The Woman in the Cottage

Sometimes I wake up out of a light sleep, to find that my mind has been huddled over it’s little spinning wheel, fretting and working to spin a thread, some little yarn of a dreamy story. I don’t know if it’s only me, or if it happens to anyone else. In those moments it appears that my mind has been spinning a story that is not really that great, almost like what you would get if Siri or some operating system tried to tell a story without a conscious mind guiding it. So I feel like that is where my little half-baked silly strange and odd little “non-sense” dreams come from; just a little poorly mixed mash of various thoughts, ideas and events that have slipped through the windmills of my mind. As I wake up, I can see more and more how ridiculous this empty, unfocused line of — what is the opposite of reasoning? Unreasoned? I suppose the word subconscious fits — how this subconscious, un-thoughtful, line of thought has been progressing. It is so silly, aimless and groundless that it is readily shut down and left behind as I move my mind on to more fruitful fields, and more reasonable endeavors.

I was thinking about that because sometimes I feel that I do the same thing in another space, which is when I have to deal with problematic issues. Whenever a problem comes up, my mind turns towards the issue. And so my thoughts run in that direction; they launch off on a campaign of thought to figure out what to do, and I suppose that part is alright. But what I find happens many times is that I again rather come to out of a line of reasoning that has merely been “progressing;” running along its line of low-end reasoning, almost as if without me. Many a time I have woken up from a similar daydream, only to find that my imaginary scenarios and solutions have not been Godly, and that the way I have been thinking about things and working them out has been away from the spirit of Christ. So not only have my thoughts been operating without my fully present, conscious and thoughtful powers, but also without God. Without bringing the situation to him, and asking him for his light, insight and his answers. I am always amazed at the answers I get – the wholly different and more wholesome note I get when I bring a situation to the Lord, and ask him for help. The spirit in my heart changes, and I am humbled in His presence; then I can be brought a little more into a better space. It is so interesting to notice how different the spirit of the Lord — when I really try to listen — feels to my own. The Spirit of the Lord is not filled with impatience, with hurry — or with fear. With all the little  “I just have to’s,” or “there’s no other way” types of thinking my mind seems to be readily overrun with. But the Spirit of the Lord – whenever I catch a glimpse of it, feels quiet — and large; somehow simply having to do with the things that are, and must be. And if I let him in, and let go of the little meanderings of my own silly mind, the atmosphere of my heart, and the color of my mind changes.

In a book called Phantastes there is a wonderful story of a man who is on a journey of discovery. One day he comes across a little cottage in the forest, and he meets an old woman in the cottage. He spends some time with her, and he learns beautiful and wise things from his time with her in her little cottage. In the story her cottage is almost symbolic of a sort of temple of the Spirit, a place in faerie-land, outside of this world. It is a place where this woman can help Anodos see things clearly, and he has to go back out from these experiences into the world, and try to implement what he has learned as he continues his journey. As he departs, she tells him, “Listen to me. You will not see what you expect when you go out of that door. Only remember this: whenever you wish to come to me, enter wherever you see this mark.” And it was a mark of dark red, like an arrow, on her hand. And she told him that wherever he saw that mark, he would be able to find her, and come to her for words of wisdom to guide and encourage him. But as he leaves her cottage, he immediately forgets all about it. And isn’t that the way it goes? Somehow the air of this world is different – the focus, our rules and idea of  “reality” seem so different. And in this air, we quickly forget the heavenly vision.

In the book, Anodos says, “My father’s voice recalled us from trampling down the rich long grass, soon to be cut down and laid aside for the winter. I had quite forgotten all about Fairy Land, and the wonderful old woman, and the curious red mark.” But later on, when the young man is in trouble, he finds himself looking for answers. And then — when he is hungry and searching, he comes upon the mark again suddenly. He doesn’t even remember what it means, until he opens the door, and sees the old woman again; and he finds help once again from the woman in the cottage. As he gets older and wiser, he then begins to consciously look for it. He says,

“I often think of the wise woman in the cottage, and of her solemn assurance that she knew something too good to be told. When I am oppressed by any sorrow or real perplexity, I often feel as if I had only left her cottage for a time, and would soon return out of the vision, into it again. Sometimes, on such occasions, I find myself, unconsciously almost, looking about for the mystic mark of red, with the vague hope of entering her door, and being comforted by her wise tenderness.”

— Isn’t that lovely?

— Father, thank you for always being there for us, for loving us, and for how you are always ready to help when our spirits turn to search for you. Help us not to forget — in the midst of all the things that fill our lives; help us to remember to look for you. You are the light of the world, and the light of our lives. Help our mind’s eye to search for your spirit first of all; to look for that “mark of red,” that place where your wind and your Spirit blows. Help us to enter there, to sit at your feet, and hear your words of guidance and wisdom for the situations in our lives. We are your children, and you are our Father. We need your help so much to see things right, and to live right; we even need help just to have the strength to follow you. Help us to follow you, and to let you be our Captain – let you be the guide, help and savior of our life and souls. Your way leads to life eternal. You are the door to the only true and good answers, and the road that can lead us on a course to full and eternal salvation. Not only for ourselves but for our shipmates too; and even for all the other ships that are out at sea. ~ Amen

~ Beth 🌸

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Just a little flower, turning her face to find the sun. I don’t always feel his rays on me, but when I do, the warmth and the feeling is simply wonderful, and I never want to be in the shadows again. Isn’t he lovely?

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