“I have many names,” he said, “I will give you one of mine.”
“What…” she paused as if unsure, then collected her courage and continued, “What are your names?”
“You already know them,” the Deliverer answered, “I wrote them upon your heart long ago, before you chose to come to the Shadow House.”
“I don’t remember any names,” she whispered, sadness filling her. How could she have forgotten all of his names?
“I will tell you one. The one I am giving to you.” He held the girl-woman’s face in his hands and smiling into her eyes said, “My name is Beautiful One and your name shall be Beautiful One.”
The girl-woman’s gaze fell to the ground and great shaking sobs rose within her. “I…” her shoulders heaved, “I cannot accept that name,” she finished. The tears ran in torrents down her scarred cheeks, every one caught in the light-man’s hand.
“Why not?” the Deliverer questioned.
“Because I am not beautiful,” she told him, trying to look anywhere but at the wonderful man before her. “Can’t you see the scars?”
The light-man smiled. A bright blinding smile. “Yes, I see the scars,” he answered her. “You are not beautiful now, but you will be. Just as Outcast will truly become Chosen and Angry will become Joyfulness and each one of the other children will become what I am making them as well.”
“How is this possible?” No-Name questioned, the tears slowing as her hope began to grow.
“I made you,” the light-man explained, “I can change you into what you long to be,” he paused to make sure her eyes met his, “if you let me.”
The girl-woman bit her lip for a moment then said slowly, as if explaining a great hidden secret that she barely dared to speak out loud, “I do so wish to be beautiful.”
“Then I will take your scars upon myself,” he told her.
“No!” No-Name cried out. “You cannot take the scars! You are too perfect.”
“It is because I am perfect that I can take them,” the Deliverer explained to her. “Trust me.” He gripped both of her hands in his. “Will you take my name?”
She looked beyond him for a moment, at the group of children who were watching them, their eyes bright and their bodies washed clean. “I will,” she whispered.
As she spoke a scar appeared on his cheek. She watched in wonder as it marred his perfect skin. She grimaced as he winced from the pain. A name rose within her heart. She didn’t know where it had come from but it found it’s way to her lips and in a quiet steady voice she proclaimed, “Redeemer.” The scar suddenly vanished.
Another scar came. “Mighty God.” she said, her voice growing stronger. That scar also disappeared.
Another came. “Wonderful Counselor.” It vanished.
One scar after another came and vanished as No-Name spoke the names, her voice growing louder and more lovely with each passing moment.
“Prince of Peace.”
“Author of Life.”
Name after name, scar after scar.
When the scars finally stopped, No-Name stood trembling before the Deliverer and he spoke, “You shall no longer live without a name for I have claimed you. I have taken your scars and now I give you my name,” he paused and smiled as the girl-woman’s eyes began to shimmer and sparkle, the murky gray fading into a brilliant blue, “Beautiful One.”
The children stepped back as a bright light burst from the gray skies and surrounded the two. A melody began and drifted out from within the swirling light. The golden laughter came again, only this time it was more brilliant, more lovely than it had ever been before. The light seemed to continue forever and soon the laughter faded as a whispered conversation took its place. Time stood still as they danced within the light cloud, oblivious of anything but each other.
After some time the light cloud began to fade and the heavens closed. The children gasped when Beautiful One came into view. Her worn tattered dress had been replaced by a gown of pure white. Her hair was washed clean and her blue eyes sparkled, sending rays of light onto every place her gaze landed. Her perfect skin was accented by the glow of warmth that swam around her.
Now there was no doubt in anyone’s mind that she was no longer a child. She was a woman. A beautiful, light-filled woman who was gazing at the man she loved. The man whose name she had taken.
The light-man stepped back from her, smiling. “I have changed you,” he explained, “but it is your choice to stay this way.” He looked at the children who were gathering around Beautiful One, “The children will forget that they have been transformed. You must remind them.”
“Why me?” Beautiful One questioned.
“Because, my Beautiful One, they are a part of you,” the Deliverer explained.
Beautiful One looked around at the children who were gathered close to her, smiling and laughing. Her eyes widened as she realized that they each had brown curls and dancing blue eyes, exact replica’s of her own.
“And you are now a part of me,” the light-man told her. His hand lifted to brush her smooth cheek. “I am going away for a time. I am preparing a new house. A light house. Then I will return for you.”
“Don’t leave me,” Beautiful One whispered, her voice barely audible above the sound of the children who were now racing around the yard, laughing and shouting to each other.
“I will always be close to you. I am your light,” the Deliverer smiled then stepped back.
Beautiful One watched as the light-man disappeared back into the Shadow Woods, but the shadows didn’t close in behind him. In fact, everywhere she looked, the shadows ran away.
The children suddenly realized that he had gone away and ran to Beautiful One, reaching for her and asking where the light-man had gone. Beautiful One smiled as she gathered her girls close to her. “He’ll be back,” she told them, her voice ringing with confidence. He would be back.
That night, when the darkness came there was no whimpering or crying. Instead, a soft glowing light surrounded the children within the house and as they gathered together Beautiful One began to sing the promise that had been sung into her before the beginning of time,
I wish that I could tell you that never again did the children fear, never again was Beautiful One scarred; but I can’t. I can tell you, however, that despite the scars, the days when Angry, Spiteful, Prideful and the others found their way back in, the light never dimmed.
And although it felt like a very long time, the Deliverer did return for his bride. Once again he caught her tears and once again he took her scars and this time… this time he promised that never again would a tear fall and never again would a scar touch her beautiful face. This time, he took her and the children with him and they traveled over time and space to the light house that he had faithful built, just as he promised.