Production of Hand to God at Theatre B. Photo by Kensie Wallner.

“The thing about a savior is you never know where to look. Might just be the place you saw the devil before.~ Hand to God  by Robert Askins

Sometimes the things that save us are the very things that cause us harm.

On Sunday, I had a rare afternoon off from baby-duty (thank you, husband!). To celebrate, I went with a friend to see the play Hand to God by Robert Askins at the wonderful Theatre B in Fargo, North Dakota.

The show rumbled the rocks around in my head.

The playwright described his play as an “irreverent puppet comedy …about a possessed Christian-ministry puppet.” This innocuous description only hints at the show’s range of dark behaviors: statutory rape, sexual kinks, mental illness, child abuse. The show is, by any assessment, disturbing. And the brilliant writing still got the audience laughing!

It’s two days later, and I can’t stop thinking about the last line given by the possessed puppet.

“The thing about a savior is you never know where to look. Might just be the place you saw the devil before.

The story of Hand to God presented the idea that the things that save us can be the very things that cause us harm. The possessed puppet was the source of deep pain for his teenage handler and his mother. But the puppet was also the means they found to connect after the tragic loss of the boy’s father.

In my life, I have also experienced seeming devils that became saviors, most clearly, the rheumatoid arthritis I came down with as a child of seven. I’ve lived with the swollen joints of this chronic disease ever since. I am lucky to have access to medication that limits the crippling physical effects most days, but the disease will always be a part of my life.

That said, despite its devilish symptoms, arthritis was my entrée to some of the most precious parts of my life: yoga and meditation. Those two practices have been invaluable to me in maintaining my emotional health and finding my path to creativity, music, and writing. I may never have found my way to them if arthritis hadn’t limited the kinds of exercise I could do.

So in the end, without my rheumatoid arthritis, I would not be the person I am today. And most days, I even like that person.

Do you have anything in your life that has been both a devil and a savior to you? Let me know in the comments below.

And for those of you in the Upper Midwest, check out Theatre B’s production of Hand to God, and absolutely anything else they do. Learn more at


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