I remember as a little girl getting ready for “the event”. We circled it on our calendars, canceled any other activities, made bowls of popcorn and got our pajamas on early. Every American family basically did these same things. No child balked at eating their vegetables, siblings were on their best behavior and homework was done immediately after school, as no child would dare risk being punished and missing out. Am I talking about Christmas? Halloween? Maybe putting teeth under our pillows for the tooth fairy? Absolutely not – it was the annual broadcast of the renowned movie, The Wizard of Oz.
Part of the movie magic of the Wizard of Oz is captured when Dorothy’s world goes from black and white to spectacular technicolor once Dorothy lands in Oz, atop the Wicked Witch no less, and she steps out into a fantastical new world filled with over-sized flowers and under-sized people. Every time I watched it as a little girl, I was amazed and awed at how radically her life changed in a moment.
Even at a young age, I understood through the visual feast of this movie that Dorothy didn’t learn anything new in her journey on the yellow brick road. No, the point of Oz was for Dorothy to really know what she already knew. It wasn’t enough that she was told that her home was where she belonged; she had to live out her fears, face her challenges and embrace new relationships in order to get to her teachable moment in which she learned what she already knew, “there’s no place like home”.
We are all like Dorothy to some degree. We can say what we believe, but until we work out that truth through life, we are only living a Sepia toned existence. It would be apt to say, until I live out my faith, I really don’t know what I truly believe.
Let me give you a “Dorothy” example from my life. I had learned from childhood on that prayer was a key Christian discipline. I studied prayer, I valued prayer and I prayed. I thought I knew what prayer was. UNTIL, I entered the teenage years of parenting. In one of those crucial moments when after having tried everything for a few weeks to get across to our adolescent what needed to change in their attitude, I finally gave up. I threw my hands in the air and said loudly, “That’s it! I am done. We have tried everything to get you to see what is wrong. Nothing has worked. So just, go to your room; while you’re there, pray for God to help you and don’t come down until you’ve met with Him. While you do that, I’m going to pray that God opens your eyes.” I angrily turned around and hurried away as my teen headed to their room.
I prayed and I cleaned. And I cleaned and I prayed – for 3 hours. Just as I was finishing scrubbing the kitchen floor, I heard footsteps coming downstairs. Having been in concerted prayer, I went much more peacefully toward this next conversation. When they turned the corner, they were crying and with heartfelt repentance, told me where they had been wrong and sought my forgiveness. In response, I burst into tears, immediately hugged them and declared all was forgiven.
In this case, there was indeed a happy ending. However, more than having the problem solved, I learned – I mean, I really learned – about prayer for I had lived it as I had never lived it before. That was my “Dorothy” teachable moment on prayer, and better yet, I have never forgotten it.
Moving from a black and white world of faith to one of living color isn’t easy, but it’s an adventure none of us should miss. Dear Reader, where is your Oz and are you ready to embrace your inner “Dorothy”? Until next time, may you be brave and seize your teachable moments by learning what you already know!
Blessings to you always, Elizabeth