Arrested
Emotional
Development

Dec 18, 2008 Psychology Today

Some of us look grown-up but aren't.

Holiday cards have been arriving from old friends: college roommates, childhood pals. Most of us haven't seen each other in years, even decades. Inside a card that arrived yesterday, a lush flocked confection featuring the Three Kings, the sender wrote a note suggesting that we meet for coffee the next time she's in town. Why did this make me freeze? No bad blood seethes between me and the sender. We were friends. We shared clothes, stayed up late watching The Twilight Zone, and made cookies together -- but that was then and this is now, and were we to meet again, she'd see that she is all grown up and I am not.


Some of us look grown up but aren't. We walk around with suits and briefcases and car keys and annuities. But inside, we are five. Ten. Twelve. Sixteen. We sit in boardrooms, travel the world, even write books. But we are kids, still playing dress-up, playing house. Our bodies matured but our minds did not. Now - playing catch-up, playing spy - we feel left out of the adult world, certain that our would-be peers are whispering behind our backs, or speaking in a code we do not know. See? What a childish fear, right there. They're all talking in code!

We are the ones at whom others have hissed Grow up! so many times that we now tune it out. They call us flighty, scatterbrained, irresponsible, illogical, impatient. Here's another word for it: We're immature. We are stuck in the past not usually by choice but because, like dud popcorn kernels or bonsai trees, we failed to grow. The ones who were supposed to show us how to grow did not. They did not know or were not there. Or traumas held us in their grip. Portals inscribed with mystical initiation-signs glimmered, awaiting us, but no: We wandered back the other way or balked. We're stuck.

Can childishness be fixed? Perhaps. Should it? Well, is it hurting anyone? The childish are not well-suited to parenthood or high-stress jobs. The downsides loom. The fears. Imagine wanting to hide under beds. Imagine wanting to flee down the street in sneakers, to the swingset, to the sand - while juggling house payments and wearing bifocals. It's hard.

Then again, some aspects of childhood are worth retaining. Wonder, joy, dreams -- you know the drill. In the 2002 film Mr. Deeds, a remake of the 1939 classic, a simple country bumpkin (played by Adam Sandler, who has built a successful career on portraying childish adults who become heroes without selling out and without quite growing up) inherits a fortune. Addressing a crowd of New Yorkers faced with a brutal business decision, Longfellow Deeds argues that adults have lost touch with their childhood dreams. A man in the crowd confesses that, at age eleven, he dreamed of becoming a veterinarian but that he now owns a chain of slaughterhouses. "We've all compromised," Deeds intones. Another man in the crowd, who at eleven dreamed of becoming a magician, now operates a porn site.

"Our eleven-year-old selves," Deeds says, "would wanna kick us in the ass all over the place."

I'm still not ready to meet that friend for coffee.


Arrested Emotional Development: A Christian's Experience

If someone had asked me a few years ago about “Arrested Development,” I wouldn’t have been able to tell you anything about it, let alone if it affected me. Nevertheless, when I became aware of it, I was certain that I didn’t suffer from Arrested Development, but I was incorrect and living in denial.

What is arrested development? This is what modern medicine says about the matter:

“Even though physical maturity is inevitable, emotional maturity is not. I observe that the vast majority of people are stuck in their emotional growth process somewhere in their adolescent years.

Addictions, greed, immaturity, fear, blame, shame, resentments, anger, confusion and suffering can all be signs of arrested emotional development. When we get ‘stuck’ in our emotional development, we cease to learn how to take responsibility for our actions and our lives. We get stuck at the point of some trauma that happens in our life that we don’t know how to let go of or to process.

Arrested Emotional Development is being stuck in (or anchored to) an emotional level of development from childhood experience also called “resource states”. Out of these ‘negative’ beliefs comes an underlying & unconscious commitment. I.E. I’m not good enough, I was a mistake, I’m dumb, etc..." 10

THE HOLY SPIRIT

The purpose of this article is to share my understanding of Arrested Development in light of the Bible, how it affects people and how I became free of this emotional bondage. Arrested Development is caused by demons and it has been quite the experience to achieve the healing and growth in my life.

While psychologists are correct in their diagnosis regarding emotional maturity and growth, I do not agree when they state that most people are stuck in their teens. Based upon my own experience and what I have learned from counseling people coming for deliverance, stunted emotional maturity can occur as a young child. My pastor, John S. Torell, has been ministering to people for 45 years and this is also his consensus. The traumas that trigger arrested development can occur in the womb and infancy, meaning you will grow up thinking that your lack of emotional maturity is normal while it continually frustrates family, friends and co-workers around you.

REFLECTIONS ON THE PAST

I married two men for wildly different reasons. I was forced into the first marriage because of a child out of wedlock but it only lasted a few weeks. The second marriage came about as a result of fear and rejection and turned into a 17 year emotional black hole that left me sick and dejected. I was reflecting on my life and told my third and final husband, Kristian, about how I used to feel.

I couldn't see it while it was happening, but I felt like a child when I started my adult life. I was a young mother filled with insecurity and fear. Under the influence of fear, I made rash decisions because that is what children do. I threw temper tantrums when I was overwhelmed and alone. Sometimes I would take the car out alone and drive much faster than the posted speed limit or curl up in the fetal position and cry or just give someone the silent treatment for days on end.

There are a few times I remember being so upset and despondent that I lost it at home. On one of these occasions, I was crying so much that I crawled on my hands and knees up the stairs of my home. I was desperately exhausted and felt hopeless. It didn’t occur to me to think about God as my source of strength even though I had been saved as a child. I was operating completely in the flesh, trying to be tough and do everything by myself.

My second husband refused to show me affection and constantly rejected me during the 17 years we spent together. I had many illnesses during this time such as gout, diverticulitis attacks, and horrendous stomach pains that the doctors could not diagnose even though they performed a myriad of tests. As I stated, this period of my life was an emotional black hole that left me feeling horribly lonely and full of emotional pain.

DIVORCE AND REMARRIAGE

Kristian and I were working together at the same firm two years prior to my divorce. We became friends after a year and it only took me 3 months after I separated from my second husband to get involved with him. My previous marriage was dead for many years, I was starved for love. Kristian was the complete antithesis of my second husband and met my most basic need to be loved and cherished. I was able to get some level of healing from the affection and acceptance he provided; however, it could only take me so far because God was not the focus of my life.

I started to feel like an adult and was able to save money and not be in debt. This was a huge problem in my previous marriage and for the first time I began to feel a semblance of security as we started a new life together. We bought a boat, went camping and spent time with my family. Two years later I remember driving off with our boat attached to the truck and saying to Kristian, “I officially feel like an adult now.” When I uttered those words, I knew it wasn't right to have a material possession make me feel like an adult but I was in a state of Arrested Development that I couldn't discern or understand.

I did okay with my intelligence and street smarts. Humans are very resilient and possess the ability to survive the worst abuses and neglect, but that doesn't mean we come out unscathed. Survival is just that, survival. Surviving is not thriving and living to the potential that God has for us. I have been through some pretty traumatic events as a young child and teenager and they left an unseen mark on me.

There isn’t a single person coming to this ministry for healing and deliverance which has a perfect life; all the stories are similar to mine and some are much worse. What Satan does with emotional traumas is nasty; he freezes our emotional state at the first traumatic event. This is where we get an evil spirit called “Arrested Development” because of its function.

We continue to physically grow and learn but our emotional state is stunted and this hinders our spiritual growth with God. Does that sound strange? Just take a moment and think about the adults in your family or friends that just can't get it together. Examine their childish behavior and poor decisions. You can almost tell the age at which they were first traumatized. Then examine yourself and see if this too applies to you.

THERE IS NO PARADISE WITHOUT JESUS

Kristian and I started a business two months after we were married and things were much better than I’d previously experienced. Our new venture took off and we were doing great financially but the pressure of this new business and our lack of faith/devotion to God took its toll on us.

I loved Kristian deeply but he started having regular anxiety attacks and would lash out at me in frustration. I was still wounded and the slightest criticism from Kristian would put me in tears because of the emotional baggage from the previous marriage and the associative fear of rejection.

I began to entertain thoughts that maybe I had made a huge mistake in marrying Kristian because the pressure of his anxiety was very heavy on me. Almost every weekend ended with me crying and Kristian apologizing and trying his best to control himself around me but this is what happens when two emotional infants in their mid-30's try to live a life without God.

RECONNECTING WITH GOD

The good news is that we found our way back to our Heavenly Father! We found a ministry that knows the value in James 5:16, “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed…” This ministry had experience with Arrested Development and God used them to cast that demon out of me and my husband. We flew from Alaska to California where we went through a week of prayer for deliverance from demons as we methodically retraced the steps of our lives and discovered a whole mess of stuffed emotions and things we had never told anybody. We confessed it all to the Lord, received forgiveness and God gave us miraculous healings in our souls and bodies. One of the healings that took place is that I don’t suffer from unknown stomach pains, gout or indigestion anymore.

There are still times when I experience those familiar stomach pains but now I know that means my soul isn't happy. God reveals the source of the problem when I pray about it and the pain stops immediately when I discover its root and deal with it. This shows the sensitivity of our souls. It is important to listen to the Holy Spirit because our souls won’t be happy when we don’t heed the guidance of the Lord.

I can laugh about this now, but as I started to read my copy of Christian Dynamics Course 1, I remember sitting back in my chair with a little bit of pride and a side helping of denial and informing Pastor John, “I don't have Arrested Development; I just read about it and it doesn't fit me.” He was silent and after a long awkward pause he lovingly asked, “Do you think that all the decisions you made in your past were mature ones?” I couldn’t argue with that logic!

Christian Dynamics Course 1 is an excellent resource. It is biblically sound and will help you find your freedom in God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

WHERE WE ARE NOW IN 2015

It's been a long road to get where I am today! I now look at Kristian and he's become a man. We no longer get upset about things which cause turmoil in our lives. I did not know I was a child emotionally until I was set free by the Lord and today I can look back and see the difference!

We study God's word and have been baptized in the Holy Spirit. We sold almost everything to become missionaries to help others go through this process to find freedom and to grow in Christ! I love my life with God as my employer! I love that I can now understand with my redeemed soul and born again spirit the “covering” my husband is to me as described in 1 Corinthians 11:3, “But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ: and the head of the woman is the man: and the head of Christ is God.”

My first two husbands failed in their God-given duty but Kristian’s prayers are very powerful for me. The Bible tells me to go to him for prayer. It's not easy to put into words what it is like but it is so peaceful. We shared a communion together a few nights ago and it was the most powerful communion I have ever experienced. To listen to God's anointing on my husband as he prayed brought me to tears.

The steps we are going through to reach our actual physical maturity have been interesting and we aren't finished yet! I want to share my experience so you too will be prepared. After being set free, it is necessary for a person to go through the emotional phases that were skipped over. My husband and I thankfully went through this together and had strong support from our pastor to help us when we had questions.

The first time we had a temper tantrum or an outburst, we were concerned that we had allowed a demon back in. After being set free from the years of constant noise in our heads, we certainly did not want to regress. It was just a fleeting moment of us going through that phase in our life. So we started to recognize the different emotions and go with the flow. I am working with a few women now who are in the process of emotional growth after being set free of the demon of arrested development and they are a blessing to me. I don’t wish to relive my life but I praise God for getting me through all of this so I can in turn help others.

I have a friend who is doing the 16 week Christian Dynamics Course 3 follow-up after deliverance. She expressed feeling annoyed when someone tries to show her love. She doesn't have a problem with this normally, so we know she is just having a moment of being emotionally arrested as a 12 year old. She was experiencing a healing and this is hard to explain until you have gone through it. I experienced this also and God is good to help us go through some of these blocked emotions we surpassed as children and very quickly. I talked to her a week later and she is so happy! The joy she had with the Lord has returned to her and she is able to pray freely in her intercessory ministry, something she has not been able to do in quite a while.

My journey isn’t over yet and it is my prayer that I will be available for anyone seeking salvation, deliverance and healing. We are all in this together. Deliverance only comes from seeking the Lord and using the Scriptures as our guide.

Yours in Christ,

Laura Getting



The Lizard on the Shoulder


from The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis.

I saw coming towards us a Ghost who carried something on his shoulder. Like all the Ghosts, he was unsubstantial, but they differed from one another as smokes differ. Some had been whitish; this one was dark and oily. What sat on his shoulder was a little red lizard, and it was twitching its tail like a whip and whispering things in his ear. As we caught sight of him he turned his head to the reptile with a snarl of impatience. "Shut up, I tell you!" he said. It wagged its tail and continued to whisper to him. He ceased snarling, and presently began to smile. Then he turned and started to limp westward, away from the mountains.

"Off so soon?" said a voice.

The speaker was more or less human in shape but larger than a man, and so bright that I could hardly look at him. His presence smote on my eyes and on my body too (for there was heat coming from him as well as light) like the morning sun at the beginning of a tyrannous summer day.

"Yes. I'm off," said the Ghost. "Thanks for all your hospitality. But it's no good, you see. I told this little chap," (here he indicated the lizard), "that he'd have to be quiet if he came -which he insisted on doing. Of course his stuff won't do here: I realise that. But he won't stop. I shall just have to go home."

"Would you like me to make him quiet?" said the flaming Spirit-an angel, as I now understood. "Of course I would," said the Ghost.

"Then I will kill him," said the Angel, taking a step forward.

"Oh-ah-look out! You're burning me. Keep away," said the Ghost, retreating.

"Don't you want him killed?"

"You didn't say anything about killing him at first. I hardly meant to bother you with anything so drastic as that."

"It's the only way," said the Angel, whose burning hands were now very close to the lizard. "Shall I kill it?"

"Well, that's a further question. I'm quite open to consider it, but it's a new point, isn't it? I mean, for the moment I was only thinking about silencing it because up here-well, it's so damned embarrassing."

"May I kill it?"

"Well, there's time to discuss that later."

"There is no time. May I kill it?"

"Please, I never meant to be such a nuisance. Please-really-don't bother.
Look! It's gone to sleep of its own accord. I'm sure it'll be all right now.
Thanks ever so much.""May I kill it?"

 

"Honestly, I don't think there's the slightest necessity for that. I'm sure I shall be able to keep it in order now. I think the gradual process would be far better than killing it."

"The gradual process is of no use at all."

"Don't you think so? Well, I'll think over what you've said very carefully. I honestly will. In fact I'd let you kill it now, but as a matter of fact I'm not feeling frightfully well to-day. It would be silly to do it now. I'd need to be in good health for the operation. Some other day, perhaps."

"There is no other day. All days are present now."
"Get back! You're burning me. How can I tell you to kill it? You'd kill me if you did."

"It is not so."

"Why, you're hurting me now."

"I never said it wouldn't hurt you. I said it wouldn't kill you."

"Oh, I know. You think I'm a coward. But it isn't that. Really it isn't. I say! Let me run back by tonight's bus and get an opinion from my own doctor. I'll come again the first moment I can."
"This moment contains all moments."

"Why are you torturing me? You are jeering at me. How can I let you tear me to pieces? If you wanted to help me, why didn't you kill the damned thing without asking me-before I knew? It would be all over by now if you had."

"I cannot kill it against your will. It is impossible. Have I your permission?"

The Angel's hands were almost closed on the Lizard, but not quite. Then the Lizard began chattering to the Ghost so loud that even I could hear what it was saying.

"Be careful," it said. "He can do what he says. He can kill me. One fatal word from you and he will! Then you'll be without me for ever and ever. It's not natural. How could you live? You'd be only a sort of ghost, not a real man as you are now. He doesn't understand. He's only a cold, bloodless abstract thing. It may be natural for him, but it isn't for us. Yes, yes. I know there are no real pleasures now, only dreams. But aren't they better than nothing? And I'll be so good. I admit I've sometimes gone too far in the past, but I promise I won't do it again. I'll give you nothing but really nice dreams-all sweet and fresh and almost innocent. You might say, quite innocent____"

"Have I your permission?" said the Angel to the Ghost.

"I know it will kill me."

"It won't. But supposing it did?"

"You're right. It would be better to be dead than to live with this creature."

"Then I may?"

"Damn and blast you! Go on can't you? Get it over. Do what you like," bellowed the Ghost: but ended, whimpering, "God help me. God help me."

Next moment the Ghost gave a scream of agony such as I never heard on Earth. The Burning One closed his crimson grip on the reptile: twisted it, while it bit and writhed, and then flung it, broken backed, on the turf.

"Ow! That's done for me," gasped the Ghost, reeling backwards.

For a moment I could make out nothing distinctly. Then I saw, between me and the nearest bush, unmistakably solid but growing every moment solider, the upper arm and the shoulder of a man. Then, brighter still and stronger, the legs and hands. The neck and golden head materialised while I watched, and if my attention had not wavered I should have seen the actual completing of a man-an immense man, naked, not much smaller than the Angel. What distracted me was the fact that at the same moment something seemed to be happening to the Lizard. At first I thought the operation had failed. So far from dying, the creature was still struggling and even growing bigger as it struggled. And as it grew it changed. Its hinder parts grew rounder. The tail, still flickering, became a tail of hair that flickered between huge and glossy buttocks. Suddenly I started back, rubbing my eyes. What stood before me was the greatest stallion I have ever seen, silvery white but with mane and tail of gold. It was smooth and shining, rippled with swells of flesh and muscle, whinneying and stamping with its hoofs. At each stamp the land shook and the trees dindled.

The new-made man turned and clapped the new horse's neck. It nosed his bright body. Horse and master breathed each into the other's nostrils. The man turned from it, flung himself at the feet of the Burning One, and embraced them. When he rose I thought his face shone with tears, but it may have been only the liquid love and brightness (one cannot distinguish them in that country) which flowed from him. I had not long to think about it. In joyous haste the young man leaped upon the horse's back. Turning in his seat he waved a farewell, then nudged the stallion with his heels. They were off before I well knew what was happening. There was riding if you like!

I came out as quickly as I could from among the bushes to follow them with my eyes; but already they were only like a shooting star far off on the green plain, and soon among the foothills of the mountains. Then, still like a star, I saw them winding up, scaling what seemed impossible steeps, and quicker every moment, till near the dim brow of the landscape, so high that I must strain my neck to see them, they vanished, bright themselves, into the rose-brightness of that everlasting morning.

While I still watched, I noticed that the whole plain and forest were shaking with a sound which in our world would be too large to hear, but there I could take it with joy. I knew it was not the Solid People who were singing. It was the voice of that earth, those woods and those waters. A strange archaic, inorganic noise, that came from all directions at once. The Nature or Arch-nature of that land rejoiced to have been once more ridden, and therefore consummated, in the person of the horse.

It sang, "The Master says to our master, Come up. Share my rest and splendour till all natures that were your enemies become slaves to dance before you and backs for you to ride, and firmness for your feet to rest on.

"From beyond all place and time, out of the very Place, authority will be given you: the strengths that once opposed your will shall be obedient fire in your blood and heavenly thunder in your voice.

"Overcome us that, so overcome, we may be ourselves: we desire the beginning of your reign as we desire dawn and dew, wetness at the birth of light.

"Master, your Master has appointed you for ever: to be our King of Justice and our high Priest." "Do ye understand all this, my Son?" said the Teacher.

"I don't know about all, Sir," said I. "Am I right in thinking the Lizard really turned into the Horse?"
"Aye. But it was killed first. Ye'll not forget that part of the story?"

"I'll try not to, Sir. But does it mean that everything-everything-that is in us can go on to the Mountains?"

"Nothing, not even the best and noblest, can go on as it now is. Nothing, not even what is lowest and most bestial, will not be raised again if it submits to death. It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. Flesh and blood cannot come to the Mountains. Not because they are too rank, but because they are too weak. What is a Lizard compared with a stallion? Lust is a poor, weak, whimpering whispering thing compared with that richness and energy of desire which will arise when lust has been killed."

"But am I to tell them at home that this man's sensuality proved less of an obstacle than that poor woman's love for her son? For that was, at any rate, an excess of love."

"Ye'll tell them no such thing," he replied sternly. "Excess of love, did ye say? There was no excess, there was defect. She loved her son too little, not too much. If she had loved him more there'd be no difficulty. I do not know how her affair will end. But it may well be that at this moment she's demanding to have him down with her in Hell. That kind is sometimes perfectly ready to plunge the soul they say they love in endless misery if only they can still in some fashion possess it. No, no. Ye must draw another lesson. Ye must ask, if the risen body even of appetite is as grand a horse as ye saw, what would the risen body of maternal love or friendship be?"

The Tragedian

While we spoke the Lady was steadily advancing towards us, but it was not at us she looked.

Following the direction of her eyes, I turned and saw an oddly-shaped phantom approaching. Or rather two phantoms: a great tall Ghost, horribly thin and shaky, who seemed to be leading on a chain another Ghost no bigger than an organ-grinder's monkey.

The taller Ghost wore a soft black hat, and he reminded me of something that my memory could not quite recover. Then, when he had come within a few feet of the Lady he spread out his lean, shaky hand flat on his chest with the fingers wide apart, and exclaimed in a hollow voice, "At last!" All at once I realised what it was that he had put me in mind of. He was like a seedy actor of the old school.

"Darling! At last!" said the Lady.

"Good Heavens!" thought I.

"Surely she can't-----," and then I noticed two things. In the first place, I noticed that the little Ghost was not being led by the big one. It was the dwarfish figure that held the chain in its hand and the theatrical figure that wore the collar round its neck. In the second place, I noticed that the Lady was looking solely at the dwarf Ghost.

She seemed to think it was the Dwarf who had addressed her, or else she was deliberately ignoring the other. On the poor dwarf she turned her eyes. Love shone not from her face only, but from all her limbs, as if it were some liquid in which she had just been bathing. Then, to my dismay she came nearer. She stooped down and kissed the Dwarf. It made one shudder to see her in such close contact with that cold, damp, shrunken thing. But she did not shudder.

"Frank," she said, "before anything else, forgive me. For all I ever did wrong and for all I did not do right since the first day we met, I ask your pardon."

I looked properly at the Dwarf for the first time now: or perhaps, when he received her kiss he became a little more visible. One could just make out the sort of face he must have had when he was a man: a little, oval, freckled face with a weak chin and a tiny wisp of unsuccessful moustache.

He gave her a glance, not a full look. He was watching the Tragedian out of the corner of his eyes. Then he gave a jerk to the chain: and it was the Tragedian, not he, who answered the Lady.

"There, there," said the Tragedian. "We'll say no more about it. We all make mistakes." With the words there came over his features a ghastly contortion which, I think, was meant for an indulgentlv plavful smile.

"We'll say no more," he continued. "It's not myself I'm thinking about. It is you. That is what has been continually on my mind-all these years. The thought of you-you here alone, breaking your heart about me."

"But now," said the Lady to the Dwarf, "you can set all that aside. Never think like that again. It is all over."

Her beauty brightened so that I could hardly see anything else, and under that sweet compulsion the Dwarf really looked at her for the first time.

For a second I thought he was growing more like a man. He opened his mouth. He himself was going to speak this time. But oh, the disappointment when the words came!

"You missed me?" he croaked in a small, bleating voice.

Yet even then she was not taken aback. Still the love and courtesy flowed from her.

"Dear, you will understand about that very soon," she said. "But to-day-----."

What happened next gave me a shock. The Dwarf and the Tragedian spoke in unison, not to her but to one another. "You'll notice," they warned one another, "she hasn't answered our question."

I realised then that they were one person, or rather that both were the remains of what had once been a person. The Dwarf again rattled the chain.

The Tragedian

While we spoke the Lady was steadily advancing towards us, but it was not at us she looked.

Following the direction of her eyes, I turned and saw an oddly-shaped phantom approaching. Or rather two phantoms: a great tall Ghost, horribly thin and shaky, who seemed to be leading on a chain another Ghost no bigger than an organ-grinder's monkey.

The taller Ghost wore a soft black hat, and he reminded me of something that my memory could not quite recover. Then, when he had come within a few feet of the Lady he spread out his lean, shaky hand flat on his chest with the fingers wide apart, and exclaimed in a hollow voice, "At last!" All at once I realised what it was that he had put me in mind of. He was like a seedy actor of the old school.

"Darling! At last!" said the Lady.

"Good Heavens!" thought I.

"Surely she can't-----," and then I noticed two things. In the first place, I noticed that the little Ghost was not being led by the big one. It was the dwarfish figure that held the chain in its hand and the theatrical figure that wore the collar round its neck. In the second place, I noticed that the Lady was looking solely at the dwarf Ghost.

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She seemed to think it was the Dwarf who had addressed her, or else she was deliberately ignoring the other. On the poor dwarf she turned her eyes. Love shone not from her face only, but from all her limbs, as if it were some liquid in which she had just been bathing. Then, to my dismay she came nearer. She stooped down and kissed the Dwarf. It made one shudder to see her in such close contact with that cold, damp, shrunken thing. But she did not shudder.

"Frank," she said, "before anything else, forgive me. For all I ever did wrong and for all I did not do right since the first day we met, I ask your pardon."

I looked properly at the Dwarf for the first time now: or perhaps, when he received her kiss he became a little more visible. One could just make out the sort of face he must have had when he was a man: a little, oval, freckled face with a weak chin and a tiny wisp of unsuccessful moustache.

He gave her a glance, not a full look. He was watching the Tragedian out of the corner of his eyes. Then he gave a jerk to the chain: and it was the Tragedian, not he, who answered the Lady.

"There, there," said the Tragedian. "We'll say no more about it. We all make mistakes." With the words there came over his features a ghastly contortion which, I think, was meant for an indulgentlv plavful smile.

"We'll say no more," he continued. "It's not myself I'm thinking about. It is you. That is what has been continually on my mind-all these years. The thought of you-you here alone, breaking your heart about me."

"But now," said the Lady to the Dwarf, "you can set all that aside. Never think like that again. It is all over."

Her beauty brightened so that I could hardly see anything else, and under that sweet compulsion the Dwarf really looked at her for the first time.

For a second I thought he was growing more like a man. He opened his mouth. He himself was going to speak this time. But oh, the disappointment when the words came!

"You missed me?" he croaked in a small, bleating voice.

Yet even then she was not taken aback. Still the love and courtesy flowed from her.

"Dear, you will understand about that very soon," she said. "But to-day-----."

What happened next gave me a shock. The Dwarf and the Tragedian spoke in unison, not to her but to one another. "You'll notice," they warned one another, "she hasn't answered our question."

I realised then that they were one person, or rather that both were the remains of what had once been a person. The Dwarf again rattled the chain.

"You missed me?" said the Tragedian to the Lady, throwing a dreadful theatrical tremor into his voice.

"Dear friend," said the Lady, still attending exclusively to the Dwarf, "you may be happy about that and about everything else. Forget all about it for ever."

And really, for a moment, I thought the Dwarf was going to obey: partly because the outlines of his face became a little clearer, and partly because the invitation to all joy, singing out of her whole being like a bird's song on an April evening, seemed to me such that no creature could resist it. Then he hesitated. And then-once more he and his accomplice spoke in unison.

"Of course it would be rather fine and magnanimous not to press the point," they said to one another. "But can we be sure she'd notice? We've done these sort of things before.

There was the time we let her have the last stamp in the house to write to her mother and said nothing although she had known we wanted to write a letter ourself. We'd thought she'd remember and see how unselfish we'd been. But she never did. And there was the time . . . oh, lots and lots of times!" So the Dwarf gave a shake to the chain and-----.

"I can't forget it," cried the Tragedian. "And I won't forget it, either. I could forgive them all they've done to me. But for your miseries-----."
"Oh, don't you understand?" said the Lady. "There are no miseries here."

"Do you mean to say," answered the Dwarf, as if this new idea had made him quite forget the Tragedian for a moment, "do you mean to say you've been happy?"

"Didn't you want me to be? But no matter. Want it now. Or don't think about it at all."

The Dwarf blinked at her. One could see an unheard-of idea trying to enter his little mind: one could see even that there was for him some sweetness in it. For a second he had almost let the chain go: then, as if it were his life-line, he clutched it once more.

"Look here," said the Tragedian. "We've got to face this." He was using his "manly" bullying tone this time: the one for bringing women to their senses.

"Darling," said the Lady to the Dwarf, "there's nothing to face. You don't want me to have been miserable for misery's sake. You only think I must have been if I loved you. But if you'll only wait you'll see that isn't so."

"Love!" said the Tragedian striking his forehead with his hand: then, a few notes deeper, "Love! Do you know the meaning of the word?"

"How should I not?" said the Lady. "I am in love. In love, do you understand? Yes, now I love truly."
"You mean," said the Tragedian, "you mean - you did not love me truly in the old days?"

"Only in a poor sort of way," she answered. "I have asked you to forgive me. There was a little real love in it. But what we called love down there was mostly the craving to be loved. In the main I loved you for my own sake: because I needed you."

"And now!" said the Tragedian with a hackneyed gesture of despair. "Now, you need me no more?" "But of course not!" said the Lady; and her smile made me wonder how both the phantoms could refrain from crying out with joy.
"What needs could I have," she said, "now that I have all? I am full now, not empty. I am in Love Himself, not lonely. Strong, not weak. You shall be the same. Come and see. We shall have no need for one another now: we can begin to love truly."

But the Tragedian was still striking attitudes.
"She needs me no more-no more. No more/' he said in a choking voice to no one in particular. "Would to God," he continued, but he was now pronouncing it Gud-"Would to God I had seen her lying dead at my feet before I heard those words. Lying dead at my feet. Lying dead at my feet."

I do not know how long the creature intended to go on repeating the phrase, for the Lady put an end to that. "Frank! Frank!" she cried in a voice that made the whole wood ring. "Look at me. Look at me. What are you doing with that great, ugly doll? Let go of the chain. Send it away. It is you I want. Don't you see what nonsense it's talking?"

Merriment danced in her eyes. She was sharing a joke with the Dwarf, right over the head of the Tragedian. Something not at all unlike a smile struggled to appear on the Dwarf's face. For he was looking at her now. Her laughter was past his first defences. He was struggling hard to keep it out, but already with imperfect success. Against his will, he was even growing a little bigger.

"Oh, you great goose," said she. "What is the good of talking like that here? You know as well as I do that you did see me lying dead years and years ago. Not 'at your feet,' of course, but on a bed in a nursing home. A very good nursing home it was too. Matron would never have dreamed of leaving bodies lying about the floor! It's ridiculous for that doll to try to be impressive about death here. It just won't work."

"You missed me?" said the Tragedian to the Lady, throwing a dreadful theatrical tremor into his voice.

"Dear friend," said the Lady, still attending exclusively to the Dwarf, "you may be happy about that and about everything else. Forget all about it for ever."

And really, for a moment, I thought the Dwarf was going to obey: partly because the outlines of his face became a little clearer, and partly because the invitation to all joy, singing out of her whole being like a bird's song on an April evening, seemed to me such that no creature could resist it. Then he hesitated. And then-once more he and his accomplice spoke in unison.

"Of course it would be rather fine and magnanimous not to press the point," they said to one another. "But can we be sure she'd notice? We've done these sort of things before.

There was the time we let her have the last stamp in the house to write to her mother and said nothing although she had known we wanted to write a letter ourself. We'd thought she'd remember and see how unselfish we'd been. But she never did. And there was the time . . . oh, lots and lots of times!" So the Dwarf gave a shake to the chain and-----.

"I can't forget it," cried the Tragedian. "And I won't forget it, either. I could forgive them all they've done to me. But for your miseries-----."
"Oh, don't you understand?" said the Lady. "There are no miseries here."

"Do you mean to say," answered the Dwarf, as if this new idea had made him quite forget the Tragedian for a moment, "do you mean to say you've been happy?"

"Didn't you want me to be? But no matter. Want it now. Or don't think about it at all."

The Dwarf blinked at her. One could see an unheard-of idea trying to enter his little mind: one could see even that there was for him some sweetness in it. For a second he had almost let the chain go: then, as if it were his life-line, he clutched it once more.

"Look here," said the Tragedian. "We've got to face this." He was using his "manly" bullying tone this time: the one for bringing women to their senses.

"Darling," said the Lady to the Dwarf, "there's nothing to face. You don't want me to have been miserable for misery's sake. You only think I must have been if I loved you. But if you'll only wait you'll see that isn't so."

"Love!" said the Tragedian striking his forehead with his hand: then, a few notes deeper, "Love! Do you know the meaning of the word?"

"How should I not?" said the Lady. "I am in love. In love, do you understand? Yes, now I love truly."
"You mean," said the Tragedian, "you mean - you did not love me truly in the old days?"

"Only in a poor sort of way," she answered. "I have asked you to forgive me. There was a little real love in it. But what we called love down there was mostly the craving to be loved. In the main I loved you for my own sake: because I needed you."

"And now!" said the Tragedian with a hackneyed gesture of despair. "Now, you need me no more?" "But of course not!" said the Lady; and her smile made me wonder how both the phantoms could refrain from crying out with joy.

"What needs could I have," she said, "now that I have all? I am full now, not empty. I am in Love Himself, not lonely. Strong, not weak. You shall be the same. Come and see. We shall have no need for one another now: we can begin to love truly."

But the Tragedian was still striking attitudes."She needs me no more-no more. No more/' he said in a choking voice to no one in particular. "Would to God," he continued, but he was now pronouncing it Gud-"Would to God I had seen her lying dead at my feet before I heard those words. Lying dead at my feet. Lying dead at my feet."

I do not know how long the creature intended to go on repeating the phrase, for the Lady put an end to that. "Frank! Frank!" she cried in a voice that made the whole wood ring. "Look at me. Look at me. What are you doing with that great, ugly doll? Let go of the chain. Send it away. It is you I want. Don't you see what nonsense it's talking?"

Merriment danced in her eyes. She was sharing a joke with the Dwarf, right over the head of the Tragedian. Something not at all unlike a smile struggled to appear on the Dwarf's face. For he was looking at her now. Her laughter was past his first defences. He was struggling hard to keep it out, but already with imperfect success. Against his will, he was even growing a little bigger.

"Oh, you great goose," said she. "What is the good of talking like that here? You know as well as I do that you did see me lying dead years and years ago. Not 'at your feet,' of course, but on a bed in a nursing home. A very good nursing home it was too. Matron would never have dreamed of leaving bodies lying about the floor! It's ridiculous for that doll to try to be impressive about death here. It just won't work."


A few links for Extra Credit

Yin, Yang, the Tao and Wholeness

Love and Relationships

Keys to the Song of Solomon

The Strongholds of Inner Space

Individuation and Wholeness by Ken Ammann

The Consequence Engine

Sexuality and Wholeness by Ray Stedman

Stumbling Stones on the Path...
The Royal Road to Wholeness The Scars of Sin, by Ray Stedman
A New Creation The Underrowers
Sex, Drugs, Rock 'n Roll The Return of the Landlord

 

Suppose you got stuck in growing up. Most of us had less than perfect parents, or a single parents, or no parents at all... Welcome to the human race!

Then Jesus entered and passed through Jericho. Now behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus who was a chief tax collector, and he was rich. And he sought to see who Jesus was, but could not because of the crowd, for he was of short stature. So he ran ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see Him, for He was going to pass that way. And when Jesus came to the place, He looked up and saw him, and said to him, “Zacchaeus, make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house.” So he made haste and came down, and received Him joyfully. But when they saw it, they all complained, saying, “He has gone to be a guest with a man who is a sinner.”

Then Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor; and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold.”

And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham; for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” (Luke 19:1-10)


Extra Credit: Abraham, by Ray Stedman

March 16, 2019