She came back to visit

again.

I almost didn’t

recognize her this time. She

greeted me with hug and grin

so I let her in.

We laughed and cried

over bitter coffee

and charming stories

while I burned inside.

Behind smiles and small talk

we passed the day until night

crept upon us again—

then she leaned in,

gently held my face

and said:

“Don’t you wish you were known

like I know you?

Shown care and respect

like I show you?

Visited and loved?

Oh, poor you,

it seems you’re unlovable, unpleasing,

a beast—

look at them all leaving,

saying they love you

but staying far away

where you still seem tame,

and running when they think

of passing time with the true

you, inside your cage.

Oh, I truly weep for you.

‘Ogre!’ I hear them

say of you.

Tell me,

how do you endure?”

I told her

(while she scooted closer),

“I was wondering

when you might think to leave.

It’s getting late, you see

and time, it seems,

is wasting,

and I…

I don’t know,

I don’t think we should be…”

“Oh, but cut to the chase.

You know you are alone

without me,

misunderstood,

and if the world could

it would rather do

without you.

Answer me!

What do you believe

is the point of you existing?”

By this time

she had pinned

my shoulders to the back

of my creaky chair

and her tears,

flying from eyes of lightning,

were nickel-sized,

dropping with thunder,

flooding the floor below.

“Please just stop this,” I cried.

“I see what you mean,

but I’ve believed

your report before

and I—

I was left lifeless

until He revived me

breathing grace in time

through truth

into me—”

“And who is he,

this man?

Oh, don’t you know,”

(now she was cackling)

“what happened

with the rest of them?

‘Friends’

who said they cared

for you just to—”

“But it’s true!

It’s Truth!

His Words are different:

perfect, set,

proven, pure,

a surety for me.

An anchor of hope

keeping me steady when

this flood of regret

and depression

overwhelms me.

And you know what He told me?”

“Save it for someone

who enjoys fairy tales,

little princess

but I—

I am a realist

really recognizing what it really is:

you,

(and this is the truth)

you are hated.

Consider the faces

of the ones you

confided in.

They are either gone

or frowning at you,

wishing they never met you.”

“Stop with your dressed-up deceit!

You multiply kisses

just to smother me

with thoughts of myself,

my worst enemy.

You view me with regard

too light, though:

it seems you delight

to stalk me.

See:

you are right

when you say I’m unlovable

and a creep;

perverse, a beast cursed

to destroy everyone around me,

a leech thirsty

to suck the life out of these ‘friends.’

Indeed,

sweat pours from my pores

with perverse idolatry and blasphemies—

you are right.

But your indictment

is not enough to describe me.

Try again.

And when they treat me with contempt

it is actually better than my condition has

prescribed for me,

because I was born more than beastly,

in my rages with passions more unnatural

than what even beasts dare to seek,

and they do merely what they were made to do.

It is ‘I’ and ‘me’

who refuse to be

who we were created to be,

who we once used to see,

unveiled and beautiful.

Just an ogre? No.

I am much more deformed,

for our former glory was greater

and now I feast on things worse than feces,

yet blame everyone around me

for all my spewing…”

“You, an ogre? A leech?”

(now she stood with spread feet

and hands on hips)

You are not those

horrible things.

What have you been reading?

Worse than a worm

you claim to be,

but I’m telling you:

you deserve some respect,

some affirmation from the world.

You haven’t lost all dignity!

Fight for your rights!”

“But my rights have died

along with the old me

and I no longer need to strive

to save my shattered reputation with man,

even with these ‘friends,’

because He

became my sin for me

and I,

I now am His righteousness.

His perfect life of love is mine

and I am His.

So even though

I know little

of the depths of my depravity,

He set His covenant love upon me

and proved its sufficiency

at the cross and tomb left empty

to deliver me from His just wrath

and rescue me from me,

from you,

Self-Pity—”

“Why,

how dare…

that is NOT my name!

I am your friend

and I have remained

faithful to you

since you were a babe

and I…”

Oh, but you can know someone better

whom you’ve known for less

time. And He’s known me

since before the earth was birthed;

loves me with a love timeless.

You don’t know this kind of grace

because all you do is look to me,

but please!

I am no longer me.”

“What logic!

Riddle me this:

how can you

not be you,

which means,

how can you

not be me?”

“It’s a divine mystery

hidden until recently

that Christ,

the Second Person of the Trinity,

should see fit,

through His Spirit sent,

to dwell in me,

changing my name

from “Self-Seeking”

to “His.”

Him in me, and I

am hidden in Him,

united to my righteousness

who reigns in Heaven,

interceding for me now.

Although I invited you in

again

to my near demise,

but for His faithfulness

to me,

to keep me from utter

self-destruction

and the desecration of His great Name.

You see, He…

hello?”

I looked around

for even her shadow’s hint

but she must have

slipped out of the house

again.