movie theater ticket stubs
Connectivity, Daily Life

Tokens of the Silver Screen

The critics accused and ignited this ruse

that people want the lives of movie stars

with six cars, two kids, one divorce, and eight houses.

 

But we don’t want their fame. We don’t want their lives.

No, we can see that façade, that disguise.

 

The real battle isn’t with the actors or celebrities.

It’s with our need to be

who they portray in fiction stories, fantasies,

real dramas, and love crusades. We want

to be

their characters.

 

movie theater ticket stubs

 

We want to be scripted to be that free.

We want one problem—solved—then

Blissful eternity.

 

Let the credits roll and forget that whole

Mess called life, marriage, kids, school, work.

That might come next.

But the kiss is what matters.

The heist was successful.

The war has been won.

 

In movies, there is no PTSD, no criminal fee, and

no need to explore love in reality.

 

That’s what I saw, and that’s what I see, so

that’s exactly what I hope for

me. For my life, for my job, and

for my attempts at keeping my attitude cool with

my ruby red heels click-clicking.

“There’s no place like home.”

 

But that statement implies

I need a place to call home. So I better start spending, request

a mortgage to ascend the world’s ladder, and

dismiss the real Wicked Witch, the debt that’s piling high

as I repeat Dorothy’s line.

 

I know what I need

to be happy.

 

Don’t forget Allie Hamilton’s love story,

Princess Leia’s bravery, the transformation of

Anne Shirley, Jane Austen’s work, Belle’s inner

Beauty, and Selena’s glory.

 

Model Jack Sparrow’s recklessness, Aragorn’s adeptness,

Bond’s charm, Harold’s humor, Independence Day defenses,

and Danny Ocean’s ability to win it all

in the end.

 

Roll the credits, hit the lights.

Where’s my end scene?

 

That’s right. I forgot life didn’t

operate like a silver screen

where decisions are made in two point two hours.

 

The course of each character’s life was determined for

A reason: to inspire, to challenge, to mock, to encourage.

Isn’t that why we love the movies?

 

We see in the motion a mystery solved, some

part of our souls illuminated, and

some reason to believe

in whatever we were being asked to accept

as absolute truth.

 

Too often I prefer their stories to mine.

But I too am worth a story, one designed

specifically for me in this time by the

ultimate Creator, the demystified Divine.

The world is but our stage.

 

 

~ Ally Siwajian © 2012

Photograph credit: Ally Siwajian © 2012

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Snow White eats apple
Connectivity, Daily Life, Scripture Study

The Fairest of Eden

Mirror, Mirror, on the wall,

Who is the fairest of them all?

I gaze at my reflection. Searching. Seeking. Hoping.

Yet as I absorb the look of my features, I glimpse a shadow of dullness I’ve grown to despise. It creeps into my soul and takes control, wrenching my joy from my spirit. Empty. Alone. A shell of a person, a decrepit hull.

This is how Snow White’s evil queen became ugly on the inside too. She ingested the view, and she saw she was lacking. Inadequate. Pitiful in comparison another woman whom she assumed robbed her of her worth.

Never did she suspect the source of her judgment was wrong.

When I gaze into the Mirror, it enchants before me too. It comes alive with all kinds of nasty words it wants to share. Words which somehow emanate from my own mouth.

Snow White eats appleThat hair… Those eyes… That pale skin… The acne… These scars… Those lips… excuses for lips….

The list spills forth from my mouth before the Mirror. I too have prepared a poison apple. But I have eaten it myself.

I dine upon the lies the Devil places on my tongue. I chew my harsh words, and I swallow his cruel commentary.

I begin to believe the lies, and it takes a toll on my spirit. On the way I view myself, and likewise, the way I have slowly started to view others. Those whom I assume criticize my looks. Those whose words have a way of sinking under my skin when they utter ruthless remarks. Similarly, my skin steels itself against any life-bringing phrases, compliments, or applause. Because these nice people can’t honestly mean what they’re saying.

They don’t know what I know: I am not beautiful. I am not the fairest of them all.

As I eat the poisoned apple, I succumb to the curse of Eden. I eat the forbidden fruit that dangled gently from that tree—the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. The snake hisses in my ear. He tells me I am worth no more than this state of suffering. I may as well accept my fate.

On occasion, I rebuke the lies. Call them by their true name: Lies. That’s what they are. But then the snake tightly wraps itself around the tree and whispers my name. He tells me how prideful it would be for me to be proud of my looks. No, no, no. Tsk, tsk, tsk. How arrogant you are to be proud of the way you were made.

Therefore, I look once more to the Mirror, and I debase my features. Reduce my glorious attributes to horrifying flaws.

But the claws of the once-legged serpent cannot hold fast forever.

One swoop of a sword and the serpent’s tongue is severed. It cannot spit the lies anymore. I see at once a Gardener, who has removed malice from a tree. From me.

For it is as Jesus said: “I am the vine, and you are the branches.”

I shudder at the sight of the shears in the Gardener’s hands. But as his scissors slice away rotten fruits cloven to my branch, I know the pain of pruning comes with a promise. Like peroxide burns away infection in a wound, this pain initiates my healing process.

All the while, the Vine sustains me. It breathes life through its strength, and it supports every branch. All of us. Each of us.

For it is as Jesus said: “I am the vine, and you are the branches.”

This tree can never again be touched by the serpent, who did its best to destroy the beauty God had created.

Life is a constant pruning, but the putrid fruit upon my branches lessens with each moment I give to the Gardener. I accept my identity in Christ. I know I am desired, protected, and renewed. My branch now bears a better fruit. It is the evidence of Christ-likeness: love, joy that is complete, and an understanding that true humility is the absence of both pride and self-debasement.

With this fruit, we encourage each other toward the tender touch of the Gardener.

Every once in a while, I see a sick and slithering serpent crawl through the grass. It glints in the sunlight, and I catch a glimpse of my reflection in the scales upon its back.

Mirror, Mirror on the wall…

No.

You do not define

Who I am.

 

 

(Inspired by Genesis 3:1-15, John 15:1-17, and John 3:16-17)

 

~Ally Siwajian © 2012

Photograph credit: ABC’s “Once Upon a Time”: Season 1, Episode 21 “An Apple Red as Blood”

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floating lanterns
Daily Life, Stunted World Changers

Your Passion, God’s Way

What if you were designed to like what you like, to love whom you love, and to enjoy what you enjoy? Lately I’ve been wondering how I can be a person who claims to care about the poor, but also a person who likes looking through fashion magazines to see the latest trends, the season’s hottest colors, and the best ways to revamp what’s already in my closet to reflect this year’s styles. Aren’t those interests contradictory?

In my own way, I’ve decided to dictate what is Godly and what is not. Caring about the poor—yep, Godly. Doing something I enjoy—um, evil.

We all have passions           

Today I realized it doesn’t make sense to dismiss every personal interest. If I can believe God put a burning passion in my heart to care about people, why can’t I believe that He also created me to enjoy looking at color schemes, coordinating clothing, and believing I am beautiful?

We all have passions. We all have interests. God created us, and He knew it was good. He knit us together in our mothers’ wombs. Maybe instead of trying to shun the parts of ourselves that are “ungodly,” we should examine the bar we are measuring ourselves against.florating lanterns

What is Godly?           

Now that introduces another question: How do we know what is Godly? I think it’s really a lot easier than we tend to believe. Yes, we have the Ten Commandments, the Greatest Commandments, and the “Golden Rule.” But I think all these boil down to one, simple thought: Does it bring glory to God or not?

Obviously, if I have a penchant for lying, I’m not exhibiting an interest that brings glory to God. That’s something I’ll have to give up. Likewise, if I spend so much time on thinking about what I’ll wear, how I look, and whether or not people will like me based on what I’ve worn, then I probably need to take a step back and re-evaluate. I’m letting the clothes wear me.

Know your Worth

Rather than worry about the criticisms of others and the little voice in my head that whispers away my worth before the mirror, I need to claim Christ’s victory over condemnation and trust the intrinsic worth placed within me at my Creation by God. I need to be willing to be able to know my worth as a daughter of a King and believe I am beautiful, no matter what I look like each day.

With that mentality, I can enjoy my interests and the passions placed within me. I can safely wear pretty clothes and have fun playing with eye shadows. I wear the clothes. They don’t wear me.

Your Passion, God’s Way           

Once we rule our emotions, our passions, and our interests (rather than letting these rule us), we allow ourselves to be used by God. He created you with your interests for a reason. Now let Him use those to bring glory to Himself and to bring people (including you) into a deeper relationship with Him.

In every area of my life, I’ve met people who share my interests. Because we have that common ground, we’re able to enjoy life together, to build each other up in community, and let God reveal Himself through what we enjoy—yes, in every aspect from video games to manicures to picking up trash for volunteer work. It’s not about whether our interests are considered “holy” by others.

It’s all about what we most value. It’s about who we’re serving. It’s about what we’re choosing to glorify.

~ Ally Siwajian © 2012

Photograph credit: Ally Siwajian © 2012

Leave a comment with your answer: What are you passionate about? What are your interests?

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