Towers and Keys

12:05 PM

    We suffocate ourselves with the longing, the need and the desire for it. Lately, I've been thinking quite a lot about how this one issue can completely change the course of our lives, let alone how it has changed the course of human history. 
     A close family friend of ours was Arleen. Her story is a fascinating one in and of itself, spanning most of the 20th century. Growing up in the Depression era, she was all too familiar with hunger and need. Arleen saved everything; literally everything. She would make Christmas ornaments from the plastic rings on the tops of milk bottles. For a while she was on a frozen food kick, and, unbeknownst to us, had taken to saving the plastic containers. In the course of two months she managed to fill an entire shed with towers of these newly cleaned beauties, “just in case she ever had a party.” She had lived a hard, hard, working life. Coming from a family where the father was an abusive alcoholic, she learned early on never to trust anyone, especially men. She was one of the kindest, gentlest women I've ever met and yet there was something that kept her prisoner her entire life: fear.
     In her eighties, when she was beginning to get a bit senile, her daughter had a large fence put in around her property so that she wouldn't wander off into the desert and get lost. Arleen, however, carried a key with her at all times. Living in eternal fear that she would get locked out of her house, she kept her house key in her hands at all times. She did her housework, her yard work and everything else, all the while holding said key in hand. (She was infamous for being the fastest shovel in the West amongst the gopher population, waiting sometimes for hours outside their holes, until one doomed creature would unwittingly peek it’s head out to see it's last light of day). Years went by, and slowly her fingers, which before had been so long and straight, began to curl around the key, until at last they would no longer reopen. The key itself was slowly becoming a part of her flesh, until finally it took a doctor to remove it. Her hand was never the same and until the end of her days it kept the same position it had whilst holding that key. 
    The key was security to her. It was control. If she had the key, then she was safe.  She could stay inside her walls, in her house and no one could touch her. It’s a sad story really, but I wonder how many of us are carrying similar keys around in our own hearts. We build up our walls, we lock ourselves in and we convince ourselves that we are truly happy up there all alone, impenetrable, untouchable, unknown. We tell ourselves that only in these cages can we really be free. We name our cage "independence" or "freedom". We show the world that we don't need or want them; that we are just fine without anyone and some of us live out our days like that, with our hands slowly forming around the key.
     We all know the story of Rapunzel.  She is a young girl who has lived an entire life watching the world from a distant, remote tower. And yet ever so slowly, the desire begins to burn in her to see the world outside. She has encompassed herself so entirely by fear, that she will not set her foot on the ground even once. She doesn't dare. In the end, it all comes back to control. And yet, when she decides to throw caution to the wind and trust another creature, she actually finds freedom and hope.
     We create lives that keep us "safe" in the hopes that we can keep one shred of control. But if we are honest with ourselves, we can't! Perhaps our towers and walls were built in a reaction to someone or something. But in the end, we protect ourselves out of real life. Worry and fear are all born out of our need to control. Jesus tells us to look at the flowers. They haven't worked a day in their lives, and yet God has seen to their every need.
      If I’m honest, this past year, this has been the one lesson that I’ve had to learn again and again. I’m not in control and the more I try to hold onto the keys of control, the more I hurt myself and shove God out of my life. I believe that God is calling us to surrender control again. He wants so very badly to bring us out of our towers; to unwrap our hands from the keys and to show us real love, friendship, and experiences, but we simply will not come out of our safe places. He is calling out to us saying, "Come my love, my lovely one, come. For behold the winter is past, the rain is over and gone, the flowers have already appeared in the land.....Come my darling, my beautiful one come!" Song of Solomon 2:10,11,13b

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  1. Interesting analogy. I really like the words to the song in the video. Jesus wants to take our fears away if we trust Him and give Him control.


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