There is a beast that dwells in my house. It is a foul beast – stench hovers about it, a cloud of rot that coats and clings stubbornly to every surface it touches. It is cruel and humorless – it exacts terrible revenge for each perceived slight and imagined transgression. Its weapons are infinite; an arsenal of destruction with all sights on my home.
The beast has always been in my home, but when I first moved in, I thought it was cute and helpful. It was a friendly sort of creature that comforted me by silencing my fears and courage, my joys and my sorrows. I played with it, cuddled with it and invited it deeper and deeper into my home. I felt the beast was magic – able to solve every problem and free me from the creeping terror that was life. I could pick it up and put it away at whim – it was a toy for me – just another part of my home.
But bit by bit, the beast grew and changed. Talons sprouted which dug into my flesh, cut me as I sought comfort in its arms. Fangs appeared so that each grin became a promise of pain rather than the acceptance of a friend. The soft fur turned coarse and scaly, flaking away to reveal patches of infected skin, red and angry. Its kind eyes became red embers of terrible need, burning to consume me, annihilate any semblance of peace in my life. Its voice, once sweet and melodic, twisted into something harsh and dissonant, a howling roar of horror that quaked inside my heart.
As it grew, so did its power over me. I was a servant to its bidding, crouched low before it, asking only how I could satisfy its unsatisfiable needs. No longer was I in control. It was wild and untamed and it began to obliterate my home room by room. I was captive in my home as the beast ransacked all that was precious to me.
It demolished my home until I was left in the ruins, huddled under broken beams and cracked plaster. It grew still even larger and more powerful. I was chained to it, its toy to crush at whim.
From my broken home, I peered around the neighborhood. Other homes had also been destroyed by similar beasts though none were exactly the same as my terrible beast. Each beast grew as more destruction piled around it – the pain feeding its power.
As my home crumbled more and more, beams now splinters and plaster now dust, I lost all hope of regaining control. Of being able to be with my friend again –for that friend was gone now – replaced by the beast that ruined my life. It coiled itself about me, smothered me in its presence; its weight crushing my very being.
As I was being killed, meekly accepting what I thought was my fate, a neighbor called to me, “You don’t have to die! I can help you get help!” I could not even answer for the beast had taken away my voice. Yet I was able to look up and saw them standing in their own home, waving kindly. It was a majestic looking home, uplifting and airy – full of life and hope. They cupped their hands around their mouth and shouted again, “I have a beast, too. Just as ugly and powerful as yours. It destroyed my home, too. I can help you get help!”
Hope bloomed inside me. From the beast’s grasp, I began to see possibility beyond the ashes. I began to see rebirth and rebuilding. My neighbor showed me how they rebuilt their home – they followed the plans of a powerful Architect who lived in their heart. The Architect spoke quietly, and they would teach me how to listen, so that I too could rebuild and live in peace.
Day by day, I listened to the Architect of my heart, a force that guided me to the highest good in my life. My home began to reform about me, even more beautiful than before the destruction. The beast remained powerful but the Architect had plans for it as well. A dungeon kept me safe and protected from the beast, yet there was a caveat.
Each night, the dungeon unlocks, so each morning, the beast has a chance to escape. I have to find the key again each day, but happily it is a simple task. All I have to do is ask the Architect for the key, and it is gladly given to me. I lock the dungeon, but I must remain vigilant for the beast is cunning and seeks always for its own freedom to once more obliterate my home. Vigilance doesn’t require standing by the door staring at the beast; instead, vigilance means helping others rebuild their own homes and listening always for the plans of the Architect.
No longer am I undefended against the beast. It resides always with me, but I live free from its deadly grip provided that I follow the simple requirement of asking for the key and staying alert through service and trust in the goodness of the Architect. And so one day at a time, I live my own happily ever after.