TammyA recent talk I heard entitled Cinderella Revisited¬†inspired last week’s art activity at the Lighthouse, a twelve-month, faith-based residential treatment program for women recovering from substance abuse. The essence of the message was that Cinderella was dead in the enslaved environment of her life with a wicked step-mother and two ugly sisters whose every intent was intended oppression. And that Prince Charming was really misnamed; he needed to be called the Prince Rescuer, because that was what he was.

When invited to draw their own picture of themselves as Cinderella – dead in their addiction and afflicted by who or what represented their wicked step-mother or ugly sisters, they could identify the death that stalked them through substance abuse. The invitation for the second picture was who they are or hope to become having been rescued by the Prince of Peace. Tammy’s images illustrates the before and after beautifully.

But I was fascinated with Lorraine’s two images, both of which include wolf eyes above her self-portrait. The “enslaved, dead in her addiction” self-portrait shows a woman with the exaggerated eyes of someone strung out on drugs. The “rescued” Cinderella’s eyes are more relaxed in comparison. Above each of the self-portraits is a pair of wolf eyes she pointed out. Lorraine continued, “You know there is an Indian legend about a fight that is going on inside each of us.” She described it as a terrible fight between two wolves. One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego. Then she described the good wolf as being joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, giving, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. She concluded, “You know the wolf that wins is the one each person feeds. I’ve been feeding the bad wolf.” She went on, “Now that I’m in recovery, I’m feeding the good wolf. And when it’s well-fed, I’m going to go find my sisters and bring them to (the Prince Rescuer) Jesus!”

Forgive Them Their TrespassesChristina’s weeping Cinderella, entitled “Forgive Them Their Trespasses,” is a poignant picture. Her mouth is only partially drawn symbolic of her reluctance to tell her story. She shared a small bit with me and it’s a powerful story. Only she doesn’t know it yet. All I could do was lean close to her confidently saying, “Christina, when you graduate from the Lighthouse, this is the story I want to hear at your graduation.” Her eyes got big. “Really?” Yes, she has a story to tell. The “rescued Cinderella” picture she drew was a self-portrait of a smiling woman with a big smile – a woman able to speak, to tell her story without fear or shame. Because she’s been rescued by the Prince of Peace, through a lot of prayer and personal hard work, she’s looking forward to “living happily ever after.”

If you were to draw your before and after “rescued” Cinderella self-portraits, what would they look like? Is there any aspect of the “bad wolf” you’re still feeding? What aspects of the “good wolf” could use an extra meal? And a good conversation over that time at the table together?

The women at the Lighthouse are always encouraged by your comments. Looking forward to sharing them.

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