Ashley Wilda

Author

Tag: Mission

Warrior

I kneel before him, one knee bent, the other pressed into the dirt.  My head is bowed.  My armor reeks with blood and the filth of war.  I have been fighting.  I have been fighting hard.  I have the heavy, sick feeling that I have been fighting all the wrong things.  Face away from the leftover ravages of empty war on monsters with black blood.  Denying its existence.  I delighted in it.  The plain behind me is pitted with grey hollows, shrouded in wraiths of mist.    I am alone.

He stands before me, a pillar of bright yellow light, vaguely man shaped.  I know him–my heart responds to his presence.  Guilt, shame, iron-shod heavy.  Drawn to him, pulling, tugging inside me.  Darkness.  I hate myself.  He is kind.  I know his eyes are on me, I look at them, and know them.  Even though I cannot see them clearly, I feel that I can, as if with another kind of seeing.  My heart sees.  My heart knows.  My body, my soul, bows before its King.

He wants it, the dark parts of me.  He wants me to surrender them.  My spine rebels, hard, tensing, at the thought, the muscles in my back clenching.  Anger rises, billows, smokes.  I take a deep breath.  I recognize this sickness, this disease. Own it.  Love it even as I hate it.  Let it go.  This warrior must fall.

I will it up, the black, oily darkness, from every part of me.  Will it up, snaking, from my toes up through my torso and in from my arms and fingers.  Gathering in my chest.  My head jerks back, my chest heaves upward, I close my eyes, mouth open.  It leaves me, I can feel it, spiraling up from the center of my chest, wafting in the air.  Repulsive.  Infecting.  Evil.  Breath leaves me, whispers from my mouth as it escapes me.  He absorbs the snake into himself, and it vanishes, as if it never was.

My limbs feel lighter, my shoulders more buoyant.  I feel like light.  I open my eyes, look at myself.  Shining new raiment, cloth I have never touched, textured and real, barely kissing my skin, loose.  A white, long-sleeved jerkin buckled over light brown, ankle-length breeches at the waist.  At the same time the most real thing I have ever felt and the most otherworldly, like it could vanish at any moment yet leave me aching for the wonderful truth of it.  My blood, my filth, my weapons, gone–just a weighted memory of a reality.

I look up at the King.  He is smiling, I know.  He reaches out his right arm and slides a glimmering sword into the leather loop attached to my belt on my left side.  I draw it in a smooth, clean motion, lay it across my palms and fingers, survey it in admiration.  Long.  Light.  Clean.  Sharp.  Shining.  Mine.  I sheath it again, and look up at the King.  My heart, the thing in my chest tells him, I am surrendered.  I am finally at peace.  I am yours.

He looks down at me.  Powerful.  Righteous.  Loving.  “I have loved you with an everlasting love,” he says.  His voice is strong, commanding, gentle, reassuring, authoritative, confident, kind.  Too many things at once to think of, only feel.  A pause.  Then, “Now go out into the world and be my light.”

And I do.

Wondrously Dangerous Thing

I don’t think anyone understands how fiercely I love.

I don’t think anyone understands how intense love grows inside of me, how quickly it blooms, how loudly it roars.

It bellows its presence and dares any challenger to remain standing.

I don’t think anyone can really, truly understand what love means to me.

Love means this: you protect your own at all costs.

Yes, I know the women are meant to be the “nurturers.”  The men are the ones with all that testosterone, the big muscles, the aggressive instincts.  They are the protectors… right?

Yes, I say.  Yes they are.  They are better suited to the task.  But…

Some of us are born just a bit different than the others.

Yeah, I do feel the urge to nurture once in a blue moon.  But to tell the truth… I enjoy a good tussle over a pedicure any day.  I enjoy things that get my blood pumping.  I enjoy things that challenge me physically and mentally.  I enjoy wildness and rough-and-tumble-ness and things that test my limits, push me ’til I break.  I like things that are rough and raw and real and challenging.  I think differently.

When I love someone, my first thought, my first instinct, is to protect them.

And I make that my mission.

This means that when we’re walking from the car to the dorm at night, and I get a funny feeling, my mind goes into overdrive.  I walk a little bigger, stand a little taller, throw my shoulders back a little more, walk with a slight swagger. Walk like I own the street.  The whole city, even.  A walk that says, don’t you dare mess with me.  I think of what kick or punch I would throw first, what I would say, what would we do.  I’m always aware of the people around us, the vibes I get off them, always scanning, always looking.  I’m analyzing places, situations, one step ahead, expecting.  Listening to my gut.

When I dream up stories and put the people in my world into them… the plot always turns out the same.

I fight for them.  I protect them.  I sacrifice for them.  I prove myself to be strong enough.

No matter what.

No matter what that means.

No matter what sacrifices need to be made.

I. Push. Through.

Yes, I care about feelings.  Yes, I love conversations that have depth and emotion and substance and are just plain real.  We all do.  Yes, I care about romantic relationships.  Yes, I care about the everyday ins and outs of caring for the emotional and spiritual well-being of those around me.  I am human.  And yes, I am a girl, after all.

But my first, primal, gut instinct that will not be denied–

My mission, my calling–

Is to protect you.

And this is why, oh this why, when something goes wrong and I find out and my gut just clenches and my breathing quickens until I find out it’s all okay and then I surprise myself and cry just a bit–

The first thought that goes through my head is why didn’t I protect you.  why was I not there to protect you.  why didn’t I see this coming.  

And every single time that has happened… it hasn’t been a physical thing that I can prevent.

It’s been a sickness.  A sad thing that’s affected you.  An injury.  Someone’s scared you.  Broken your heart.

And outside I’m normal but inside the anger sparks and flares and shoots into the dark dark sky and I’m all big and bursting and aggressive inside and ready to lash out at whoever hurt you, make him pay…

But sometimes there’s no one to blame.  And sometimes there’s nothing I can do.  And sometimes I have to take a deep breath and realize that I can’t protect everyone I love from the world.

But I can try.

And I can be there.

And if, heaven forbid, it actually happens some day, actually happens that I have to put my life on the line for you–

I won’t even blink.  Won’t even think.  All this purposeful, cyclical, pointless thought will turn into action.

I will become so ferocious you won’t even recognize me.

A she-panther fighting for her cubs.

I will fight tooth and nail.  I will take a bullet for you.

I’ll simply explode.

And you will know exactly how big and ferocious and burning and unquenchable my love is for you.

And so when I watch that movie, and hear the girl crying, and I start and my heart twists a little bit because for a second it sounds just like you…  I’ll smile ruefully to myself.

But the truth is… I wouldn’t change a thing.

And if it all crashes and burns someday…

You’ll know.

Love is a wondrously dangerous thing.

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