Monday, March 8, 2010
The Majesty of the Monarch
When I was a kid I specifically remember my Mama tying scarves to each of my pointer fingers for my one and only dance recital at Judy’s School of Dance. When the music played, ten little girls began to flit around on the stage like blue butterflies in flight. It wasn’t long before I abandoned the dance for the basketball court, only to watch my little sister Ava flourish under the teaching of Judy Descant.
Each spring at Ava’s dance recital I took account of winter’s work, realizing the extent of my sister’s growing grace, beauty, and skill. I counted myself as lucky that she never became a diva unless absolutely necessary, usually prompted by some injustice. I have not a single doubt in my mind that as my mother shares her daily coffee break with Judy to this day, the two empty nesters reminisce from time to time about all the debutantes who have grown up studying tap, ballet, and jazz in her care.
It’s funny how springtime remains as the season of beginnings for most everything from the making of college basketball stars to the awakening of God’s secret flowers, solemnly breaking through the snowy sod for their annual peek at the sun. Yet, humankind has chosen springtime as an “ending” of an era to honor people for the work of their imaginations and dreams. Little blue butterflies will soon dance beneath Daddy’s loving gaze, firstborn sons—now men—will shake the hand of the chancellor as they receive a life-altering piece of paper, and even Oprah graces the red carpet when Hollywood pauses to honor people like Gabourey Sidibe who have captured the human struggle on film at the 82nd Annual Academy Awards.
The pre-party and afterglow fashion Do’s and Don’ts may pose as the “leading lady” of every Oscar party, but they merely live up to the expectation of “supporting actress” at best, providing purpose for the botox-filled lips of the talking heads. The real prima donna is and always will be Best Picture, with 2010 going down in history as a banner year for James Cameron’s former wife Kathryn Bigelow who trumped the highest grossing film of all times Avatar with a win for The Hurt Locker, as well as being the first woman ever in history to be voted in by the Academy as Best Director. Being nominated in the two categories with the man who abandoned her prior to creating the highest grossing movie of all times once before back in 1998, I was surprised her acceptance speech didn’t include, “This is for Titanic!!!”
Whether a writer or director is recreating a true story like Michael Oher’s or a fictional account of someone’s imagined journey, the true blind side is perhaps the temporary departure from reality to unlock a fairy tale that will continue to speak to this generation and the ones to come.
Take the recent film adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s 1865 nonsensical novel Alice in
Wonderland. Tim Burton proliferates the myth of a hookah-smoking caterpillar, a mad hatter eternally punished by time standing still at high tea, a queen of hearts shouting “off with his head” at the slightest inconvenience, and even an allusion to the War of the Roses.
In the end, Alice must say goodbye once again to her friend the Mad Hatter and return to reality surer than ever that she’s still got dreams to fulfill apart from Underland. “You won’t remember me,” says he. With a final parting she returns to her life to become an apprentice for an entrepreneur and her life begins again with a journey into the unknown. A blue butterfly ascends from her shoulder as she says, “Hello Absalom” to her old friend the caterpillar.
Dear Reader, it is unlikely you will get a glimpse of the rare blue butterfly like Alice’s Absalom this spring unless you’re in the United Kingdom. But whenever you are blessed enough to witness the majesty of the Monarch in flight as it looms over the lantana of North Texas, remember that the Author of the universe is choreographing the dance of your life into a tale that is greater than one you could ever imagine. When what seems like the death of winter’s cocoon has held you in low-esteem, bound and chained, and whether your life story holds tragedy or triumph, we celebrate this time of year in remembrance of Christ overcoming the three darkest days known to all of mankind when the stone was rolled away. When we experience the majesty of the One True Monarch who is the Alpha and the Omega, we can thank God for the endings and new beginnings that our life stories will recant to the generations to come.