The King watched the sleeping Princess. She’d granted herself a Saturday morning lie in while her ex-husband visited the children, a rest which was soon to be interrupted. He needed to prepare her for the rudest awakening of her life.
As the Princess slept, the King sent her into a dream. She found herself in a desert in Egypt, overlooking a canal where a large crocodile threshed about in the water, a woman in its jaws. As she approached, the woman reached out to her for help. The Princess moved as close to the edge of the canal as she could, but could not deal with the crocodile. She called to the woman “I can’t reach you. You have to break free!” “I can’t. It has me!” the woman screamed. The dream rolled forward into real life as she awoke to a woman standing in her room!
The woman was an acquaintance from her school days who she caught up with from time to time. She jolted to wakefulness, with a feeling of annoyance and regret. All the Princess had wanted to do was sleep, but Thomas, her ex, had let her into the house. She sat up and rubbed her eyes. “Why are you here?” she asked. She had a nasty feeling about the dream. The woman pleaded “I need to talk to you about Hugh.” Now she knew who the crocodile was. She groaned as her feet hit the floor. “What do you want from me?” she asked the woman.
The woman talked as she threw on a pair of jeans, and followed her into the kitchen where she made coffee, her movements automatic. “My relationship with Hugh started six weeks ago …” she began. The Princess turned around and asked, “Why did you wait six weeks to come to me?” The woman replied “He told me you were mentally ill, and it would push you over the edge if you knew about us!” The Princess felt sick. A taste of bile mingled with the coffee. Would her punishment never end? Six weeks before, she thought she had finally gotten rid of him. Now he was back, sleeping with a friend and slandering her. Hurt upon hurt, and he had coldly and callously replaced her without even grieving for her.
Shaken by the dream, she knew she had to help, so she did her best and painfully told the truth about her affair. In her bruised mind, she no longer thought of what she grieved over as a ‘relationship’. As soon as the woman called ‘Kate’ had gone, she got out of town, numbly driving north to Auckland and Nerida. She badly needed distance, which she knew the days and the miles could not give her. She would soon have to return to the children, when their father returned to Australia. Peace, she needed peace. There was no peace upon her return. Kate contacted her saying, “I have listened to your counsel, and to what Hugh has said in reply. There are many things that you and he speak of that conflict, and I need to know what is true. I have decided to remain with Hugh. Perhaps it will be different with me.”
Knowing that again, she had not been heard or believed, she gave up and drank to the dregs the cup of bitterness. “Why did you come to me if you did not want to listen?” she asked in anguish.
Kate had no answer. Angry, the princess ground out “If you stay with him, you will be sorry.” Kate was silent. “What is he doing about his wife?” she asked angrily. “He did not say” replied Kate. The Princess retorted “Does that not concern you? It should! He persuaded me to leave everything, and gave me in return no status and endless strings of empty promises. Don’t you see that used the word ‘commitment’ like a charm, to lure you? Do you not know and can you not see that the only ‘commitment’ I had from him was as his mistress? What will he now make you?” Kate replied “He would not do that. He is a Christian.” The Princess snorted in derision as she replied “That is a lie. This man claims he knows the King, yet cleverly twists even the words that the King gives and speaks, so instead of life, there is death.” Kate shook her head as she replied “I know that you are bitter, but I will give it a chance.” The Princess raked her hands through her hair in distress. Her reply was terse. “If that is your choice, stay with him, and suffer the consequences … but please, do not have anything more to do with me while you remain with him. I need to heal. I can’t go on hearing about him, or his lies.”
The dragon appeared, laughing and sneering. “Be honest. You also cannot bear the thought of those two together, can you? And I am here to remind you. It did not take him long to replace you, did it? You are not even worth grieving over. Perhaps she will be better suited for him and succeed where you didn’t. Perhaps she will be accepted where you never would have been. Think of how she told you that he was very, very attracted to her, and he wanted to make a commitment to her.”
She tried to break free and run away, but there was nowhere to go except to the chill greyness, and even on the way to that place the dragon ran after her laughing all the way. This time he intended to finish her off. He caught up with her. “Perhaps he will really try this time, and it will work between them. Think of all those new fresh feelings he has, while here you are buried in your grief.” The dragon laughed with delight as she stumbled along sobbing, in a world of hurt.
“I mourn and wear clothes made of sackcloth
And I sit here in the dust defeated
I have cried until my face is red
And my eyes are swollen and circled with shadows
But I am not guilty of any violence
And my prayer to God is sincere.” Job 16:15-17
It was too much for her to bear. “Lord? Where are you?” she called, unable to hear His voice. The grief muffled His voice and obscured Him from her. Alone, she walked into the land of chill greyness where there was nothing. The King sent a friend, another Princess she named White flower, to find her. She didn’t want company. He, who had promised never to break the bruised twig or drown the tender reed, stood off at a distance to allow this test. Finally the King appeared. “Make it go away” the Princess cried out in agony. There is no easy way through this” the King said compassionately. “I know your pain. Did you think the dragon would just let you walk away, and not go after you? He is a liar and the father of lies, the accuser who always fights in a dirty and underhand manner. You belong to me so there will be no truces. He has come to steal, kill, and destroy. I have come that you may have life, a life worth living.” He looked at her and asked “What happened to your armour, and the friend I sent to help?” She replied wearily “I did not stop to put on my armour before I ran, and now I am too wounded. As for the friend, why should White Flower care? This is not her burden. What if she tires of me? The King looked at her for a long moment and said “Give her a chance.” She sighed. She needed someone to stand with her, someone who knew the King and understood what an attack was. White Flower lived only a few doors away. The princess had known her for a while. She seemed to be a calm and gentle person, with a wicked sense of humour.
The Princess had been brought up to keep her pain to herself. A broken spirit, who can bear? Proverbs 18:14. A question in her eyes, she repeated the King a poem that her grandmother taught her as a child;
“Laugh and the world laughs with you
Weep and you weep alone
For the sad old earth must borrow its mirth
But has troubles enough of its own.”
The King frowned and replied “That is not the truth. What do I say?”
“We rejoice with those who rejoice, we weep with those who weep.” Romans 12:15