Symbolism never came this easy in HS English class.
Monday, January 5, 2009

Jonathan gets me a "classic" book every year for Christmas. This year, it was Alice in Wonderland.

I gotta say, that is one whacked out story. Lewis Carroll was a kooky dude. The hookah smoking caterpillar shows up in chapter 4, and it's just gets weirder from there.

The book wasn't all that compelling for me, and I trudged through it mostly because I felt like it was a classic that I should read sometime in my lifetime. I'm snobby that way.

There was one poem in the book, however, that really struck a chord with me. I was obviously feeling overly contemplative when I read it, but as soon as I read the words "Won't you join the dance?", I began drawing all kinds of analogies with my walk with God thus far.

The Mock Turtle's Song

"Will you walk a little faster?" said a whiting

to a snail,

"There's a porpoise close behind us, and he's

treading on my tail.

See how eagerly the lobsters and the turtles
all
advance!
They are waiting on the shingle -will you come

and join the dance?

Will you, wo'n't you, will you, wo'n't you,

will you join the dance?

Will you, wo'n't you, will you, wo'n't you,

won't you join the dance?


"You can really have no notion how delightful

it will be

When they take us up and throw us, with the

lobsters, out to sea!"
But the snail replied, "Too far, too far!" and
gave a look askance -

Said he thanked the whiting kindly, but he

would not join the dance.

Would not, could not, would not, could not,
would not join the dance.
Would not, could not, would not, would not,

could not join the dance.


"What matters it how far we go?" his scaly
friend replied.
"There is another shore, you know, upon the
other side.

The further off from England the nearer is to
France -
Then turn not pale, beloved snail, but come and

join the dance.
Will you, wo'n't you, will you, wo'n't you,
will you join the dance?

Will you, wo'n't you, will you, wo'n't you,

won't you join the dance?"




I remember being the timid snail, too afraid to leave my peaceful shore.


My shore was inhabited with charming, intelligent people, who anyone would be blessed to call friends.
His shore might be full of people who are emotionally spent and needy; people who aren't easy to love.

My shore....my shore was like a beach vacation most days. Time for rest and relaxation and wastefulness.
His shore might have work to be done. Hard work, that could only be accomplished with much faith and humility, and by His power alone.

On my shore I had everyone's admiration.
On his shore I could face rejection.

My shore was nice and clean, and it was safe.
His shore could be messy and dangerous.

But I finally got bored with my safe, comfortable shore. For all it's comforts, it was also unsatisfying and left me unfulfilled. I wanted to truly serve Him. Even if it was scary. Or embarrassing. Or put me in the midst of flawed, needy people.

As I've allowed Him to fling me out into an ocean of faith, I have found the joy in leaving my comfortable shore and getting closer to His; for His is a shore of adventure, and real life. "What matters it how far we go? There is another shore, you know, upon the other side."

I'm thankful that even in my timidness and selfishness, in my place of leisure and ease, as I said "Too far, too far!", I could hear Him whispering,

"Then turn not pale, beloved snail, but come and join the dance. Will you, wo'n't you, will you, wo'n't you, will you join the dance?"

He was faithful to keep asking me to dance. I'm so glad I said yes. The times in my life that have required me to overcome fear, and to have nothing to rely on but faith, have been the very best times. Being flung out to sea, so to speak, really is quite "delightful".

Now, once again, I hear Him calling me deeper into the sea, farther away from comfortable shores.

I have a restless feeling in my soul, and a stirring in my heart to serve Him in greater ways. That might mean giving more sacrificially. It might mean speaking of Him in a bolder way. It could mean loving someone who is difficult to love. Maybe I'll be the one to have faith in someone everyone else has given up on. Whatever else it means, I know I want to love my husband and kids more fiercely, and pray for them more fervently.

Will you, wo'n't you, will you, wo'n't you, will you join the dance?







2 Comments:
Blogger Zimms Zoo had this to say:

We read some of the poems in our homeschool class. The kids hated them and wanted to move on. I must admit I didn't like them too much either.

But I do like your analogy. It is great and I need to remember it when we get to that part.

January 6, 2009 at 10:41 AM 


Blogger Pinky had this to say:

Alice in Wonderland. I always felt like it was up for interpretation. I need to read it, too. I was in the play in second grade. I think I understood it better then.
Now I just want to see what smoking hookah is like.

ru roh.
:-)

January 8, 2009 at 1:42 AM 


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I'm Starr Cliff. A domestically-challenged mom, climbing over mountains of laundry to bring you my stray observations and amusing stories about my kids. (more)

 







 



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