Sunday, September 5, 2010

The Devil's Mirror 1

Thoughts on The Snow Queen, possibly a part 1

September 5, 2010
J. C. Verdin

I'm a big fan of Hans Christian Andersen. My favorite story by him is "The Snow Queen." Which, that's supposed to be the next traditional animation film by Disney (2013). I can't wait if they don't botch it up.

I don't know how Disney will do the first part. In my translation (Translator Erik Christian Haugaard), it goes like this:

"Once upon a time there was a troll, the most evil troll of them all; he was called the devil. One day, he was particularly pleased with himself, for he had invented a mirror which had the strange power of being able to make anything good or beautiful that it reflected appear horrid; and all that was evil and worthless seem attractive and worth while...."

Several paragraphs later, after all the trolls had a chance to poke fun at the world through the mirror's reflection, it reads:

"At last they decided to fly up to heaven to poke fun at the angels and God Himself. All together they carried the mirror, and flew up higher and higher. The nearer they came to heaven, the harder the mirror laughed, so that the trolls could barely hold onto it; still, they flew higher and higher: upward toward God and the angels, then the mirror shook so violently from laughter that they lost their grasp; it fell and broke into hundreds of millions of billions and some odd pieces. It was then that it really caused trouble, much more than it ever had before. Some of the splinters were as tiny as grains of sand and just as light, so that they were spread by the winds all over the world. When a sliver like that entered someone's eye it stayed there; and the person, forever after, would see the world distorted, and only be able to see the faults, and not the virtues, of everyone around him, since even the tiniest fragment contained all the evil qualities of the whole mirror. If a splinter should enter someone's heart--oh, that was the most terrible of all!--that heart would turn to ice."

There's seven parts to this fairy tale, but I'll give you the rest another time. I wanted to talk specifically about that mirror and the first part.

The devil deceives us. Circumstances in life take away our innocence and we view things in a cynical manner. The simple beauty of things don't appear beautiful anymore. We can't see past people's outer exteriors. Our hearts freeze over.

Let me tell you something about ice: it melts. Or, to put the more well-known terminolgy, when hurt people build up walls.

Well, folks, anything human-made can end. When people form those walls around their hearts, even if they don't mean to, they miss spots. And if we find that spot, we leave it, because it's so small, we don't think anything can ever fit through it. Or maybe some of us will want something to try to get through.

Well, love is flexible and unconditional. It will squeeze through that hole. It may not be comfortable, but love will find a way.

Some of you know already that I read Brennan Manning's The Ragamuffin Gospel. It's a powerful book. In one of his songs, Rich Mullins, who was influenced by Brennan Manning, describes, "a reckless, raging fury, that they call the love of God." Reckless and raging, hm? Sounds scarier than any natural storm considering it's God we're talking about.

I live in South Mississippi, not very far from what's considered the Gulf Coast. While my house was barely damaged, I know plenty of people who lost everything for Hurricane Katrina or for Hurricane Rita, which struck what Katrina missed, more or less.

Well, folks, if a physical hurricane can devastate entire regions, how much stronger is that raging fury? Reckless fury? How many more walls can that tear down?

"The Snow Queen", as I said, is my favorite story by Hans Christian Andersen. There's more to this story and people's frozen hearts, and I'll try to get that to you soon.

Goodbye for now and God bless.

*All quotes from "The Snow Queen" are taken from Hans Christian Andersen: The Complete Fairy Tales and Stories, Translated from the Danish by Erik Christian Haugaard, published 1983 by Anchor Books
The last thought: Today makes a year since I started this VP Set 3 with "Pack Rat's Anonymous." In there, I jokingly said, "Next week, we'll talk about procrastination!" That was a year ago, folks. I'll try, but as I've proven to you and to myself, I can procrastinate. Let's see if I ever do anything on the next 7 stories...

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