The Teflon Woman

It’s not her real name, you understand. Just a little pet name I’ve given her. Though The Great Divorce is filled with memorable characters, she is my favorite. Perhaps because she is so unlike me. Perhaps because I so long to be her.

I have spent most of my adult life asking people to tell me I’m ok. I have gone to great lengths to make this happen. I have volunteered, worked hard, given and given, trying to prove myself. I have also compromised my integrity, made disastrous decisions, and become someone I loathe. I gather up my self-worth in a little bundle and hand it to others and allow them to do with it as they will.

This is a crippling, desperate way to live.

This week I have seen family members and friends living out the agonizing results of doing this in their own lives. My heart breaks for them. My dream for them and for me is to be free of this bondage. Hence, I find myself thinking again about Sarah Smith.

Sarah is in love. IN love. Love of the Father has so saturated her that she knows exactly who she is. She does not need the accolades of others. Nor, does she fear their criticism. Both slip off her, unable to penetrate. (Teflon!) She is free to be, and to love out of abundance, not need. She characterizes it to her husband in this way,

“What we called love…was mostly the craving to be loved. In the main, I loved you for my own sake; because I needed you.”

Her husband is horrified by the thought that she does not need him. She goes on to explain,

“What needs could I have now that I have all? I am full now, not empty. I am in Love Himself, not lonely. Strong, not weak. You shall be the same. Come and see. We shall have no need for each other now; we can begin to love truly.”

Tragically, her husband will reject the love his wife offers him. He needs to be necessary. She will mourn for him, but can no longer be manipulated by him. She is free.

I close with one last passage about this remarkable woman. In my book it is marked up with notes all around it. I have spent a lot of time here. My prayer for you, for me, for those we love, is that we will come to be this. That we will walk in freedom.

“The Happy Trinity is her home: nothing can trouble her joy.
She is the bird that evades every net: the wild deer that leaps every pitfall.
Like the mother bird to its chickens or a shield to the armed knight: so is the Lord to her mind, in His unchanging lucidity.
Bogies will not scare her in the dark: bullets will not frighten her in the day.
Falsehoods tricked out as truths assail her in vain: she sees through the lie as if it were glass.
The invisible germ will not harm her: nor yet the glittering sunstroke.
A thousand fail to solve the problem, ten thousand choose the wrong turning: but she passes safely through.
He details immortal gods to attend her: upon every road where she must travel.
They take her hand at hard places: she will not stub her toes in the dark.
She may walk among lions and rattlesnakes: among dinosaurs and nurseries of lionettes.
He fills her brim full with immensity of life: he leads her to see the world’s desire.”

May it be so.