In the fairy tale it is the clueless princess who gets pricked by a needle and falls into a deep, deep sleep. Rescued by a prince. A prince who stands in front of the hedge of briars suddenly yielding at his touch, letting him through to wake her with his love.
Reality is so the same. Yet so different.
No princess, I. No fairy wishes spoken at my birth. Instead, I wear dirty clothes. Beggar girl with a princess attitude, believing I deserve more. Cinderella in the ashes, dreaming of ball gowns and dainty shoes. But deserving of nothing more than being on knees, being on cold, hard stone. Humbled.
I move to a new house. It is not like the places I’ve lived in before. (Is it ever?) It is a dark, cold house. Unbelievably dirty. Always dark. Always cold. Fenced in on all sides by razor wire, because Africa’s dark heartbeat makes this a place where fairy tale monsters have to be kept out.
And thorny plants. Everywhere. Inhospitable, as if I’m Sleeping Beauty surrounded by sharpness. But I’m not asleep. It is here I wake, growing more and more into the awareness that has been lifting me out of dreams.
I look at all the different kinds of thorns here, and I am not sure if they are here to protect me or to bind me. There were thorns around Your head, thorns like these. A crown of pain. The briars didn’t yield for You, Prince who came to rescue me with Your love.
How could I, beggar girl, complain when the thorns prick me? Deflating me, letting out the prideful thing which wants, wants, wants? The unrelenting need to be noticed, to be cared for, to be acknowledged, to make a difference … to be seen.
I need these thorns to open me up. To bleed out the bad. Empty me out, Lord, empty me out!
Until, like You, I will only give, give, give.
This is the gift of bleeding from thorns: to stop wanting and to start giving.
In spite of.
Because from You I receive abundantly, I receive generously, I receive Your everything, Your very self. You notice me. You care for me. You acknowledge me. You let me make a difference. You see me.
You truly see me.
And finally being seen, I want one thing only: to give like You do. Through the thorns.