The Dance With Death.

“Keep your vision all-inclusive, never allowing it to lock on any one thing…look everywhere at once, see nothing to the exclusion of all else—don’t allow the enemy to direct your vision, or you will see what he wishes you to see. He will then come at you as you become bewildered, looking for his attack, and you will lose.
Instead, your vision must open to all there is, never settling, even when cutting. Know your enemy’s moves by instinct, not waiting to see them. To dance with death meant to know the enemy’s sword and its speed without waiting to see it. Dancing with death meant being one with the enemy, without looking fixedly, so that you could kill him. Dancing with death meant being committed to killing, committed with your heart and soul.”

– Terry Goodkind, Temple of the Winds

This passage comes in the context of a warrior in battle. A warrior whose only objective is to eliminate the threat. To obliterate the enemy at all costs.

As my life unfolds, I find that I possess the power to read into things way too much. This is sometimes detrimental, but other times is useful for seeing symbolism and metaphor where there is only normality. To find minute distinction in the hopelessly ordinary. Revealing the nuance in the prose if you will. 😉

Once again, I find myself sucked into another one of Terry Goodkind’s genius stories involving Richard Cypher and the Sword of Truth. And, once again, I recognize the spiritual undertones of it all.

[WARNING: The following text contains extreme nerdiness.]

In order to understand it fully, you must understand the way the sword works in the story. The Sword of Truth is a sword of magic. It’s used in it’s ideal purpose only by the noble and true of heart, warriors who are not corrupt, not selfish. It possesses the knowledge, feelings, and abilities the previous owners sustained. When the sword is used, the person gripping the hilt at once becomes one with the ancestors of the sword, using the same power those before him used. That power is his for the taking.
Richard calls this summoning of power, this art of war, ‘The dance with death’ … as it mimics dancing in footwork, and results in the impending reaping of life.

So it is in the spiritual realm.

As disciples of Christ, we already own this ‘sword’. In a previous blog, “I Just Want to be a Woods Guide.”, I explained that the sword is a symbol of the word of God, the bible (Hebrews 4:12). I also mentioned how accepting the title of ‘disciple’ opened the gateway into the power that the sword gives. Richard gains power through the sword itself, as we do with the words of God to guide us through life. He also gains power through the ancestors before him, who wielded this very sword. Those ancestors to us are not only the prophets and disciples accounted in the bible, but also those generations before us, who blazed a trail into the world we know today. We are given power by their heritage, by their strength. (Acts 1:8)

By this we know that we are fully equipped to fight the enemy. We have the power necessary to obliterate any obstacle and overcome any trial.
With power comes skill. Skills that we learn on the battle field, skills we learn through heritage.

That’s what the quote is all about. It’s advice for the warrior on how to kill.
I’ll break it down for ya.

“Keep your vision all-inclusive, never allowing it to lock on any one thing…look everywhere at once, see nothing to the exclusion of all else.”
When fighting the enemy, our first instinct is to focus on them. But when we focus too hard on the enemy we get tunnel vision, and can miss more foes on either side or even solutions to the problem. One of Richard’s favorite quotes is: “Don’t focus on the problem, focus on the solution.”

“Don’t allow the enemy to direct your vision, or you will see what he wishes you to see. He will then come at you as you become bewildered, looking for his attack, and you will lose.”
When we are focused so much on the enemy and the problem at hand, we are focusing on the exact thing Satan wants us to focus on: Him. And when we’re focused on him, we aren’t focused on God. We lose sight and direction from who we’re fighting for. Before we know it, we’re so lost in Satan’s will that we become confused and disoriented, primed and ready for yet another attack.

“Instead, your vision must open to all there is, never settling, even when cutting.”
Even when we gain ground against the enemy, it’s easy to have ourselves a little victory march and forget what’s going on. This line means to never stop anticipating the next move. If you allow yourself to freeze on even the smallest gain, it could be detrimental to yourself and those around you (Nehemiah 4). To never settle is to never become desensitized.

“Know your enemy’s moves by instinct, not waiting to see them. To dance with death meant to know the enemy’s sword and its speed without waiting to see it. Dancing with death meant being one with the enemy, without looking fixedly, so that you could kill him.”
To fight the adversary is to know the adversary. In battle we are to move by instinct, and that instinct is based in knowledge received from past experiences and by what the word of God tells us. Because we are equipped with the knowledge of the enemy, we shouldn’t have to wait for his attack in order to fight back. We know which route sin could take to get to us, and what level of attack it will be. It is up to us to be ready for the attack we know will undoubtedly come. The quote calls it ‘being one with the enemy, without looking fixedly’ … This reiterates the previous advice to not put your focus where the enemy wants it, but to keep enough focus about the enemy in order to predict his next move.

“Dancing with death meant being committed to killing, committed with your heart and soul.”
Bottom line: If you aren’t fully committed to fighting against, and ultimately destroying, the sin in your life, you will succumb to the the wiles of fleshly desire and find yourself defeated. You must be committed to the fight with your heart and soul. (Mark 12:30)

— — —

Are you ready for the dance with death?

Today, I Missed You.

Today, I missed you when I blurted out an inside joke,
I had forgotten I shared it with only you.
Blank stares and nervous laughs answered me,
It brought me back to reality, left me feeling blue.

Today, I missed your teasing smile,
And the way your eyes would sparkle with delight.
Or when you found out corny jokes were my weakness,
And how we would laugh until we cried.

Today, I missed your reassuring hugs,
Like nothing would ever harm me.
So strong and gentle at the same time,
And how you were always beside me.

Today, I missed your familiar smell,
When a man walked past me in the grocery store.
He left in his wake a scent so much like yours,
I contemplated following him some more.

Today, I missed your free spirit,
When I ran past a pile of leaves on my afternoon jog.
I remembered the time we raked for hours,
Only to take a trip to the emergency room after you tripped over a log.

Today, I missed your chivalry,
Seeing an old man with a cane hold open a door.
His wife, as old as he, smiled wistfully in return,
In that moment I felt the exact way my heart tore.

Today, I missed you when I felt terribly sick.
I remembered how you would sit on the side of the tub,
How you held my hair back gently as I puked.
I recalled an odd sensation of true love.

Today, I missed you when I was doing laundry,
I checked some pockets and found a note.
It was in your hand, wrinkled and faded,
I smiled as I read another corny joke.

Today, I missed your golden-flecked eyes,
I found them staring back from a photograph.
Then I looked up and found them on our son’s face,
He grinned a toothless grin, I heard your laugh.

Today, I missed your hoarding tendencies,
I sold what clothes I couldn’t give to family in a yard sale.
I finally threw away those ugly, moth-bitten sweatpants,
Later I retrieved them, soaked from a half empty can of ginger ale.

Today, I missed your ring on my finger,
I took it off the left and put it on the right.
I met a nice man at the coffee shop,
It may not go anywhere, but then again, it might.

Today, I missed your voice,
Our son whispered, “I love you” to me at the reception.
Remember that guy at the coffee shop?
We tied the knot and now we’re talking about contraception.

Today, I missed you when I brought the baby home,
I guess you knew those contraceptives wouldn’t last.
I didn’t have the heart to paint over the color we picked out for the nursery,
My husband said he liked that his daughter could grow up in the past.

Today, I missed you when our son got his college degree.
He smiled your smile, a smile of pride.
I hugged him tight and I felt you hugging back,
I told him how proud you’d have been and we both cried.

Today, I missed you as I knelt by a hospital bed,
I quoted to my mother a poem you wrote.
She found out she was dying just a year ago,
At her funeral our son wore your coat.

Today, I missed you more than once,
I missed you all day long.
I wasn’t sad or lonely, but joyful and excited,
To our first grandchild I sang your silly song.

Today, I missed you as I recited vows to my husband of forty years,
“Til death do us part.” he recited back.
He said he loved me and to say ‘hello’ to you for him,
I smiled as my vision slowly faded to black.

Today, I didn’t miss you as I entered through pearly gates,
I stood in awe of the colors, of the view.
I took the hand of my Savior and asked why I didn’t miss you anymore,
He smiled and motioned to a figure standing a ways off…
It was you.