The Princess had given Silver-tongue a narcissistic injury that he had not recovered from. He never believed she would walk away, and lived for the day when he would get even with her. In the years since the Princess had gotten away from him, there were times he stalked her, and lately he had maneuvered himself back into her orbit. One day a dark shadow fell across her path.
There he was, in the company directory. The Princess calmed herself down, telling herself he was working in a different division down Wellington, the capital, and unlikely to cross her path. Still, his malevolent presence made her nervous. In her journey through the mysterious land of the Kingdom the Princess was about to walk into the Valley of Achor. It meant trouble.
The King had promised;
“There I will give her back her vineyards, and will make the Valley of Achor a door of hope.” Hosea 2:14-15
The desert path led into a rocky gorge full of shadow. It started off well enough. After four years of full time work, she had earned enough to finally afford a decent holiday. They discussed where they should go over dinner. Young Prince Justin suggested they should go to see her friend Marjorie.
Her lifelong friendship with Marjorie came about in an unusual way. As a ten year old child in Hawkes Bay, she had put a letter in a crate full of apples. The letter found its way to a green grocers shop in the Isle of Wight, owned by Marjorie and her husband Roger. Marjorie took the time to write, and with every letter the child felt like she was important, and special, and mattered.
In turn she loved Marjorie like a Grandmother, as did her children. They visited each other, the Princess once, Marjorie twice.
The Princess was surprised at the children’s choice, for she had expected them to suggest the fun parks of Surfers Paradise in Australia. She whistled as she thought about how it could be accomplished. This would be a major undertaking as Marjorie lived at the other end of the earth.
While saying grace she addressed the King with this practical need; “Lord, we want to go and see Marjorie. You know how far that is. Can we please have the time and the money for the trip?”
The King answered her by getting rid of her job! In a way, it was no loss for her. It had been a toxic place where she had not thrived or been happy. Even so, she had lost her place in the field she had chosen to work. She faced an uncertain future without a job or a husband, and there was a ten week period without pay to get through.
The King told her to spend the redundancy money on the airfares to England. “You’ve got the time, and you’ve got the money” He pointed out. She raised her eyebrows at the way He had answered her prayer. “Don’t worry” He reassured her. “It is all part of my plan. It was time to leave, and you will find out why very soon.” She raised her eyebrows again.
The Princess got a phone call from Silver-tongue the next day. It was the first time she had heard from him in years. His nervous voice had a triumphant ring underlying it. She let him talk, having a hunch there was something she needed to know, beyond the fact he had followed her into the same multi-national company.
He bragged that he’d been appointed to lead one of the teams where she had been, and was disappointed to learn he would not be ‘managing her’. Pompous, self-important and clearly still obsessed, it hadn’t occurred to him that she would have resigned first.
The flattery started when she told him she forgave him. He thought he was back in with a chance. The flattering words did not have any effect on her. She had learned that if she forgave the abusers, it would be the last she’d see of them. Forgiveness did not mean she liked him, nor did she have any desire to re-kindle a relationship. All the conversation had done was made her want to vomit and have a bath.
Hanging up with a look of distaste, she turned around and thanked the King for His Fatherly care and protection. The King replied “I will tear down the house of the proud: but I will establish the boundary of the widow.” Proverbs 15:25
The Princess replied “I can see that. Thank you for keeping my boundaries secure and for getting me out of that place. Now I have enough money to travel to the other side of the world and see Marjorie.” She addressed the matter of Silver-tongue; “Was Silver-tongue stalking me again? Will I always have to look over my shoulder?”
The King promised “This is the last time you will find him lurking in the shadows. He will never be in a position of authority over you, or bother you again. I know why authority is another word you distrust, but don’t let him poison the well. I will teach you about true authority, when you are ready.”
The Princess looked down from a great height at the crooked mile where she had once stumbled with Silver-tongue. The crooked mile led to a stile, and a pool where Narcissus lay – trapped by his own reflection.
Silver-tongue like Narcissus suffered from excessive, overweening pride. He gazed at himself in admiration, all the time hiding from his true self. The unfortunate women who loved him were merely objects to him, a dumping ground. He projected all his faults and character flaws onto them, stealing their virtues in return. She, who had been no exception to having her identity robbed in this manner said; “May it be your own face that you see reflected in the water and may it be your own self that you see in your heart.” Proverbs 27:19.
The Princess shuddered, saying “I have never met anyone else as cunning, cruel and manipulative. It was like having a one way relationship with a mirror, with me as his reflection.” The King replied “You are made in my image. No man can take that from you. I never said it would be easy, but it will be worth it.”
She said “I don’t hate him anymore. I feel pity for him. I can see nothing but emptiness in him, a vacuum. How can he repent if he can’t see himself as he really is?” The King replied with sorrow “Now you can see why I hate pride.”