A couple of months ago I recently re-watched my favourite films from childhood: The Secret Garden. What wasn’t to love: children who are wiser than their parents; secret cousins hidden away; and, of course, the Yorkshire accents!
But deeper than that, the story of orphan Mary, sent to live with an unaffectionate uncle, is one that we can all relate to. Her longing to belong, and have a place to call her own resonates, no matter what your age.
There are so many things that I could take out of this story, but it’s her invalid cousin, Colin, that have chosen to focus on. (Forgetting the slightly creepy scene where he tells Mary he wants to marry her!)
Colin had always been told that he was an invalid. He spent his whole life believing that he was unwell. Unable to leave his room or have contact with other people for fear of spores. His legs have become so weak that the can barely walk, and looks pale and sickly. As if he were really unwell. Until Mary comes along, and sees through the lies that he has been told, literally pushing him out of his comfort zone and into the daylight.
Before she came along he was barely living. He had believed the lies he had been told all his life, living in the dark, barely seeing the sunlight. But when she come into his life, she broke the power of those lies, by telling him the truth.
Maybe there’s some lie you believe about yourself. Maybe you believe that you can’t achieve anything, or that you are useless. The only thing that can break through those lies is the truth.
When you shine the light on those lies, you begin to realise that they had no power in the first place.
This might be hard at first. In a sick kind of way, you, like Colin, may have become used to this half-life. Maybe these lies have been attached to you for so long that flesh has grown around them, and they have to be ripped out.
Facing up to the lies, and accepting the truth can be a painful process. And, like Colin learning to walk, it may take time. But when you have been set free you will experience more life than you could have ever imagined possible.
1To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8: 31-32)