Never Go THAT Way

I have to admit, this has been a very tough week. My wife and I have been staying at my mom’s house the past few days due to a broken AC in our home (during the hottest part of the summer, because why not?) We’ve also had other drama happening, the details of which I will spare you, but that cumulatively have resulted in a frustrating and discouraging season for us. Then this morning I opened the closet in my sister’s old room where we’ve been sleeping, and something fell on me.

It was a worm.

File Jul 21, 11 50 06 AM

To those in the know you will recognize this as the worm from Jim Henson’s Labyrinth, one of my all time favorite movies, of which my sisters and I have fond memories. I bought this plush worm for my youngest sister Jamie for her birthday several years ago. As I picked him up from the closet floor, I replayed his scene in in my mind. If you have never seen the film, Sarah (Jennifer Connoly) is trying to rescue her kidnapped baby brother. To recover him, she must reach the castle of Jareth, the Goblin King (David Bowie) at the center of the titular labyrinth. Here is their interaction:

The worm, while trying to help Sarah on her way, unwittingly sent her on a far more arduous path than was necessary. While showing her a way our of his corridor, he failed to show her the easiest way, the way that would have led her “straight to that castle.” Had she realized the fullness of her options, the movie would have been much shorter, but Sarah would not have had the opportunity to grow as a character or to impact others along the way. Allow me to elaborate.

It was while on the more difficult path she rescued Ludo, the beast, who was being tortured by goblins. In her struggle she helped the Quixotic Sir Didymus, a fox-terrier with delusions of knighthood, find his inner hero. Finally it was in peril that she redeemed Hoggle, the dwarfen betrayer who saw in himself nothing of worth beyond a few plastic trinkets. Ultimately, the hard road finds Sarah transformed from self-centered to self-aware. It was the longer, more difficult version of the journey that impressed upon her to stop taking things for granted, not to be so consumed with material possessions, and to see value in others.

As I placed the plush worm back on his shelf, I began to relate this fairy tale to my own story. I was feeling overcome by self-pity due to unfavorable circumstances, and my attitude and actions were beginning to show it. While I wished things were going easier for me this week, that the right answers would be clearer, the resources more abundant, I still made a choice to let the resistance I was experiencing overshadow my hope. In walking by feelings and not by faith I allowed myself to be blinded to the God-given potential in my season of difficulty. The worm reminded me that adventure is never on the road that goes straight to the castle. [Tweet This] Sometimes there is an easy way that is good TO us and there is a difficult way that is good FOR us. If I am on that more trying path, I wonder what God will teach me on the way, who’s life I can impact before reaching the center of this labyrinth.

May we remember every day, especially in our struggle, that the treasure that comes without cost can never truly be more than a trinket. [Tweet This]

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