Like a Seal: Day 22 of 31 Days
To read Day 1, click on the photo above
True to his word, the prince rode out of the gates of the kingdom early one morning. He was leaving on his father’s business, but that did not make it any easier for Jewel to watch. The cold morning mist wrapped around him like a cloud, and he was gone.
Before he left, he came to her to say good-bye. “Be busy about my work until I return,” he said. “It is not going to be easy, and you must be prepared for the fight. The Enchanter has not stopped pursuing you, even though you have enjoyed some time of peace. But he wants to sift you, Jewel.” The prince’s eyes were fierce with jealousy. “But you are mine. I will not let you fall.”
He embraced her in his arms, and she was overcome with the same sense of safety and security she felt the first time he found her and lifted her onto his horse.
“I am not slow to keep my promises to you, Jewel, even though it may seem like it. I will come back again. But when I am away, you must trust that I have provided for your every need—even the ones you don’t know you have.”
Jewel nodded into his chest, but she could not speak.
“I have surrounded you with every treasure in my kingdom, but remember, this is my greatest gift to you,” the prince continued, beckoning his adviser near. The adviser had been silent the whole time, but Jewel had noticed the joy on his face when the prince spoke words of love over her. “He is your Advocate, Jewel. You will lack nothing if you lean into him.”
Then he was gone.
For days afterward, Jewel felt numb. She wished she knew how long he would be away so she could count down the days, so she would know how long she had to survive without him.
But her Advocate came and sat near, and said to her, “The prince does not want you to settle for survival, Jewel. He wants you to live and thrive in his kingdom while he is away.” Then he opened the crackling scrolls and showed her the prince’s own words where he said that it was so.
Jewel poured over the scrolls. She hadn’t realized how much it sounded like him. She could almost hear his voice when she read it, and she felt his nearness to her, like her husband was standing right there in the room with her. Her Advocate smiled and explained, “To some, these words are like heavy stones. But you are his bride, and you can hear the truth. This is his love letter to you.”
The words were lovely indeed. The more she read, the more she knew and understood the prince of the kingdom, and the more she realized what he had done for her.
She noticed too that she was not completely free from the Enchanter’s grasp. Within her head and heart she found traces of his fingerprints, dirty, grease smudges where his hands used to be.
It crushed her, and she wept over the outworking of the lie she had once believed. Still, it was bearing bitter fruit in her life. But the Advocate drew his sword and with every word she read, he cut a dividing line between the living and the dead. With perfect skill, he sliced away the destroyed and decaying flesh and adorned the living with the riches of the prince’s kingdom so she was more beautiful than ever.
It was agonizing in the moment. Every day, there was work to do. Every day, death was found lurking in bride’s clothing, and every day, the Advocate sharpened his blade.
“Will it ever end?” Jewel cried when one day, she realized that a piece of the old flesh had grown back while she was cutting away something else. “How long will I struggle and fight? Why can’t I just be like him? Why do I fail?”
“Do you know why I am here?” her Advocate asked.
“To help me?” she answered, but she was suddenly unsure.
“I am here as a promise. Just like the ring on your finger is a seal of the prince’s love, I am a seal—a promise—of his perfection. One day, you will be perfect like he is perfect. You can’t see that now, but I can. Jewel, I am the assurance of your freedom from the Enchanter. You will not always struggle. In fact, you have already won.”
“I do not feel like I have won.”
The Advocate’s fiery hair stood on end. “Then you do not understand my power, and you attribute to the Enchanter more power than he deserves. He is evil, that is true, and he has used deception to mark out a small territory where he does not belong. But there is no contest, Jewel. I have overcome.”
She ran to him, weary with the fight, and embraced him. How she longed to be free indeed.