I remember living in a cave of darkness within my own mind. It was not a comfortable darkness. It was damp and uncomfortable. The ground was rough and hard. But if I sat curled in the deepest corner, he did not yell at me too much. He liked me being there, so rarely did I feel the crushing blow of his strong hand.
However, in the distance I could see a pale golden light from time to time. I could hear beautiful music that would awaken a longing in my heart. One day...the breeze brought the scent of sweetness to my nostrils.
I decided I would crawl towards it. The closer I got to the light, the higher the ceiling in my cave appeared. I slowly was able to stand erect, though it cause muscles unused for years to scream out in pain. The music and sweet aroma drew me on.
Then the light was suddenly blocked by darkness. The scent was replaced by the stench of an unwashed male body. Yelling drowned out the sound of the heavenly music. As his fist connected with my jaw, blood filled my mouth and I fell to my hands and knees.
"Where do you think you are going? You belong to me! Go back and get to work pleasing me!" came his guttural snarls.
I quickly made my way back to my safe dark corner. Long ago I had learned defiance only brought more beatings and pain. Curled in a fetal position I rocked myself forwards and backwards, trying to find some solace in the place I must live. Many people had called to me from the place of light. Some would tell me just to be strong. Some would berate me for not just getting out of there. None seemed to understand how hard it was to get past the man of pain.
Then I heard a soft whisper in my ear.
"There is another way to get out so he will not see and stop you. Shh...just listen. You can not see me, can you?" came the gentle voice.
I shook my head.
"I am cloaked...here look for a moment. I will unveil the front of me, but he will not see me, because I will keep the cloak on the back," she continued.
For a moment I saw a flash of such unworldly beauty, I felt as if I was in heaven. I could not understand the colors, for I had lived in a world of darkness. I just knew I wanted to see more. In the next instant, she disappeared from sight.
Before I could panic she said, "I am still here, my dear one. Your life is slowly fading from your eyes in this darkness. Here...my cloak is large. I will cover you with it and together we will walk out of here."
Feelings of panic swept over me. Excitement that I could escape at last. But mostly fear pervaded my body and spirit. I had never been any place but here in my life! What would I do out of the cave? How would I survive? Though the man beat me regularly...it was something I was familiar with. And he also fed me regularly. At least my body wasn't starving. I began to tremble and found it hard to breathe.
My new friend sensed all this and drew closer. "Here, just for a moment, let me put my cloak over you," she whispered.
I felt a softness like I had never experienced engulf me. The sweet aroma I had smelled previously swept over me. I felt a warmth and there was a fluttering behind me.
She giggled quietly, "Never mind my wings. Sometimes they tickle."
I still found it hard to see her, but was able to make out her eyes. They were full of wisdom and love. But I could also sense a deep power under them. Like a volcano that could erupt in an explosion of fury.
"Are you ready to go with me?" she asked. Tuning into my fears she assuaged them by saying, "I will never leave you, my dear. I will go with you and teach you how to dance in the Light. I will take care of you, little one."
I nodded my head and whispered my acquiescence. I felt her arm enfold me and I felt stronger then ever before. I could feel her soft breath on my face and it felt as if it was my own. We quietly crawled, then walked towards the light. I saw the dark man look over in our direction cocking his head as if he had heard something. We paused until he looked away. Then we more quietly continued. Two more times my heart caught in my throat as he looked our way. Each time I felt my new friend's wings wrap around me. I felt her heartbeat calm mine.
Finally, we reached the opening and stepped into the glorious light! A few more steps brought us to the middle of a clearing. The beauty and glory around me was almost more than I could take in. I looked around in amazement! I could still feel the energy of my friend and her wings around me.
Then I heard my friend's voice. I was startled because I heard it come from a short distance away. "You can take your cloak off now, little one," she said.
I pushed the cloak back from my face and let it drop to the ground around my feet. I saw her standing in front of me under a beautiful blooming tree.
"How did you get there?" I asked in confusion.
"I was waiting for you here," she laughed.
"But you were with me. I felt you, I felt your heart beat, I felt your wings!" I continued perplexed.
"Yes you did, little one. I loaned you my heart and wings, until you didn't need them anymore. Look, you have your own!" she declared with a radiant smile.
It was then that I turned my head and beheld a huge pair of beautiful wings coming from my shoulder blades! I noticed I had no fear. My heart was full of love and joy!
"See...I only loaned you the energy you needed until you were strong enough to remember who you are! Come now, my dear one...let us fly together. It is time for you to SOAR!!!"
And with that, my wings extended and flexed as I leaped to the heavens to fly with the Angels!