Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Super shield

"Sometimes before you reveal yourself you need to put on a shield ... "

This was something I heard from a movie I recently watched.

There was a time when I did not think I needed a shield because I possessed all the power and strength. Youth does that to you. You feel invincible like you own the world. Yes, a part of me still believes that but I've been hurt too much to know that sometimes I need to protect myself.

And I do the same for my loved ones.

You see, we were blessed with a very loving mother and she trusts too easily. We have somehow inherited that and because we are only half of her, I am proud to say that we were also gifted with Papa's genes - very wise and a good measurer of people.

But going back to the shield ... Nowadays I maintain a relatively medium height wall for people to climb over. It is a test. One it proves that a person is willing to climb over my wall which means I am worth the effort. This weeds out the faint of heart. Second, the wall is scaleable so that I am not unreachable. So, the winner is the one who at least tries. I give points for effort.

There were instances when my wall was very high and it seemed that the view from the top was very lonely. My mother said, sometimes when people can't come to you, you have to meet them at their level. I have learned that. Like my own medium-height wall, I am willing to scale someone's mighty shield if I think they are worth the effort, especially if I can see that behind the facade is a person bearing great weight and shaking with fear. Until today, I hold that same fear and weight. Although it is a bit lighter.

And once that wall is scaled, there is no turning back. One cannot unsee.

So what was the wall for? What was the shield for? What was so important that it had to be shielded from the public eye?

For some people, they are secrets. Others, disbelief in themselves. For many it is fear - fear of being hurt, fear of being found out that they are not what everybody thinks they are, fear from criticism. The list goes on.

And because once our walls were only knee high, our vulnerabilities were so obvious it was used to hurt us - deliberately or unintentionally. It made us feel insecure, it made us feel less strong, we felt at the mercy of others. Or it could just be irrational fear.

For one reason or another, we felt that we needed to protect ourselves. And so the wall grew and grew so that people could not read us or could not easily use our weaknesses against ourselves.

Then came some people who thought it would be fun to overcome the challenge of the wall. So they climbed. Others lost hope, others would not give up. Carefully, the victors would wear down the walls gently by moving every brick back and forth until it loosened from the cement and was broken away clean. These are the people that respect you and care enough to tug at you when you are ready. They are patient, they understand you and they are willing to wait for the wall to come down.

Then there are those who try to climb the wall by tearing down the foundation. These are people who don't care about you but likes the thrill of the chase. At any cost, they will bring down the wall so they start hacking at you without any qualms. It is these people that makes the walls go higher and higher.

Our shields need not be static walls. They can be drawbridges that shut and close at the face of danger. Generally it is open but once threat is felt it shuts to offer more protection to the innermost you.

The story in the movie I watched ends on a twist: Sometimes, you don't need a shield because being yourself is enough to protect you.

We are given senses by God to know when danger approaches. We feel something is wrong when a suspicious character talks to us. We are on guard when certain people seem to say sweet nothings yet our hearts feel otherwise. Yes, sometimes, it is enough to be us because God equips us with the armor and shields that we need. He says to call on the Holy Spirit in times of trouble and He will push through.

This has happened to me so many times. I have uncanny feelings when I am about to enter into a dangerous situation. Before, I risked entering danger to test the waters. Now, I listen to God's prodding or interpret the signs that God is showing me to know whether what I am about to do is justified or not.

Shields are important because they help protect the innermost you and me. Though sometimes, maintaining a wall is tiresome. Some people will always criticize. Yet there are gems of people that we might be missing out on. And for them and for God's other creations, it is worth the effort to get to know someone even if it means getting hurt. "A" for effort they say.

I'd like to end with a line from "Wicked". Glinda says:

(Glinda) I've heard it saidThat people come into our lives for a reasonBringing something we must learnAnd we are ledTo those who help us most to growIf we let themAnd we help them in returnWell, I don't know if I believe that's trueBut I know I'm who I am todayBecause I knew you

Like a comet pulled from orbitAs it passes a sunLike a stream that meets a boulderHalfway through the woodWho can say if I've been changed for the better?But because I knew youI have been changed for good

Because I knew you God - I have been changed for the better, for the good. Thank you ...  May you always be my shield in times of trouble and may you always be with my loved ones.

How awful it would be if we would have to scale a wall to know you Lord. Thank you for being open to us.

Thank you for never tiring from tugging at me brick by brick so I can be who you want me to be - warts and all. 

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