Those who have suffered child abuse have the makings of proto-split personalities. I am aware of different well-developed modes of my personality. There is what I call the Majordomo who wants to be in protective control. There is also the crying chld who just wants to be loved and cared for, the part of me that has been sacrificed by the Majordomo's ambition. The biblical story of the slaughter of the innocents is horrifying on a social scale, but there is a sense in which the Herod in all of us slaughters our innocent one, whose inability to die as the core of our personality, saves us as a child of God beloved by Jesus, God's Child.
Beyond the protective guard of Herod
who wants nothing more than to be in control
out of fear of being dethroned
by what cannot be explained--
the divine mystery at the heart of it all--
lies a little child, helpless,
yet full of all power.
The old story is true at depths beyond language,
testified to by prophecies continually being fulfilled,
with storied words to help us see
the child inside who cries
cries for me,
with Wisdom’s knowing
that, even in some twisted way,
the one who rules with all demand
thinks she rules for me.
This One new born
has borne me in all my helpless power
while I waited in darkness
for hope of light that didn’t come to save
in the way I, in my desire for control, commanded.
Yet once again the ancient wisdom of story
comes to birth at last
in the little Child who leads us all
(as little christs) beyond our Herods within
by going straight into the adders’ den
to embrace, as Lamb, our devouring wolves
until killed by death’s poisonous sting.
The Child who cannot die
transforms all through understanding the ravening,
though not by the violence itself,
as some suppose and teach and kill.
Instead, she offers all to be taken in by our ritual
remembering and consummation
in the confusing Mystery’s embrace of grace,
and wolves, while still wildly seeking
into wily companions and devotion’s friend.
Now here, at the cusp of this new day dawning,
face to face again with my child who lay cold
and buried by grandiose Herodian dreams,
I understand better Love’s sacrifice
in this child willing to be sacrificed for me
to aid in love what must be at last--
the quelling of Herod’s governing guard
and rule of fear that swallows all in death.
© 2006 Tess Lockhart. All rights reserved.