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Topic: Paths (05/17/04)
TITLE: Hansel and Gretel: A Testimony
By Leticia Caroccio
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Many years have now transpired yet the visions of what we went through still bring me to my knees. Hansel and I were so young and confused during that time in our lives. Losing our mother and then Father marrying another so soon after, we barely had time to think about our circumstances. We were concerned for Father, and frankly, almost immediately, we didnít seem to get a good feeling about our stepmother. We just couldnít put our finger on it.
Hansel and I are both married now and have our own children. We both live in the city, far from the forest and far from the experience that defined our lives for so long. Father still lives in the house, though our stepmother has moved on to bigger things. I do have the opportunity to visit my father and even now, the pain of what happened is still evident in his eyes. As my father allowed my stepmother to lead us down that destructive and painful path in the woods, it also led to the destruction of their marriage and the demise of my family. My father, in the process, lost his faith and lost all hope for his life.
When I think of that fateful day, I close my eyes as it pains me to recall the fear that had quickly set into my heart. The day before our troublesome journey, our stepmother, as I remember, was a bundle of nerves. Something did not seem right. Early the next morning, before the sun had a chance to rise, we were shaken out of our sleep. Our stepmother forced us to dress quickly and before we knew it we were on our way out the door. I can still make out my fatherís figure, faintly, as through a dimly lit cloud, as he stood by and allowed his wife to orchestrate our actions. Father never opened his mouth to offer any objection.
Hansel and I found ourselves being dragged down a dangerous and dark path against our will. We did not know where we were going nor did we know what to do. We only had each other and our two pieces of bread that our stepmother angrily stuffed into our pockets.
By nature, I was always one to be afraid of something. Whenever fear would present itself in my life, it would grip my heart and cause me to lose the ability to react. I would become crippled with fright if I heard the giant sunflowers outside my bedroom window softly brush against the house at night. I would shake uncontrollably until my teeth chattered if I spotted the paws of the big bad wolf in our garden. Fear and I, like a newly married couple, were inseparable. Today was different, though. Fear was compounded and multiplied by a million. Fear had a face and it looked my stepmother.
Hansel, on the other hand, was fearless. He would get this determined look on his face; his eyes would peer as if he could see through solid objects. His fists would ball up as he stood up, unafraid, to whatever fearful challenge was set before him.
As usual, Hansel had a plan. He took both pieces of our bread and decided to crumble them into tiny pieces. He proceeded to drop them one by one on the ground thereby creating a new path. ďWe need to make a new way, a new path so that we could find our way back homeĒ, was what he explained to me. Despite my shaking, I thought it was a good idea. So I willingly gave him my bread.
The world knows our story; at least I thought they did. There are many details about those days that most people donít know.
Our stepmother who dragged us into the woods and put us in harmís will never know the chain reactions she set off only caused to strengthen Hanselís faith in God and helped to shine a light on the little faith that I never knew I had. I saw firsthand the peace in Hanselís heart as the determination to survive drove him to find a way out of the forest. There in the midst of our turmoil a gentle breeze was blowing, bringing with it tranquility and even joy. In retrospect, I realized that I learned many lessons about faith in God and the power He extends to us that help carry us in times of need. The powerful hand of God was on us, even there in the obscurity of that path.
We never asked to be dragged down that unknown path, still, there we were. We quickly learned to trust God as we faced the mysteriousness of that place. We faced the most fearsome people in our lives, our evil stepmother and that old lady in the house in the woods and we endured. We, at the end of that path, overcame hate, loneliness, despair and deception.
Our father, as he released us unto that path, lost much. We, on the other hand, found our faith strengthened beyond compare. We saw through His gifts of nature, hope for our lives. The sun followed us and the birds sang their beautiful songs. I no longer felt lost and alone. The presence of God was there all along.
Hansel and I learned that sometimes the paths we try to make for ourselves may not be the ones God chooses for us. We tried to create a path that would lead us back home, but God in His infinite wisdom showed us a different path that lead us to Him.
Our story is not a fairy tale like most would believe. I donít know how that rumor got started. Our story is one of restoration, forgiveness and of finding our way to God. The path that we were thrown on was not of our choosing, but God in His grace, saw to it that we were not lost. We did not live happily ever after, but we know that one day we certainly will.