Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised. (Proverbs 31:30)
Our outward appearance and persona may be deceiving people. But how can that be? When we see someone nicely dressed, we naturally are more fond of them and create positive impressions in our mind. We associate them with virtues that may or may not be there. On the other hand, we naturally have a more negative impression towards people who don’t look nice. If we are someone on the receiving end of positive impressions, that would probably make us feel good about ourselves. That in itself is natural and neutral.
When Israel was a child, I loved him,
And out of Egypt I called My son…
I taught Ephraim to walk,
Taking them by their arms;
But they did not know that I healed them.
I drew them with gentle cords,
With bands of love,
And I was to them as those who take the yoke from their neck.
I stooped and fed them. (Hos 11:1, 3-4)
From my parents’ retelling of childhood stories, old photographs, recollections and memories of the past, I can piece together some parts of my childhood. And some things, though unsaid and un-narrated, I can recall. Because both my parents were working when I was a year old or so, I lived with my maternal grandparents for the first few years of my childhood after I turned one. Inherent in those years was an old memory, or rather an old feeling I recall – a constantly longing I had for my absent parents while we were apart, especially my mother. Though there was nothing more I could ask for while I was under my loving grandparents’ care, I often missed my parents and would sometimes fall sick because of that, according to my grandmother. I had everything I needed or could ever want, but I missed my mother. That feeling is hard to describe. But it did make me a pensive child in my earlier years.
Last night I had a dream: I walked into my office at work and started to search for my baby. I knew that I had a baby and that I had not been a good parent because I had been neglecting it. I had to dig it out from under layers and layers of blankets and clothing. When I uncovered it, it was this shriveled, tiny thing that was no larger than my hand. And I could see that it was struggling to breathe and that it was very weak. I began to feel a sense of panic. I started to force milk down its throat and it gradually began to look better. The legs began to curl up into the usual fetal position and the color got better. I remember feeling immense relief that it did not die. That’s all that I could remember of the dream.
When I woke up this morning, the dream immediately came to mind and I knew that the shriveled up baby was my spiritual self. It was almost like a lightening bolt, the clarity of the dream’s recall and my instantaneous understanding of its meaning. Continue reading