Remembering Our Dragon Skin
Author: Geneva Wright
March 12, 2021
It was around mid-January of 2020, back before my kitchen table
became my full-time workspace. I was working at a real desk in my
office, where the nonprofit organization that I work for coordinates a
big annual conference in Poland. My co-worker stopped by to chat and
mentioned that one of our regular volunteers, an elderly man from
Arizona, was on the fence about volunteering again.
“He’s worried about that virus people are talking about,” she said.
“He wants to know what the likelihood is that the conference will be
canceled because of it.”
I burst out laughing.
“He’s just being paranoid!” I scoffed. “There are barely even any
cases in Europe. Does he think our whole conference is going to get
canceled just for that?”
Although the conference ultimately wasn’t canceled, barely two months
later it would be re-formed as a virtual event in the midst of global
upheaval. My co-workers and I brought our computers home, thinking we
would need to work remotely for a few weeks. Twelve months later, we
still haven’t returned.
As we remember the good things about the world that existed
pre-pandemic—the world that all of us hope soon to return to—I have been
finding it helpful to also look back on some of the sinful assumptions
and areas of ignorance that this year has forced me to confront.
Come now, you who
say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a
year there and trade and make a profit”—yet you do not know what
tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears
for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the
Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in
your arrogance. All such boasting is evil.
Pre-pandemic Geneva believed there was no way a global pandemic could
shut down most of the world for the better part of a year. But more
broadly, she thought she knew something about what was or wasn’t
possible. She arrogantly—albeit unconsciously—assumed that control lay
in the hands of someone other than God. Now, she thinks of the future
with a little more humility.
The Lord works in surprising ways, and as He sanctifies us, He
sometimes uses extraordinary circumstances to purge us of sins we didn’t
know were there, tearing them off of us like Aslan tearing off Eustace
Scrubb’s dragon skin in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. This is
grace: in the midst of suffering and trauma, He is still working to
reconcile us to Him. He opens our eyes when they might otherwise have
As I look back to the beginning of March 2020, I remember a world
that was largely sunnier, blissfully unaware of the pain and grief and
conflict that lay ahead. But I also remember the sins, arrogance, and
ignorance that the Lord would soon tear away from me—layers of my own
dragon skin. I remember the ways in which, by God’s intervention, who I
was differs from who I am today. And I thank Him for those changes.