A young woman is found by faith.
|She was a sentimental soul. Young, outwardly confident and bold... but inwardly troubled. She made no secret that family was her centre of gravity, and her safe harbour in difficult times. And so its plans were formed. It reached out from a scene of twinkling lights and mystical aura, accompanied by most charming guides. To the receptive, these guides quickly become friends. At first it presented as golden coloured anklets resting gently, loosely, on her feet, sparkling. The friends remarked on how beautiful the anklets looked on her. They liked what they saw. Of course, they knew the anklets were not just anklets. She also knew the anklets were not just anklets. She loved the anklets and what they brought to her; something exotic and mystical. Of course, she could take them off, if she chose. Her family saw the anklets and wondered; she told them that her friends liked them and she was wearing the anklets for them. Her family believed her and were aware that lasting friendships had not always come easily to her and so the anklets were accepted. Next came some golden coloured threads running up through the material of her long flowing skirt; why had she never had golden thread in her skirts before, she wondered. The friends all remarked that the golden thread was special and suited her perfectly and they liked what they saw. The golden thread was not just golden thread. She loved the golden thread and what it brought to her. Her family saw the thread and wondered; she told them that long skirts are graceful and modest and the golden thread makes a stylish addition. The golden thread was accepted. The anklets and thread had been accepted and with them the pretence and the misrepresentation; they were all aware of an unspoken difference. Deceit and guile had passed before them but they had allowed their own love, faith and hope to blind them.
With an established presence now, it commenced the next phase - it whispered so that only she could hear, gently, like a benevolent friend and infrequently at first so as to gain her trust. It talked of paradise and the healing of all maladies. It spoke of enlightenment and how close it is if only the correct path is followed. It spoke with authority of spiritual treasures, personal growth and the most complete love and acceptance and the true path to achieve it. Throughtout its teachings, its greatest priority was to assure her that, above all else, family always comes first. It asserted that this tenet was absolute and immutable - family would always come first. Its teachings were thoughtfully purposeful; if it ever admonished her, it did so gently, assuring her that any failings she may have were the result of flawed teaching she had received in the past and provided she recognised the true way and followed the true way, those failings could be washed away. Some of the teachings came through the printed word, some through the spoken word of the friends and some seemed to come from within herself, surely the revelations of such a journey of personal discovery and transformation. The friends had been well-prepared; she saw their purpose was to help her find truth.
Grace and modesty are virtuous, everyone agreed; they elevate the entire being, not just the outward appearance but the inner being also. Intoxicated by her vision of the destination, she was ready for each incremental step along the road. Before long, it became clear to her that, of course, as the good book explains, women should hide their form away from sight in order to avoid provoking demons for the good of all people - to fail to do so would surely be graceless and immodest. A variety of attractive and stylish coverings were soon employed to placate the demons. The friends agreed that she had been elevated to an active position in the global struggle to free the people from the oppression of the demons. In the company of her family, she wore hats and scarves. In the company of the friends, she felt free to conform.
When she was ready, it gave her additional tests and challenges which would further prove her worth. And with the passing of each test her self-worth was repaired, her belief strengthened and her head turned further. She could see that the true way was healing her maladies; she was being accepted, forgiven, washed clean and well-befriended. She was surely beginning to hear the voice of God now. He spoke a different language and his voice was not as she would have imagined but it was surely the spirit of God; what else carries such conviction and engages with the soul so firmly as to lead one to welcome sacrifice and struggle for a cause?
The day came when it told her that she had proven herself and earned the right for her name to be added to a list - a list, it said, of those most special to her family. After all, it is what you need and what you deserve, it told her; if they are good people they will understand that and agree that you are most special. It told her that it could not put her name on that list; only she could write her name there. She recognised the names already on the list - they were indeed people who had once been very special. She agreed that the time had come to add her name to the list and trusted that she would not have been brought to this point unless it was God's will. She felt the shadow of something passing by as her own hand committed her name to the list but she knew her faith was pure and so strong that it could not have misled her. As it took the list from her, she looked at the name she had written and recognised it as the name she had always been known by but one which now, somehow, seemed not quite right. It told her "You are now my guide". "Oh... I will guide you?", she asked. "No. You will guide others to me," it explained. All the guides were there and they agreed: "We are your family now and you, ours. And as you know, above all else, family always comes first."