Thank you, Cathy!
When I was two years old my left eye was injured. We were attending a sunrise Easter service and some of the youth group kids wanted to take me hiking with them in the hills. One kid was carrying me on their shoulders and pushed a mesquite tree branch back to go under and past the tree. The limb came loose, hit me in the face, but I didn’t cry so the kids thought I was fine. I only rubbed my face and avoided the bright lights. A day later my parents realized something was wrong. A mesquite tree thorn had pierced my cornea and damaged a small part of it. I had a corneal transplant later that year and a rotation that moved the fine white scar on my iris into the blind spot peripheral. Because it was sensitive to light they put an eye patch over it, for a while, not knowing at the time that the human eye has amazing recuperative properties. (Something later learned in the field of optometry.) The scar tissue, which would have gone away, became permanent, but it barely visible now. I can see out of it just not very good, and it distorts my depth perception a little and reduces my peripheral field of vision. I played football, basketball, volleyball, and ran track all in High School but never excelled in them, because my depth perception affected my coordination. I did get an Atari game system growing up (how old is that?!) which did help me with hand-eye coordination, so I enjoyed those “therapy sessions”. 😉
Later came the rabbit teeth, for which I had to get braces and so I went through all the teasing that goes with that. In kindergarten, I had a punk kid threaten to kill me almost every time he saw me, just because he, like you said, couldn’t process his own pain. My dad eventually found out and had a “come to Jesus moment” with him, and the punk never did threaten me after that, but somehow appreciated my dad because he cared enough to instruct the boy onto the right path.
I also was “the smart one”. In Sunday School, whenever the Teacher or Youth Leader asked a Bible question all eyes turned towards me. I knew the answer but resented the fact that no one else seemed to even try to think about the question or answer.
I didn’t want to “carry people” who would toss me aside when I had helped them “get the grade” or win the “Bible trivia” game.
Writing and reading was my outlet. I could internalize ideas and then build ideas out of them. I have always felt the need to build something, but I didn’t know what.
So I am not saying all this to be the victim here. I am just saying I’ve been through some of the same junk others have had to go through. I know what it’s like to be “the loner”, “the outcast”, “the nerd”. My path to freedom was learning how to forgive everyone I viewed as my enemy. How to put my burdens on Jesus, because I wasn’t doing such a great job of carrying them. They crush you, isolate you, and can destroy you if you don’t let God-sized shoulders carry them. I went through a stage of trying to people please but found out that never works and only leads to more bondage. God won’t let us carry vengeance. He says it belongs to Him, and if we take it up, we are effectively “stealing” from Him. He carries both Justice and Mercy in His hands and never contradicts either. He satisfied Justice at The Cross of Calvary when He took upon Himself the sins of the entire world and paid for them in His Own Body. He is the Doorway to Justice and Mercy. There is no other path that leads to freedom but through Him. And that’s what I must tell the world about. We don’t have to live as “less than” when He has made us “more than” conquerors.
My writing was once an escape from the outside world. A refuge into my own imagination where I could make sense of the world and create people I wanted to be with, but that was still an illusion. God loves the world with all its scars. Many Christians still live as if they must remain in the prison they were set free from, just so that the other prisoners won’t feel jealous when they step out of those bars. Christians who still cower in the shadows of a cell with a wide-open door are doing no one any favors. There is an abundant life outside. We no longer have to live behind the bars that the world expects. God tells us to go out into the highways and byways and compel others to walk in liberty and set captives free. We cannot do that behind bars. We Christians must demonstrate a life lived in the Joy of Our Redeemer. That is what makes other prisoners no longer content with their four walls, but seek the One who Has earned the keys to open their cells too.
I quit writing for a long time because I could no longer use it to escape. Years later, when I came back to it, I was given a renewed vision for what my writing could do, and a mission and ministry for it. I could express these very same kinds of struggles through characters but demonstrate a way that someone who believes they are a “less than” can become so much more, when they find their lives empowered by the Sustaining Vine of Jesus, who carried all of their burdens, who makes us into something more than we could ever make of ourselves. I want others, especially Christians most of all, to learn what they were made to be. That God equips them for what He calls them to and gifted them for. There is no lack in Him. We don’t need magical powers, or strange beasts to befriend us to make us formidable in the world of imagination and in the “Surface World” in which we live. We need only to go Through Him. The Door to Discover What’s Ahead.
I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. [John 10:9 KJV]
I am willing to go it alone, IF I must, but I shouldn’t have to when you all are my brothers and sisters in Christ and we are part of The Body of Christ.
Brian Stansell (aka O'Brian of the Surface World)
I was born in war.
Fighting from my first breath.