Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Elephants In the Room...

Why is it that we think that if we ignore the elephant in the room, it will go away?

In Charles Dickens story, The Christmas Carol, Ebenezer Scrooge grows up full of faith and hope for his life, love, the present, and the future. Poor but happy, he meets the girl of his dreams, with which he wishes to climb into love. But as he gains success monetarily, he begins to believe that his worth is based on his earnings and worldly gain. Consequently, he allows his pride to keep him from the person he wishes to be with the most. So he watches his true love walk out the door. Not willing to humble himself and make changes in his life so lasting happiness can thrive, he chooses instead to build walls around his heart. He fools himself into thinking that these are walls of defense and protection. But in reality, they are walls of selfishness, fear, pride, and pain of his past.

He spends the rest of his life becoming absolutely wealthy, and absolutely miserable. Closing off his heart to any and all who would bring him lasting joy, he chooses instead to invest his time in gaining more worldly possessions. Money becomes his love. But, alas, money has no love to return. It is cold, inanimate, and at times ruthless. But that is just what he has become! It isn’t until life-threatening experiences in his old age that he is compelled to humility, and is finally broken enough to change.

When I watched the movie version of this tale, I was struck by the subtlety of change found in the character of Scrooge. It went straight to my heart and mind. I thought to myself, how many times have I had a scrooge attitude? When have I thought things such as the following?

- Poor me.

- Why can’t he/she be smarter?

- I am the only one in the world who has felt pain, sorrow, and heartache.

- I am the victim here!

- My world has fallen apart. No one understands the pain I am going through.

When we are not where we want to be, do we criticize those who are? Or do we create a false world where we look completely put together, polished in all we do, say, and even dress, thus hiding from what the core issues really are? Covering the elephant up with pretty jewels and expensive materials does not make it disappear. It is merely disguised as something else…a fa├žade that does not portray the heart beneath it all.

Scrooge wasn’t a bad person. In fact, he was a really good person. He had so much love to give, and he was really kind and gentle. But he had allowed life’s experiences (his past) to dictate his future.

I once read a quote that said that if you change your thoughts, you change your world. I believe this is a true principle. The beautiful part of the Christmas Carol story is when Ebenezer chooses to step into the light, and live.

Dear Life, I think it is time for a remodel. It is time to break down those walls and build bridges instead.

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