Stronghold…

“How did you know?”

“Know?”

“That I’d be here.”

“It’s where you always come when you want to be alone.”

Draping the air as fog on an early summer morning, the silence clung to the particles of the atmosphere, cloaking its visitors.

“Are you okay?”

“Now… I am now.”

“What changed?”

“Me.”

“How so?”

“Before I can tell you, there’s a more pressing thought?”

“Will you share?”

“It’s not comfortable.”

“That’s okay. I prefer you share to comfort.” 

“Comfort… it’s comfortable to observe the world while keeping it as arm’s length bay.”

“What is it you observe?” 

“Stronghold towers.”

Fog… silence…waiting…

“People create stronghold towers… they live in them… they stay in the stronghold of their constructed walls so they can feel comfortable. They are afraid of what’s outside, but really what they fear lurks inside.”

“I’m not sure I understand.”   

“It’s okay, I’m not sure I understand myself… it’s just an observation.”

Stillness… “It’s okay, you can explain, you are safe here,” whispers the voice.

“Remember the Allegory of the Caves?”

“Vaguely…”

“The cave… all the trapped souls within, but they don’t believe themselves trapped. They believe they are safe in the darkness of the cave. Yet one day… one man gathers the courage to leave. The light hurts his eyes and he must move slowly to allow his orbs times to adjust, but when he finally emerges, he realizes the cave is not a stronghold tower but rather a prison and the freedom awaits outside.”

“What does he do?”

“He returns to tell the others about the freedom awaiting them…”

Silence…

“And?”

“They laugh at him, mock him, tell him he’s crazy… demand he stay with them in the darkness. This saddens him because he finally sees the truth, but they refuse to believe him. “We’ve always lived here,” they say, “We trust this cave because it’s what we know.” 

“What does he do?”

“He leaves… he breaks free of the stronghold of the false tower and when he emerges for the last time, he shudders… casting off the darkness, leaving it behind because he knows that even if alone, he’d rather be alone and free than surrounded by a thousand imprisoned in the stronghold of a belief drapes their minds and souls, anchoring them to the darkness.”

Moving the air particles, hands join forming a circle of love.

“Going back to the beginning… I’ve changed. The darkness has been caste off and I am now free because I walk toward the son.”

 I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.” John 12:46

 

 

Silence…

“You told the story?”

“To some.”

“How was it received?”

“Depends on who you talk to, I guess.”

“Mama?”

“Yes, hon?”

“Do you think they understand?”

“Understand what?”

“What it’s like to be trapped inside a screaming mind.”

“I don’t know. What do you think?”

“I think fear controls them as much as as it controls my mind.”

“Tell me more.”

“Fear… fear of having to confront the reality that not everything is as it seems, and we deceive ourselves by not accepting reality.”

“I’m not sure I understand.”

“It’s hard to put into words.”

“Please try.”

“Remember the word?

“What word?”

“Hero.”

“Yes?”

“We create impressions in our mind based on that one word. We delude ourselves into believing an institution is heroic because heroes fill it, but we only allow problems to continue because of the illusion we’ve created, and when we are confronted with the reality that the institution is failing because not everyone is a hero, we immediately reject it.”

“I think I’m beginning to understand, but…”

“Not everyone who wears a uniform is a hero. Not everyone cares. Not everyone who is in the institution has pure motives. Many are selfish, many only care for themselves and take for granted the trust placed in them.”

“What happens then?”

“People die.”

“How does that relate to heros?”

“I can only tell you because if I tell anyone else, they will get angry and reject… confronted with an uncomfortable reality we’ve created false gods of people through the labeling of hero. Just as we’ve created images of people with screaming minds labeling them “crazy,” “unbalanced,” disturbed.” They don’t get it, do they? They don’t see what’s in front of them. They don’t want to confront the ugly reality that they are just as imperfect and flawed as I am, and that I am a product of their creation of false gods, because they don’t want to acknowledge people fail and not all people are good and… my mind… it’s unraveling.”

“No my precious child, I think your mind is clearly seeing what most want to eradicate.”

“Why won’t they try to change?”

“Change what?”

“The entrenched institutions.”

“I don’t know. What do you think?”

“I think they are just as imprisoned as I am… and afraid.”

“Imprisoned? Afraid of…”

“Afraid they will have to accept that they are part of the problem through their silence and acceptance of what they know is broken. What did you use to say… you use to tell me… yes, that’s it. Human nature… when confronted with the ugly part of human nature, people can acknowledge or reject. In acknowledging, they can choose to act; in rejecting, they choose to ignore. What does that say about them, if they know and yet choose to ignore and do nothing? So instead of either, they choose to imprison themselves in denial because then they feel safe in that cell. They don’t have to do anything. They can comfortably believe in the heroes of the institutions they believe in almost as much as they believe in God. They choose imprisonment of denial over the freedom of truth.”

“What can we do?”

“Tell the story… break the silence.”

“I will try. Will you be with me?”

“Always.”