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Psalm 34:4-5 I sought the Lord and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed.

The tale began years earlier, when the Man went for a walk in the girl’s neighbourhood. He was drawn into the hospitality of her house and upon entering, discovered the secret room where she truly lived. He waited outside the room and wooed her in love until she found the courage to let him in, and then he began to fix the broken. In time she grew to trust him. They talked, they walked, and she learned more of him, loving him ever more as the days waxed and waned.

Time passed; she changed by degrees and became the Girl. And as with any girl in love, she wanted always to be with the Man. She dreamed about him day and night, spending every waking hour with him. And because of the Man’s nature, there was no detriment to her preoccupation with him. Rather, she grew ever more beautiful, until she radiated a light that drew others into his presence; for there was space with him for all who came.

But as it will happen with love, the Girl became comfortable with the Man. Her urgent need for his constant presence began to dwindle, and one day the Girl went out alone, not telling the Man she was leaving. Though she still enjoyed the Man’s company and loved him, she had grown inattentive and careless.

This particular day was a lovely one, bright with sunshine and promise. And so she went, happy to wander well-trodden wooded paths, unaware of forgotten dangers that still lurked and waited for an unguarded moment. Of course, a flashing shimmer tricked her eye as she rambled, and captured in an instant, she pursued the gleam at a heedless trot.

Intent on catching the glimmer, the Girl at first failed to notice the darkening. She became breathless, so she slowed her pace and, little by little, grew aware of her surroundings. She had stumbled into an older part of the forest. The trees were shaggy with vines and moss, and the light failed to penetrate the dense overgrowth.

The Girl stopped in a clearing and looked around, vague memory beginning to rise. She felt the ground shift beneath her and realized too late that she had stumbled upon an old sinkhole. Although it had been patched and shored, an underlying trickle had continued to eat the ground beneath the surface, and now the tremors of her footfalls had caused the superficial repair to give way.

She was terrified, and screamed as she slid into a dark pit, helpless to arrest her fall. Tossed and overturned, she rolled to a hard stop against a sharp rock that added a bloody gash to the cuts and bruises she had accumulated in her hapless plunge. She lay still, then probed with tentative fingers to assess damage. Groaning, she pulled herself to her knees and looked up as she threw a feeble cry for help to the hole above. Her eyes made out a spindly root jutting just above her head, but a weak yank proved it far too thin to support her weight. Despair tracked her filthy cheeks with tears and her body throbbed with the pain of her tumble into the pit.

Fear was beginning to overtake her when a sudden bright beam shone into the hole. Though she had left without the Man, his love was such that he was always aware of her comings and goings, and so he had left his task to follow her. He hoped she would remember and turn, but he knew he would never abandon her even if she didn’t. And so, as she slid and cried out in fear, the Man leaped into a sprint. Though in her terror the Girl felt lost and eternally alone, the Man was to her rescue in an instant. Holding the lantern high, he climbed down to her side. He tended her wounds, washed her face, smoothed her hair with gentle hands. He carried her up and out of the darkness and set her feet on solid ground.

Though her scrapes and abrasions still ached and stung, the Girl remembered his love for her. Gratitude, relief, trust shone in her face and she threw herself at the Man. And he caught her and carried her home.

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