My youngest is brilliant with a grinder and a forge. Able to create intricate designs from any piece of metal he can find (aka why I have so few pieces of silverware left) it isn’t unusual for me to find little weapons in a bush in the yard, in his bed or lying around the house. Little weapons that are typically used for mindless carving into things (aka why I am not replacing any furniture). Never used for self-harm, (yes I have explained this to a police officer after 5150 calls) these tiny weapons are not only a way for him to exercise his creative mind but they serve a much deeper purpose for him even though he can’t see it.
You see, these tiny weapons are always available, just in case. Hidden around the house and yard he is always ready to defend himself, always ready to protect those he loves, always ready to keep the “bad guys” away. Are they real? Not anymore, but there was a time in his young life when the monsters were real in his world. And with a weapon you don’t have to fear getting hurt, you can always protect yourself.
The monsters are different now. We fight daily battles for which the only weapon I can use is prayer. The battles he faces I can’t comprehend. Sometimes, as a parent it is hard to know which is the most important one for me to fight.
I think about my own tiny knives. What do I use to protect myself? No, I don’t whittle and forge tools, but I do have things that protect me. The vulnerable side of me that subconsciously uses extra weight to protect my heart (because no one will want to get close to you if you are heavy); the independent side of me that protects my future (because if I don’t count on anyone then I won’t get stuck when they walk away); the side of me that is smart and in control because a lack of control looks like jumping off into an abyss. Those are just a few of the things that come to mind. And they are really hard to let go, even when you know them and the reasons for them.
So we continue to fight, to protect, to pray, to heal. But today I ask you…what are the protective factors you use for monsters real and imagined?