But I thought she was being too innocent and really setting herself up for a fall! I mean, God, let’s be realistic, Nikki is pure white trash and trash is trash. Drugs, prostitution, topless dancing, and have you heard the latest? Burglary! She probably is the liar and cheat that her family believed her to be! I’m just concerned that Gloria’s going to get a knife in the back, figuratively OR LITERALLY. You know the connections Nikki has!”
Gloria, at this point, could stand no more and surprised the two ladies by leaping out of her seat and boldly standing in Nikki’s defense. They were both embarrassed beyond words that their shallowness had been revealed in the light of day. Adrenaline filled Gloria and with great authority, she spoke: “You, who say you are my friends and that you know me…know only what I’ve allowed you to see! Like you, I wear make-up to cover the flaws and imperfections, but Nikki has taught me that they are a beautiful part of the journey. In the beginning, I asked you both to not place me on a pedestal…because I’m too short to look up to but Nikki stood upon the pedestal, seeing through my humor which was covering up my fears and pain that you neither had the eyes to see. With gentle, but mighty strength, she pulled me up to stand next to her in order to overcome my fear of heights.
You have labeled me innocent and Nikki pure white trash and you certainly have part of that right, for she is pure. Only your judgements have made her guilty, for she is truly an innocent Child Of God and He looks upon her with no less love than another. And how it is that you can presuppose that Nikki is the liar and cheat, when it is I who have lived the life of a lie? I have been a Chameleon, changing my colors, beliefs and attitudes to receive approval, and have I not cheated you out of knowing the REAL me? I have lived a good life, mainly due to my fear of being bad or losing your approval, so I ask you, WHO IS BEING MORE REAL? Which one is truly living the life???
Nikki’s ability to listen to me, to really hear me, served as the Vanishing Cream (erasing worries, concerns, pretention and fears) that denied me living my life to the fullest. She is a heroine in my eyes and please don’t get that confused with her past addiction. She is one of the bravest, most courageous women I have ever had the pleasure of meeting.
Don’t be too smug in your false concern of my well being that Nikki will stab me in the back, for I have experienced, this moment, THE KNOWINGNESS THAT I AM THE CONQUERING CHRIST STANDING FORTH. Not only did I experience your double-edged sword in the back, but you ripped my heart out and I am here to tell you that I STILL LIVE. No physical attack can destroy the REAL ME, nor can you or others of like mind hinder the Destiny He has prepared for Nikki and me.
You, who blow horns of pomp and circumstance, and say you KNOW God and yet judge Nikki…know Him not, or you would bow down and kiss her feet and the ground she stands upon. She has taken a path that, in society’s eyes, judgements and criticisms is viewed as wrong. But can’t you understand that ALL paths lead to the One? We all take the journey into love, but can’t you see? We’re on our own path, there are just different ways of getting there? Yes, I’m innocent and AS GOD IS MY WITNESS, so is Nikki and anyone who doesn’t understand that, doesn’t know the meaning of the word!”
Still, the friendship grew and five long years passed as the two most-humanly-unlikely people joined talents to touch humanity. Gloria went within the dungeon to personally greet, hug and bring light to her friend’s soul. Gloria wrote to the Governors of California and Montana, requesting early parole and release based on rehabilitation that clearly revealed Nikki’s attitude, actions and service to others through speaking at the Substance Abuse Class within prison walls. She wrote to the present-day Father to the Nation, requesting a Presidential Pardon and tirelessly sought Knights In Shining Armor, to use their magical swords to cut through the red tape. All requests were denied and Gloria felt like she had failed her friend.
On a golden afternoon, she received a letter from Nikki. She read the message: “I chose this path, my friend. To all outer appearances, I am a prisoner — in reality, my Spirit is free. If the Master Jesus walked this Earth today, where would you find Him? Would it be in churches or synagogues? I pray not, my friend, for those who enter dwellings to receive their spiritual food have an already established sense of the Presence of God.”
The message continued, “Give me your tired, your weary, down-trodden, your hungry souls and I’ll give the answer where to find the majority of them…behind prison walls. Gloria, prisons around the world are where the Master would be, for that is where He would find those who need Him. In service to the Master, I am not to be released yet, though I would love to journey physically with you to teach others of our creative works. I am needed here, my love, to touch souls, who the Bible, the churches and other attempts have failed to do. When I have touched all those I have been destined to reach, I will then, and only then, experience true freedom and I’ll fly those friendly skies with you.”
In the letter, on the final page, Gloria attempted to read Nikki’s words and each attempt failed for wracking sobs and floods of salty tears streamed down her cheeks. Nikki’s words read: “I want to get a bit mushy right now. I want you and the family to know how much it means to me that Shayne will be loved, welcomed and “familized” in your home for Thanksgiving. Gloria, you know the journey my son and I have been on trying to heal what seemed insurmountable. So much has changed in our relationship in the last five years, and it felt like slow or no progress for most of the time. In the last year, though (less actually) the progress and healing between us has been markedly noticeable. Don’t you dare not shoulder a big chunk of credit for that, my friend. Your love and faith in me gave him the opportunity to see me in a new light.
Our accomplishments, which your drive assumed most responsibility for, gave him pride in me. Putting his tale in To Become as Little Children gave him a sense of importance to me as well as us as a total unit. There’s more and you know exactly what I mean. All I could do for him was keep talking, growing and being honest with him. Just love him and hope I’d get a chance to show him how much. You bridged the distance for us by making me more real to him by showing him how valid and real I am to you and your family.
Now, Shayne will be at your table to give thanks. My life out there continues to become a more solid reality than the one in here. In the place you set for me, at holidays, my son will fill the space and chair. What a magical thing. Thank you for such a gift.”
The letter was signed simply, “I love you, Gloria. I love our life. I love our family. God Bless You — Your friend, Nikki.”
Gloria never could allow Nikki (or anyone for that matter) to have “the last word” so she responded accordingly. “Dearest Nikki, I think if I look at the larger picture, I can accept some credit for you, for you and Shayne’s relationship and for touching strangers. Part of not wanting to accept the credit was due to being humble. (Still trying to be a Saint, aren’t I?) If, however, I’m denying I have anything to do with people and their reconnection to God/goodness, then it’s a false humility and that would be hypocritical. I never wanted to experience a fat ego experience by mis-using my powers.
Okay, I did play a part in your relationship, mostly unseen and without physical effort though. I loved you, in fact I loved you and believed in you so much, that you finally had to believe in yourself. None of that belief in you took any effort on my part though, Nikki. It was just an established fact. From the beginning.
I just read a story yesterday, probably not by accident, which talked about teachers who believed they were teaching gifted children, when in fact, a computer error had been made and the children were actually slow learners. Through the teacher’s anticipation and excitement of working with highly intelligent children, she had no prejudgments and taught accordingly. The test results were amazing. What I’m getting at, is that in my mind, Shayne is a wonderful young man who children will absolutely adore. I see him watching football, hiking and fishing with my husband. I see him watching how our family works and loving being a part of it. I don’t have misconceptions or false beliefs filled with prejudgments of his past.
I had a part in you, only to the point of seeing the good that already existed within you. Not something I created, but something that was already there before you ever met me. (Same with Shayne.) When I put my attention on your wonderful, loving goodness, it was you who began to focus, holding yourself in higher regard. Shayne began assuming it, expecting it, becoming it. Sounds scientific or metaphysic, but whatever it’s called — I have proof that it works. I’m grateful I could be part of it because ya’ll give me some incredible topics to write and speak about. I love you, my dearest good buddy. I love and miss you bunches and bunches, heaps and tons. Always, Gloria.”
The ending is to the prejudgments we have against self, others, places and experiences. By healing and purifying the mind of learned behavior patterns and beliefs, we surrender and condition ourselves to the Greater Good that abounds within.
Nikki achieved a purpose and direction in life. She recently received a transfer to a smaller, minimum security institution, one step away from society and freedom to begin a life anew. Gloria became accustomed to speaking her true feelings and successfully and courageously said goodbye to a relationship that wasn’t satisfying and secure. In being more honest with herself, she attracted a loving mate and is living her happily-ever-after, awaiting Nikki’s arrival into her physical life with great anticipation.
The true beginning is accepting that life is like a balance beam. “When you walk the straight and narrow path” you walk with Grace, freedom from extremes and limitations of should’s, shouldn’ts, do’s and don’ts. Choices, beliefs and life’s false conditioning has been ingrained that “we should become a Saint” or we’re “bad” if we’re a sinner. Either is placing unacceptable demands upon us and we need only to remember that each of us, at any given point, is always doing the best we can with the awareness we have. True freedom, my friend, is Between Saint & Sinner.
*Mabel and Martha/symbolic of humanity
To The Reader: This fairytale is a condensed version of a true story between a convict/ex-junkie/artist (serving time in a California State Women’s Prison) and a housewife/mother/author/spiritual healer. Reprinted with permission from Miracle Publishing Company.