I let His words rest upon me. I do not fight them off this time. I have pleased Him. How I have longed to hear those words! And now that I have heard them, I cannot receive them! “Oh, Papa!” I cry, I find myself looking longingly at Him, still trying to absorb His words deep within me.
I think He sees me struggling to obey. Gently, He releases my face. “Child, let Me anoint your wounds, it will help.” In His hand I see a small faceted bottle contain an orange-gold liquid.
“Yes, Papa,” I reply knowing I must expose myself to His scrutiny. Quickly I unlace the vest, carefully removing it and the rest of the garments He has given me.
Standing naked before Him, the fire is hot upon my back. He beckons me nearer. As I obey, He says, “This is the oil of joy. Let it penetrate your wounds to the deepest places within you.” Tenderly He anoints the still deep wounds across my belly. I feel it penetrating the depths of those wounds with a peculiar warmth that begins to spread within me. Oddly I feel a weight on my shoulders and just as suddenly it slips off. I hear it softly fall on the ground. I know what it is, I do not have to look; it is a cloak of mourning. I realize I have been wearing it for years.
“Yes,” He agrees, “You have worn it many years, even since you were ten years old. It has been in your family at least three generations, a family heirloom.”
I know He is right, but I do not want such an heirloom any longer.
“I want to give you this.” He continues, holding out the beautiful flask of oil to me.
“Oh, Papa!” But I have nothing to give You!” I am not even sure why I have said that.
“Give Me the cloak.” He instructs.
Immediately I move to obey, holding the foul garment gingerly. I do not want to touch it more than necessary, do not want to allow it to get a grip on me again. Quickly I hand it to Him.
Without hesitation, He takes it and flings it into the fire place. The flames consume it hurriedly and brightly. In a moment it is gone. I stand dumbly for a moment, realizing that constant companion the heaviness is finally gone. The reality of the change seems to elude me. I look at the beautiful bottle in my hands. I feel as though I should give it back to Him. I find it difficult to believe that He will not require it back. Receiving gifts has always been difficult because of this fear that some how they are not really mine.
“My gifts are not something that I ever demand back.” He says without condemnation.
The truth of His words reverberates through my deepest places. What He has given me is truly mine to keep! “What shall I do with this Papa?”
“You may keep it into the cabinet by the windows.”
As I carry it to the cabinet I have a sudden new understanding. I had always wondered about the gifts displayed in one whose ways were difficult for me. Now I see, he gave his widow’s mite, all he had, with an honest heart. And He was pleased and He blessed that one.
Then I see it! He is pleased with me! I have truly pleased Him! My heart leaps as I finally understand! I rush back to His side, the oil still in my hand. “Oh, Papa—Your grace to me! Your grace!” I press my face into His hand, tears of joy streaming down my face. “Papa, your grace, your grace, your grace!” I have no other words to speak.
Tenderly He lifts my face and kisses my forehead. I think He is smiling. “Here, come, let me dress you.” He covers me again in His garments. I feel so secure in His garments.
“Please, Papa, anoint me again.” I am not sure why I ask this, but my heart longs for it.
Taking the bottle from my hand, He begins, touching the top of my head, the tip of my nose, my ears, the base of my throat, my hands and feet. “Take this freely, it contains enough for a lifetime.” He hands the bottle back to me.
As I go to put it in the cabinet once again, I am struck by another realization. I am free—I never have to return to the abyss again.