Too afraid of being taken in to be taken out . . .

Posted on July 6, 2009

I’ve noticed lately a growing trend among Americans to jump blindly aboard whatever bandwagon happens to be passing – as long as it proclaims us ‘right’ or gives us some sense of inclusion. What I find even more alarming is that it seems that there is less and less concern for researching, discussing, debating, whatever you want to call it – it just seems that folks are not as willing to yield even one iota in any compromise. Many times, it doesn’t even seem that folk can say to one another, “Well, you have your opinion, I have mine, my friend, but we shall agree to disagree.” That worries me. The country I grew up in and the Acadiana where I have lived for most of my life never seemed this harsh – this rigid to me before. Is it the times in general? Do you reckon people everywhere are becoming so – well I hate to say it, but embittered, disillusioned, devoid of hope? Is that too strong? I don’t know, but I remember the late Bob Hamn talking about folks from around here being willing to give you the shirt off their back and I was always so proud that I lived here – where people were like that.

We’ve watched the story about the police, Redflex, trash containers, sober homes and most recently – even the death of poor Michael Jackson bring out comments that I cannot believe I am hearing. Today, a national politician even lauched a diatribe against poor dead and gone Michael Jackson. The rancor, the bitterness, the feelings that one has been wronged and therefore cares not a whit if anyone else is wronged…those things worry me because I think they might indicate the direction in which our general dispositions are moving – and this direction doesn’t seem too healthy to me. We also have no tolerance, no waiting to see what the facts of the story are, we are inventing them. In today’s paper, folks are going on about people sitting on their porch who were fired upon with a gun. Yeah, I reckon they could be drug dealers, pimps – lots of bad things. But they also could just be folks – just like you and I who were enjoying the time honored Southern tradition of ‘porch sitting’. I know – because I was raised on that by my grandmother. Evenings were the time to sit there in the cool and rock, and I would hold her hand and we would just ‘be’. How do we know they were doing wrong?

It’s so hard when times get hard. We have to learn to do with less, we get worried and frightened. Sometimes we feel isolated from others or lonely. We allow ourselves to opine that we are the few who are suffering in this manner. We rue that things are not the way they were ‘in the good ‘ole days’. I cannot say I have not had any and all of these feelings. Lots of times, I just want to find the door and open it and go home. . . back to when it seemed things were more simple. But remember what Thomas Wolfe told us, ” You found the earth too great for your one life… But it has been this way with all men… You have faltered, you have missed the way… And now, because you have known madness and despair… We . . . call upon you to take heart, for we can swear to you that these things pass.”

I’m not trying to be Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, riding some psychedelic horse, or singing any protest songs…. I don’t want to point fingers or argue, but I do want us to think about this and perhaps be able to discuss it with one another civilly. At least we should be able to ‘see’ one another and acknowledge that openly, eh? We cannot just sit here in the dark like the dwarves did in Narnia.

Remember C.S. Lewis’ book – “The Last Battle”? I do so love Lewis’ books because even though they are wonderful and adventurous children’s stories, they are truly symbolic. Lewis has used the analogy of dwarves on different occasions, as did his friend Tolkien. I think he used the dwarves (small in stature) to symbolize that they were folk who had ‘shrunk back’ from the light – another prevalent theme in his works.

In The Last Battle, the dwarfs were portrayed as dark folks who distrust everyone and want to attack – before they can attack the dwarves. The have been ‘taken in’ and had their trust betrayed once too often. They sneer at one another, they sit in a tight little circle facing one another, but not seeing themselves nor the Pevensie children, nor Aslan the lion. They are living in misery and squalor of their own choosing.

When the children get near to them, and ask the dwarves where they are, Diggle, one of them, answers in a mocking tone and calls the children bone-heads. He tells them they are in a stinky, foul stable in the dark where ‘no one can see them’. Lucy tries to cheer them with some flowers which she puts under their nose so that they may smell then, but the dwarves, so confident in their own perception and so sure they are ‘right’, claim that she is sticking filthy stable litter in their faces. Aslan approaches and spreads a veritable feast before the dwarfs, at Lucy’s request to try and help them. They pick up the food and smear it on themselves and their faces, eating it all right, but proclaiming how vile it is. Again, they won’t allow themselves to taste or smell or experience any of the sumptuous feast laid before them – because they expect nothing good – only bad. They even begin to fight amongst themselves instead of enjoying what should have been so nice. The children are dismayed and Lucy is just forlorn. They cannot understand why even with all of the wonderful things that Aslan offers to them, the dwarfs cannot experience any of the goodness at all.

Its up to the lion, Aslan to explain to them, ” They will not let us help them. Their prison is in their minds and they are so afraid of being taken in that they cannot be taken out.”

We all live here in what Lewis referred to as the shadowlands. Its not all that we want it to be – its not all that it will be one day, but its not all bad, nor are the people here all out to take us in and deceive or exploit us. Many may try, but not all. Yes, these are tough times, but we are resilient people when we choose to be. We can and we will make it through – I am sure of that. Somehow, we need to look harder for the light. We need to hope against the odds that something good may be happening, for it just might. If we can just try to do that to believe a little longer – then maybe we won’t be condemning ourselves to the fate of the dwarves.

One of my favorite quotes from ‘ole C.S. is about love. Now, I know that subject just upsets and distresses many of you. I can almost hear the “hrmmmphs”. Lewis wasn’t talking about what we refer as love in the romance stories and the soap operas. He was talking about the real thing – love – like we have for one another – for what life has to offer to us, for everything there is that is good in the world. He said,

“Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable. “

Maybe, like the old song says, we should give love a chance, folks. Before we suffer the fate of the dwarves and put ourselves in a place from where there will be no moving on and no one will be able to ‘take us out’. Just something to think about while it rains this evening…

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4 responses to “Too afraid of being taken in to be taken out . . .”

  1. Sometimes one just has to reach out, eh?

    I’m tempted to think you are right in a lot of what you say here.

    Love is a state in which you can be hurt. But creativity, sensitivity, understanding… these are not goals we can achieve in any other way than by living.

    To live = to take risks.

    Life is very uncertain at the moment. But – as always- very, very interesting.

  2. Here is a thought to ponder … every moment in life is uncertain. We control so very little. You should be able to relate to this thought with your jumping from those airplanes…

    If you want to walk on water, you have to get out of the boat. I want to walk on water, Moggy. I want to leave this life knowing I did one thing well and that was to keep loving and believing in love forever. So no matter what life brings me, no matter how many times I fail and have to try again..that’s where you’ll find me..out there on the waves.

  3.       Brovo! I love your assement of fear. Me, I would sink cause my emotional lifejacket is like an armor plating. I agree that there should be more Love in the world. There is a wonderful book by Jerry Jampolauski called "Love is letting go of fear". John Denver wrote a song about it: Did I post this already? I don’t know. Its good to be back.

    Kudos Katie

    A John Denver Song

    In this magic hour of softening light, the moments in-between the day and the night
    The instant when all shadows disappear, the distance in-between the love and the fear
    There’s a longing deep within the wandering soul, it’s like the half that understands it once was whole
    Like the fool that only dreams of being one, like the moon that’s only light is in the sun
    There’s a danger in forever looking outside, you start to believe that all your prayers have been denied
    And you forget the sound of your own name, thus begins the suffering and the pain

    If love is the answer, I want to know why
    I want to know another day on earth with peace inside
    I want a reason, I want to know why
    Can there never be heaven right here on earth and peace inside
    Inside my heart, deep in my soul, within each part and in the whole

    There’s a promise in the journey of the mind, you begin to believe that there are miracles that you will find
    And that someday you will remember who you are, the seed within a bright and shining star
    It’s like the flame that lives within a hungering heart that only awaits the gift of love for it to spark
    Into a fire that burns forever in the sleeve, like a river that can’t help but meet the sea
    In this magic hour between the night and dawn, in the space between the silence and the song
    Suddenly the mystery is clear, that love is only letting go of fear..

    Love is the answer, and love is the way, Love is knowing just what to do and what to say
    Love is the reason and love is the why, Love is Heaven right here on earth and peace inside
    Inside your heart and deep in your soul, within each part, and in the whole
    Love is the answer, and love is the way
    Love is knowing just what to do and what to say
    Love is the reason and love is the why
    And love is heaven right here on earth and peace inside

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