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God of Caves and Accusers

As I emerge from the cool river, I perceive what sounds like thunder.

But as I listen more closely, I hear it.

A Voice. A Voice I've known all my life.

"I love you. You fill me with pleasure."

I soak in the joy I feel, resting in that I am known and loved. Fully and deeply.

I want to stay here forever.

But I can't. As much as I would like to, I feel compelled in my Spirit to go.

To go where, I'm not completely sure.

But I must go.

Away from all that's familiar.

Away from all that's comforting.

And I must go alone, my only companions being the sacred words of my ancestors and the consistent reminder of the truth that I am loved.

Fully and deeply.

I wander the dry and the dreary by day and rest in the cool and craggy by night, surviving on a small stream in a hidden cave I venture precariously into.

I settle down to rest.

Within a few moments, I hear something other than the sound of the water trickling. I hear voices.

Unkind ones. Accusing ones. Threatening ones.

I am unsure if I am having a nightmare brought on by my lack of sustenance or if the voices are as real as the rock underneath my head.

But this I know for sure.

I am afraid.

Repeating the words of the Voice from the river to myself, I quiet the terrifying voices briefly, but find myself completely exhausted, yet unable to sleep.

I crave that long-ago beautiful day.

As daylight comes, I feel a twinge of relief, but as the dark of night descends, I hear the voices again.

This time, they are louder.

Meaner. Angrier. Scarier.

As I succumb to discouragement and fear, I somehow hear the reassuring whisper of the Voice I have known all my life.

"I will hold you. I will protect you."

I speak these words, this time out loud, again and again until I finally drift back into a fitful sleep.

I awake in the morning, somewhat refreshed, convinced that I have silenced the voices.

And as the day wears on, I trust that it is true.

As the moon rises and my weary body and Spirit seek to rest, sleep comes quickly, but not for long.

In what seems only moments later, I am startled awake, heart racing and palms sweating.

The voices are back. Deafening. Menacing.

I scream.

I can't stay here anymore.

As I emerge from the cave, I perceive what sounds like thunder.

But as I listen more closely, I hear it.

A Voice. A Voice I've known all my life.