When I was a little girl, I secretly hoped that Santa Claus and Rudolph, the red-nosed reindeer would go to Russia en route to our home and leave a beautiful Babuschka doll under our Christmas tree, just for me. Each year I left him a mince pie and a chilled beer and although he left me wonderful gifts he still didn’t remember my Babuschka doll! I am still waiting, Santa – are you out there? I know I am all grown up now but I still fancy a Babuschka doll. I will leave you a mince pie and a good cappachino doppio, and that’s a pinkie promise!
For those of you who do not know what on earth I am talking about (or maybe wanting to buy me one, hint- hint, wink –wink) a Babuschka or Matroyoshka doll is also known as a Russian nesting doll. It is a set of wooden dolls of decreasing size placed one inside the other. The sheer wonder of opening up a beautifully decorated doll and finding another one just like it on the inside and another and another and another… on average between five to twelve dolls each nestle perfectly within the other.
Traditional Matroyoshka (or Babuschka) dolls are handcrafted with skill, instinct and expertise rather than using actual measurements. The time, craftsmanship and detail that goes into each Babuschka doll is incredible. And this got me thinking about how uniquely and wonderfully God has created and crafted each one of us. The love and thought that the Creator put into creating each one of uniquely, still leaves me dumbfounded! Although we don’t have mini clones of ourselves within ourselves, we do have qualities and characteristics within us that aren’t necessarily all evident nor revealed at first meeting. One needs to be seen in different situations, contexts and environments before the other aspects of our character,whether positive or negative, are revealead. A bit like an unveiling! Just like Shrek says in the movie, ‘Ogres are like onions, they have layers!’
It is often in the trying times that one gets to see what is inside the heart of people. It’s in those times of greatest difficulty or trial that one gets a peek at what is going on below the ‘surface level’. We sometimes see a previously hidden inner strength and beauty emerge that we never knew existed, but sadly we also sometimes get to see some not so pleasant negative qualities too! Yes, no one is perfect and we are all a work in progress. We all have some uhmm….‘quirks’ that need to be worked on.
We each have a different capacity for handling things. We all deal with things differently, thank goodness! If everyone dealt with things in the same way this world would be a veeeery ‘interesting’ place. Imagine only having sulky and selfish Sallys, rude and rejecting Richards, overbearing and obnoxious Ollys and petty and personalising Pams! Imagine? I’d rather not! And then we all know that someone who is NEVER at fault. Somehow somebody ELSE is ALWAYS the problem. The person who disagrees and finds fault with everybody else but somehow never stops for a moment to consider that maybe, just maybe, they are actually the common denominator!!! Mmmmkay, enough said! And then lets get brutally honest here…sometimes that somebody can sometimes actually be yourself!!!
So when trying circumstances come (and come they will) are we going to be like a dried up clogged well, that when you lower your bucket to fetch water, there is nothing there, just a dry pit….or are we going to be like a Babuschka doll? When you remove the first layer, there is another layer, and another and another and another (we are talking depth and resilience here – you get the point.) The Babuschkas are the people who have a depth to them, who when the going gets tough,dig deeper and deeper and deeper and are the overcomers who stay the course!
How does one develop these layers you may ask? No, you unfortunately can’t buy them anywhere as they are gained…through experience. What experience you might ask? Staying the course when nothing is working according to plan, when it feels like the whole world is against you and God has forgotten you (not true, of course). These are the times when God is developing your character, teaching you a deeper level of wisdom, selflessness, understanding, committment and knowledge. These are the times that one needs to surrender and trust God for the final outcome knowing that He is a good and gracious Abba who is faithful and loving. Some of these layers are quickly learned, but those deeper layers are not an instant thing, some can take years, some even a lifetime.
I have invited God to come and heal the deepest most inner parts of my Babuschka. I am delighted to report that so many things that hurt so badly for so long are just not hurting as much any more. Some things that hurt as recently as a week or a day ago have somehow faded into nothing more than a memory with no hold over me.
Allow God to help you to become more multi-faceted in how you see things and handle things. Dont despise the difficult times. Those times of battle, they are the character building, life changing, layer bringing, God strengthening times….if you let them be! (and no, you don’t need to wear those ridiculous russian dresses people!:)