An Eating Disorder Parable

That’s right. Not a song title. And the use of a word that harkens back to my über-religious past.

I am SO not Jesus, but here goes.

Something happens. Or a lot of somethings happen. She decides that the only thing that will make her life liveable is walking in the desert, as far as she can go.

The sun beats down, but the blistering of her skin mirrors the pain in her heart, so she embraces it and keeps walking.

There is no water, but the burning in her throat distracts her from the thoughts tumbling through her head.

The sand is difficult to walk on, and she is soon tired, but her only option is to walk on, so on she walks.

One day, she reaches what must be the middle of the desert. Her skin is raw, her throat is parched, and she can’t keep walking: she can’t stand anymore.

She sits and weighs her options. If she keeps walking onward, her circumstances won’t change and she will likely die. She will be tormented by her reasons for walking until the end. If she decides to return to civilization, the pain of the desert will end, but she will have to face everything she’s been walking away from.

She realizes that no matter how far she walks, her problems walk right alongside her. She can’t escape them. She decides that it might be worth it, going back. Maybe if she faces her problems head on, she’ll finally be free. If it’s too much, she can always walk back into the desert.

She’s made the choice. Shouldn’t it be over now?

No. She still has a long journey to make. Her footprints in the sand have blown away, so finding her way back is difficult. Sometimes she stops. Sometimes she has to crawl. Sometimes she walks backwards, but it doesn’t help, so she turns around again. It isn’t easy. Along the way, however, she notices things she didn’t notice before when she was stuck in her head. She finds an oasis that offers shade and water. A fellow traveller offers her a canteen so she can carry water with her. The journey back is difficult, but it is made easier when she recognizes and accepts the help offered her.

She returns to civilization to face her problems. Now, she finds, she is a little stronger for her journey. Her skin is a little thicker. Her problems are still large and daunting, but she is better equipped to deal with them. Sometimes she has to take a walk in the desert to survive, but the sunburn and the thirst and the exhaustion are enough to remind her of why she turned around.

One day, she looks out on the desert and realizes she doesn’t need it anymore. She can live in civilization and deal with things that come her way. She is stronger. She is free.

Maybe not today, but someday.





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Filed under Blatherings, Fighting Fear, Inspiration

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