I’m haunted by her eyes. I don’t know if I’ll ever forget their intensity; how her spirit pulsated through the icy-blue, daring me to argue and at the same time begging me to prove her wrong. Life had dealt her a trashy hand and she was folding for the last time. Done with believing for things to turn about. Time to walk away.

“But there is still hope,” I urged. Always the optimist. Plagued with a God-given ability to believe when no one else would—or could.

Half of a mocking laugh escaped her shaking lips as she looked away and reached for her wine glass to take one more sip, gently coaxing the storm into submission. I saw the muscles in her jaw clench and release.

I know this seems impossible. I know the pain seems unbearable . . . but we believe in a God who delights in impossibilities. I can’t prove it, except with my life. I know that there is treasure hidden in the darkness! I know that there is hope . . . 

A scream echoes in the recesses of my mind from thousands of years past. A million labouring women, exhausted beyond measure. Certain they can’t take another blow, uselessly shaking their heads as though they can deny the inevitable continuation of this task. It will carry on until they have nothing left; no strength, no figure to speak of. Sweat-soaked hair and face, body torn, and a small child alive in their arms.

“There is treasure hidden in the darkness,” I repeat, almost to myself.

She looks back at me, the same defiance in her eyes, now only slightly masked by a glassy film of alcohol-induced haze.

“You believe in a fairytale,” she said and then smiled, as though she was looking at a child who hadn’t realized what the real world had in store.

But she didn’t know—she didn’t know I had visited the tormented world of grown-ups. I’d even lived there for many years. Crushed by it’s tyrannous leaders, called Fear and Shame. She didn’t know that I had been the anguishing woman, writhing in pain, only in the end to hold the gentle body of a lifeless child.

She didn’t know that I too had opened secret places in my heart and been betrayed in the most intimate way. That the echo in the abandoned walls of the castle in my soul was deafening most days.

She couldn’t possibly know. And even if she did, she couldn’t ever understand how I could still fumble forward, grasping for the hand of the One who promised to lead the blind by a way they had never known.

“Yes,” I answered. “I do believe in fairytales.”

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