TALES FROM THE LIGHT SIDE
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!)
BETWEEN SAINT & SINNER
(Dedicated to Linda Kay Fudge)
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.