There is an ancient story that tonight, I feel in my bones.
The moment after a great victory can be a time of intense need. It’s like rawness intersects with both truth and our vulnerability as exhaustion and fear drape themselves across our accomplishments, hiding them from our view and almost negating them from our memory.
Thousands of years ago, there was a famine and drought in the Middle East. The queen—who easily could have been the inspiration for Cersei on Game of Thrones—brought all her priests and minions and wise leaders (850 of them) to challenge a man who says he can make it rain.
The man declares that whoever can make their god destroy their altar with fire first, has proven they have the god to bring back the rain. He allows the 850 to begin before him. They choose the driest wood and the best sacrificial bull. They dance, chant, beg, weep, and tear their bodies to get their god to listen. The dry wood curls in the heat of the midday, but remains ever un-burned.
Then the other man swaggers over to them and asks if perhaps their god is in the bathroom or can’t hear them? Maybe he got the wrong day? I can imagine the rage they spat in his face.
He walked back to his side and dug a trench around his altar. He then poured water on all the wood three times—all the way until it filled the trench. I’m assuming with every movement, he was being cocky in his mockery of the 850+ bleeding and weeping priests that the queen was depending on. He wasn’t backing down. They were his challenge; he was going to win, and he knew it.
He stands to the side and does a slight nod to the heavens. I imagine a facial expression to make Robert DeNiro proud; in my mind, he smirk-grinned. A fire from heaven falls upon the altar, consuming it and the wood, the water, and the bull. His god won the right to a capital G. And apparently, winner takes all. Because the man rounds up the 850 posers and slaughters them for being Queen Cersei-Wannabe’s minions and useless to the big-G God in town.
The queen’s husband—basically, Lord Farquaad from Shrek—is SO angry as the DeNiro-grinning man points to the sky and a tiny black cloud. He tells the tiny Farquaad to race on home in his chariot, before it gets stuck in the mud. The rain. Farquaad is determined to tell Queen Almost-Cersei how horrible the DeNiro man has been to him. He races off in his chariot.
The winning DeNiro squint-watches him run, and then—right here, I believe his mind begins to race. Emotion is beginning to seep between the lines of victory. He can’t let Farquaad beat him. So, Almost DeNiro hikes his robe up between his legs and runs in his sandals like Forrest. He outruns the tiny and pissed off Farquaad.
This man has seen GREAT victory. He took on the posers and annihilated them. He accomplished what he came to do. Who could he fear?
Enter exhaustion with a side girl: Queen Cersei Wannabe. The queen spits at him that she is going to kill him just like he killed her 850+ priests and leaders. Even in the torrential rain—AS HIS VICTORY IS SOAKING HIS OWN FACE—he breaks.
Fear and terror overcome him. He can no longer see the victory that happened on the mountain. He can’t see the burned place in the earth. He can’t feel how he outran the tiny king.
He can only see fear.
And he runs. He hides in the hills. He shakes in fear that the Queen—the one who didn’t even bother to show up on the mountainside to save her 850+ men—is coming for him.
He can’t see his victories. He can only see his fears. And this cocky and brave man is reduced to hiding, weeping, being broken.
The story continues that an angel—a representative of the God who won the big G on the mountain—meets him there in the desert. He has to chase after him. Not to rail on him for running. He doesn’t slap him around for not acknowledging how he made it rain (the entire point of all the players on the mountain).
Instead, he gives him a pillow to lay on. He gives him food. He encourages him to sleep. To rest. He basically brings him a kit of mindfulness and self-care 101.
This week, and in my story and journey, I have taken on many a mountain. I have gone toe to toe with those who believed adamantly that their god would win (like selfishness, naïveté, and narcissism that says we in AZ don’t need a rape crisis center or after care for survivors). But I have brought a fight to the line and given a DeNiro smirk as my army has risen, my passion burned, and an explosion of consuming victory took the mountain.
And, I have heard the whispers of the Cersei Wannabe (struggles, memories coming up, debt, job and car problems, health) telling me it’s going to kill me.
And tonight, I ran. I ran like hell to the hills—fear overwhelming me. Not because the threats are true (they do have a potential of being very real) but because I am exhausted. I have no reserves to draw from after the exhaustion of all the success.
And I need to rest and then stand up. I am not alone. And Cersei Wannabe, has to recognize the army standing with me. Each member beating the ground with hope. Each roar from their depths carrying loaded words of encouragement.
I wonder if you’ve experienced the same? If so, it’s okay to rest. Tomorrow, we will stand.
Rest. Recuperate. Rise.
#NotAlone #KickAtDarkness #DeNiroAndCersei #AKAElijahAndJezebel