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Tuesday, August 24 2010
I have been thinking a lot about fear lately. A few years ago I was graciously given a few days on Bald Head Island. I knew it only as the quaint island off the North Carolina coast, the one you had to take a ferry to, and drive golf carts on. I didn't realize it was at the very tip of Cape Fear.

My daughter and I were cruising around in our golf cart the first day and we came to a small boat that had the words Cape Fear written on it. It was just parked by the side of a road. We started to turn down the road but another sign caught my eye, Shoals Alley golf carts only. My mind interpreted this as only the golf carts that belong on Shoals Alley can enter! Crazy I know, but that is the point, fear of doing the wrong thing or being in the wrong place made me interpret it that way. So we turned and headed off in another direction.

The next day I was walking and once again came to this spot. Well I am not in a golf cart I reasoned so I can walk down Shoals Alley and I did. I came out on the most magnificent sight for the small "alley" led straight to the Atlantic Ocean. It was a glorious morning and the sun was brilliant over the water, I literally ran down to play in the surf. I found myself on the eastern side of the island and after awhile I decided to walk down and around the corner to the southern beach and explore my way back to our house.

My final morning I was up and out before anybody was out of bed. I was so anxious to get to the beach as the sun came up I skipped my morning cup of tea. Down the road to Shoals Alley and there I paused because this time I read the sign correctly....only golf carts Leslie...no cars, no trucks, no buses, only golf carts! Funny I thought, how could I have read it any other way?

I came out at the same point and once more danced my way down the beach and then I got very bold. I decided I would go out to the very tip of land where the eastern edge met the southern edge and this would truly be Cape Fear. There was a small sand peninsula that jutted out into the ocean at the corner of the island and this is where I was headed.

As I walked out on to the tiny finger of sand I was stopped in my tracks by utter beauty and a sight I will never forget. The sun was rising over the ocean and there at the point where land and water merged sat a row of pelicans. They were facing the east and basking in the warmth of the sun and all that was before them was the vast Atlantic Ocean. One slowly turned his head around and gazed at me, as if to see who it was that was daring to intrude on their worship. Worship you say???? Yes Worship. I felt as if I was standing on holy ground, there was a presence of the Lord that I cannot describe.

I could not go any further, to disrupt them was unthinkable. So I stopped and prayed and yes worshipped God. Slowly I made my way back to the house, then back to the mainland, and back to my life, but for weeks the pelicans haunted my mind. Why was I so fixated on them? What was the Lord telling me through them? Finally I got out a symbol dictionary and there I found my answer. Pelicans are a symbol for Christ shedding His blood on the cross*. The moment I read this the Lord spoke to my heart. "I will be with you in the deepest place of your fear."

I have been thinking a lot about fear lately. My friend Stephanie lies unconscious in a hospital with a broken body from a severe car accident. She is expected to make a recovery  but she will awaken to the news that her 39 year old daughter was killed leaving behind a husband and two young daughters. This will break her heart.

"I will be with you in the deepest place of your fear". So be it Lord.....for Stephanie.


*Hall's Illustrated Dictionary of Symbols.
Posted by: AT 03:25 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Saturday, August 14 2010
My dentist thanked me for recommending the movie Mama Mia to his wife. He was checking my teeth the other day and told me how much she loved it. His opinion of the film was simply Pierce Brosnan cannot sing. I said "I know but women don't care". The entire conversation took me back to some thoughts I've had on midlife and Mama Mia.

The movie's main character Donna lives with her daughter on a small Greek island. She has spent the last fifteen years running a small resort hotel that she built. Now her daughter Sophie is getting married and Donna is facing the empty nest alone.

The Villa is named quite appropriately Villa Donna, it is a metaphor for her life. It has been all work and no play, an isolated life on an isolated island and now the Villa is beginning to deteriorate, a sure sign of middle age. This sad condition makes Donna sing a song of lament about men and money.

In my dreams I have a plan, If I got me a wealthy man, I wouldn't have to work at all.............

How many lonely women are singing this tune?

The movie comes to a climax at Sophie's wedding. There is a beautiful scene where Donna sings to her first love of her absolute brokenness..The winner takes it all. She has lost, its over. She has come out of the villa/house that she built and is stripped. There is nothing left for her and now she is losing the one thing she has lived for, her daughter. Empty, broken she stands on the rocks; a picture of a life broken on the rocky terrain of midlife.

What happens next is wonderful if you understand the language of symbols. Donna finishes her song and flees to a path that is beautifully lit with small lights. She climbs the steep trail following the lights to the top of a high hill attached to the main island only by the rocky isthmus. There she finds another house....the House of the Lord.

Inside before all the assembled wedding guests she is compelled to make a confession of her long held secret and to ask Sophie's forgiveness. The moment she does this something beautiful happens. She finds the love of her life and Donna the brokenhearted becomes Donna the bride. The marriage supper she has prepared for Sophie turns out to be hers.

How many people crash on the rocks of midlife when the house they were building begins to crumble and fall ( as surely it must)? Many never recover nor do they see the small lighted path that leads to another house, where love Himself patiently waits.
Posted by: AT 08:18 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Tuesday, August 10 2010
I liked it. Not that I understand all of it, but I did like it. The movie gave me a way of "seeing". So here are some random, and I do mean random thoughts on what I was seeing.

Reality
The movie has two realities or two dimensions, the dream world and the real world. Seeing that whole concept was powerful. We live in a world of two dimensions or realities; there is what we consider the "real" world and there is the Kingdom of God. I liked seeing the dream world of Inception as it reminded me of our "real" world.....the world we create, the world that is decaying and falling all the time. The Kingdom of God is so much more than we could ever imagine; it is the reality of which our world is a mere shadow of.
Perhaps planting the thought that there is a world apart from God that we can rule and create was and is the first and greatest "inception".

The Kick and the Totem
In the movie there is a "kick" to get back into the real world and there is a "totem" that everyone has to have so they can identify whether they are in the dream world or the real world. They made me think of the two sacraments the church has been given; baptism and communion. We are baptized into Christ; it is our "kick" into the real world of God's Kingdom. We also need something to remind us, to orient us as to what world we are really in. For two thousand years the Lord's Supper, or Communion, or the Eucharist...whatever you want to call it has been our reminder. It awakens us to the reality of what the cross did to bring us back into the Father's world.

Guilt
I liked seeing the truth of what guilt does to the human mind. It torments it. Dom suffers guilt over Mal's death. This unresolved guilt torments him by Mal showing up in his mind. When he makes the confession in front of Ariadne he is released.

Strongholds
In the film the 'dream team" is trying to get into fortified areas of another persons mind; either to steal an idea or in this case to plant one. I likes seeing these fortified areas and how powerfully defended they were. It gave me a way of seeing what the Bible refers to as fortresses.

For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:4,5.

If the enemy has established a stronghold in our mind he knows how to defend it. There will be a battle to blow it up!

Garden Imagery
The movie ends with Dom getting "home" and seeing his children in the garden. The imagery suggests that Dom and Mal were once the children of the father figure Miles and they left the garden to live in a world of their dreams. Only one returned. Oh by the way Dom means "Lord" and Mal means "evil".
Posted by: AT 11:00 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
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