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The spot for the good news, the good word, the quick reports of the many, many wonderful news items I hear all the time and want to share with the rest of you. Expect to find the good news when you come to check out "what’s the good word?"

Monday, January 17, 2011

Doors

I recently had opportunity to watch Tim Burton’s 2010 adaptation of the Lewis Carroll classic, Alice in Wonderland. The book and film are absolutely full of wonderful metaphors for life. Watching this version, however, one scene particularly caught my attention. Alice has fallen down the rabbit hole and finds herself trapped in the Hall of Doors. There are doors of varying sizes and shapes, but all of them are locked. Alice can look through a keyhole and see the magical and mysterious world beyond; she just can’t get there. If she could only unlock those doors!

As I watched that scene, I remembered so many conversations with people over the years who felt there had to be a greater life beyond what they were currently experiencing. They knew it was there, they could imagine it and perhaps even see it, but the doors were locked and they just couldn’t reach it. How frustrating!

After working her way around the room and trying each door, Alice finda a key that mysteriously appears on a little table. Alice tries all the doors again, but the key does not unlock any of them. Then she pulls back a curtain and finds a tiny door she had not noticed before. The key does fit in this door and it opens, but now a new problem appears; Alice is too big to go through! This leads to the little bottle of shrinking medicine which makes her smaller, and the little cake which makes her bigger. After a lot of trying, Alice is able to get out through the little door into the world where she longs to be.

What is interesting about that scene is how much work Alice has to do to reach her goal. She tries hard, pulling on all the doors; all locked. She finds the key and tries them all again, still locked! She finds a new door she has not noticed before, and unlocks it, but is too big to fit through. She drinks the magic potion and as she shrinks, her clothes become suddenly too big for her (another metaphor) and she leaves most of them behind. At last, she is able to reach this strange new world where great adventures await.

How clever was Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, the mathematician and Anglican clergyman writing as Lewis Carroll! How like life his fantasy is! When we want to achieve our goals in the midst of unlikely scenarios, It takes hard work to find the right door and open it. We may even have to try new things, shrink egos, grow courage, and shed our fears and cultural limitations.

Alice in Wonderland was originally composed as a story for three young girls that Dodgson knew and loved. At this level, the story works well. Tim Burton re-envisions Alice as a young woman in her late teens with all kinds of pressures, and in this scenario, the story is pure magic. It makes me hope to be able to watch the film with each of my granddaughters when the time is right. Like all great art, however, the story has something to say to each of us. I highly recommend this film, available on DVD and in 3D if you choose. And by the way, for all you diehard fans, Johnny Depp is brilliant as the Hatter.

Posted by Carman

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