What would it mean to be a companion to myself instead of an adversary?

These were the words that came out of the speaker’s mouth at the Women’s Retreat I attended this weekend. To be honest, I chose to only go to one speaker session, spending the rest of the weekend on more of a silent retreat. Clearly, I went to the session I was meant to attend. For, it was the very phrase at the top that I meditated on the entire weekend.

What would it look like if I charted just one day of all the thoughts that ran through my head? How many of those thoughts would indicate that I am a companion to myself and how many would indicate that I am my own adversary?

How much time each day do I spend sabotaging myself? And in doing so, inevitably there is not much left over that is good or whole from which to draw from in order to love on those around me. And the result is that others just get my scraps – that which is one step away from being worthy of being discarded as rubbish.

What would it mean to be a companion to myself
instead of an adversary?

Admittedly, I do not have the answers to this question, but I am committed to being more aware.

When life is out of control, the one thing I can control is myself and my response to it.
And that means making darn sure I look upward to My Biggest Fan.

But me he caught – reached all the way from sky to sea; he pulled me out of that ocean of hate, the enemy chaos, the void in which I was drowning. They hit me when I was down, but God stuck by me. He stood me up on a wide-open field; I stood there saved –
surprised to be loved!

Psalm 18: 16-19, The Message



Lucy was born with a cleft lip. *

As is often the case of the young and curious, Lucy was often asked what happened to her lip. And her standard response was to say that, as a toddler, she had fallen and cut her lip on a shard of glass. As Lucy got older, she became more conscious of this anomaly on her face. She found herself often looking down, wanting to avoid any unwanted attention in the form of curiosity and questions.

When Lucy reached third grade, she was ecstatic to find out that she was going to be in the class of the MOST popular elementary school teacher, Mrs. Wilson.

Now, back in the day, the teachers were the ones who administered hearing tests to the students. And they were quite innovative in their technique. This is how it worked::

The teacher would stand on one side of the classroom door, the student on the other. The student would press his or her ear up to the door, and the teacher would whisper a statement. The student then had to repeat that particular statement out loud, thus proving that the student’s hearing was in working order.

It was Mrs. Wilson’s class’s turn to participate in the hearing test. Mrs. Wilson walked to the door and called forward the first student, Bobby.

Mrs. Wilson:: “Your shirt is blue.”
Bobby:: “My shirt is blue.”

Then, Theresa.

Mrs. Wilson:: “Your shoes are red.”
Theresa:: “My shoes are red.”

And on it went, until Lucy’s turn. She was so nervous! It was bad enough maneuvering through the every day events at school, trying desperately to not draw attention to herself and her “different-ness”, but to now have to stand in front of the class? What if she could not hear Mrs. Wilson?!?
The potential for embarrassment was almost unbearable.

With her head down, Lucy made her way to the door, turning her ear as close to the door itself as possible, hoping that her ear’s proximity to the door would strengthen her chances of avoiding embarrassment.

Mrs. Wilson put her hands up to the door, her lips so close to it, she could almost smell the culminating scents left behind from years and years of students.

In a clear voice, she said to Lucy through the door,

“I wish you were MY daughter…”

What would it mean to be a companion to myself
instead of an adversary?


* this story was told at the retreat, as was told to the speaker. I took it and altered it somewhat.

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