Living in the cave seemed a little safer. But it wasn’t really as safe as she thought.
Over the next few years, she had suitors, knights, kings, and princes, come find her in her cave. Though she was intrigued by some of them, she also didn’t understand them and something in her didn’t believe any kind words.
In fact, she found that she as much as she hated hurtful things, they were the only things she could believe.
Also, some trolls came as suitors, and other unsavory characters.
She certainly didn’t trust them, but at least she understood their language a little better.
She may not have liked what they said and did, and though she could believe what they said, she still mostly hid in the darkness of the
cave behind the stuff that others had left there.
Really, she found herself unable to feel safe with anyone anymore.
Soon, of their own weakness, they would weary of trying to tame her heart and leave…
or she would find some way of chasing them off…
even when she didn’t mean to…
but most of the time, at some level, she did.
What really terrified her was realizing that she wasn’t very good at telling the trolls from the knights.
That was the bad news.
The good news was that she wasn’t going to let any of them in anymore anyway. She couldn’t even tell anymore which of them might have actually been gentle, kind or safe; so, she slowly she gathered the gifts of gold and jewels they left behind as well as their armor that some left behind when they fled, and began to form it around herself, creating a more and more impenetrable shell.
Eventually, she gathered enough to create a giant form studded with shields, armor, spears and swords.
She used her new form to keep all potentials at arm’s length.
A carapace of outwardly hard things to protect the princess inside…
Scales from shields, claws from swords, teeth from spears.
Now it was her constant responsibility to keep herself safe.
She could not and would not entrust anyone else with that task. In the relationships she did have, she found that she rarely if ever interacted like
But like a dragon…
And she was lonely.
And she didn’t feel free.
Mostly, she felt tired. Tired and sometimes angry.
Every time she determines that she will do things differently this time, but when she feels afraid again, or hurt, it feels wrong
to reach out like a princess; she ends up lashing out again, like the dragon.
When a knight comes to her and tries to get to her heart, she treats him like a dragon would. And, sadly ignorant of the truth that she is actually a princess, he sees her as a dragon too.
Knights might rescue damsels but intuitively, they fight dragons.
Even if they are married to one another.
Lest we feel sorry for the knights, let us remember that it is their job to represent their King.
How they interact with a princess, even one disguised as a dragon, is their responsibility before their King. It is
possible for a knight to listen to his King, no matter how hard a princess is trying to convince him she is a dragon.
If his King sees her as a princess, he can too…
And he must if he will honor his King.
Even if he expends his life in the attempt… and he must still respect and honor her wishes while he makes the attempt, because, after all, the whole point is that she is a princess.
Because that is what his King would do, and has done.
Would there ever be a knight willing to see her as she really is rather than as she pretends to be?
Could there be a knight willing to patiently communicate what the wicked, broken perverse kingdom they live in could never tell her?
More importantly, will she ever be strong enough –
courageous enough – to let down some of the dragon facade? Will she be willing to trust anything or anyone? Or is she doomed to live, angry,
edgy, distant, cold, pre-emptive, critical, and self-protective forever?
Can she ever be free?
She would have to trust again, and it would certainly mean hurting again… could she do it?
Only if she can trust in a new King who knows she is a princess. To accept again who she is and try to live according to that Truth.
She is not a dragon.
She is a princess.
I believe that there is still One who sees her as she is, as treasure… as His princess. He is also a big believer in freedom. Though the process may be incredibly painful, anyone can be set of free – even of long worn dragon costumes. His offer is to become His child, rather than the children of merely one another.
She wants to live as a princess again… not a weak, simpering, utterly dependent fool… not that kind of princess. She wants to embrace strength and love and hope. And she can, if can have enough faith to do the work to tear off the armor – often a small piece at a time – and put the empty way of life she was taught, behind… drop it and leave it on the trail toward home… hand in Hand with the one who will always
see her as she is, as a princess.
Notes: as a therapist, I regularly run into this emotional situation, and that is what I am trying to describe here. In fact, I often wonder if this parable does not exist to some degree in the heart of every single woman and man. I wonder.
I do not see women as weak or passive, exactly the opposite – thus the story. I have seen the power of God to set people
free – it looks different in men, maybe, and I don’t really have a story for that one yet, maybe because it is too close to home and to tell it would just feel autobiographical. Maybe one of you ladies will have to write the one for us.
It does take faith, friends, counselors, teachers, forgiveness, hard work, and an willingness to accept the pain that comes with loving, to break free of these patterns, but it can be done. I have seen it, and I live it, just like you do.
God, the Real King, the True Father, and the one who sets captives free, loves to make all things new. This could be any of us no matter
who we are.
Please hear that this is not about refusing to respect a woman’s boundaries or her person.
A man can see a woman as a princess even if he has no contact with her, especially if at her request. It would not be noble for a man to pursue a woman who has asked him not to. One aspect of treating a woman like a princess is respecting her wishes.
After re-reading this story, this was one of my main concerns for anyone who might read it, so please do not misunderstand me. I nearly took
the parts of the knights out I was so concerned about it, but decide to make this statement instead.