Anyway, a few weeks ago we were listening to the fifth book in the series called The Dawn Treader. This story tells of a ship of the same name and the adventures of the crew - one of whom is a 'beastly' little boy named Eustace. Along the way Eustace falls into some magic that turns him into a dragon, and spends the greater part of the book trying to figure out how be 'undone'.
This is where Eustace and I intersect. Earlier in the year, I shared my experience at a retreat that urged me to remove the 'mask' that I wear around most of the people in my life. The short of the story is that I was/am afraid to totally trust God not only to take it off, but to live without it. In The Dawn Treader, Eustace experiences the removal of his dragon 'mask' by the very hand of God. I so wish I could just put an .mp3 file here with the audio content...but since I can't I'll type it out for you.
...the lion told me I must undress first. Mind you, I don't know if he said anywords out loud or not.
"I was just going to say that I couldn't undress because I hadn't any clothes on when I suddenly thought that dragons are snaky sort of things and snakes can cast their skins. Oh, of course, though I, that's what the lion mean. So I started scratching myself and my scales began coming off all over the place. And then I scratched a little deeper and, instead of just scales coming off here and there, my whole skin started peeling off beautifully...In a minute or two I just stepped out of it. I could see it lying there beside me, looking rather nasty. It was a most lovely feeling. So I started to go down into the well for my bathe.
"But just as I was going to put my feet into the water I looked down and saw that they just were all hard and rough and wrinkled and scaly just as they had been before....So I scratched and tore again and this under skin peeled off beautifully and out I stepped and left it lying beside the other one and went down to the well for my bathe.
"Well, exactly the same thing happened again (and again)...Then the lion said...'You will have to let me undress you.' I was afraid of his claws, I can tell you, but I was pretty nearly desperate now. So I just lay flat down on my back to let him do it.
"The very first tear that He made was so deep that I thought it had gone right into my heart. And when he began pulling the skin off, it hurt worse than anything I've ever felt. The only thing that made me able to bear it was just the pleasure of feeling the stuff peel off...
"Well he peeled the beastly stuff right off - just as I thought I'd done it myself the other three times, only they hadn't hurt - and there it was lying on the grass: only ever ever so much thicker, and darker, and more knobbly-looking than the other had been..."
There you go. I may try to remove the mask myself, and it may even seem like I've achieved some success at it, but the real mask is still underneath. God himself will have to remove it. And it will hurt - a lot. It will pierce the very heart of my grip on it. But the beastly stuff will lay there on the grass some day. Looking thicker, and darker, and more knobbly-looking that anything I was able to scratch off.
I was nearly in tears driving down the road that day. My children had no idea, but my Father knew the very reason why I was crying. He had touched my heart.