Of Dorothy, Oz and Technicolor Dreams
In his excellent book The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows, author John Koenig fashions a word based on Dorothy's experience in The Wizard of Oz film version.
The word Koenig creates is ozurie: feeling torn between the life you want, and the life you have.
Koenig also wrote a beautiful and poetic narrative describing how this word captures how Dorothy must have felt when she woke up back in the black-and-white world of Kansas, as opposed to the technicolor world of Oz.
And yet even as she makes her way to school the next morning, she no carries with her a certain unshakable awareness--that her gray gingham dress is secretly blue, that her charcoal hair is actually a rich auburn, that the sky catches fire when the sun goes down.
I was intrigued by this because even though the film version of the story ends with Dorothy back in Kansas, she doesn't stay there. She returns more than once in L. Frank Baum's books about Oz.
But still, the lingering question in Koenig's narrative that speaks to both versions of the story is simply this: How do you live in a colorless world after you've experienced one that simply explodes with color? Koenig poses it like this:
Do you plunge into a Technicolor riot of what might be, harsh and delirious, and confusing? Or do you accept the humble beauty of ordinary life, where nothing ever changes and everything is simple? Which will it be--Kansas or Oz? Life as it is or life as it should be?
The last question from the above quote is haunting, isn't it? How often do we find ourselves caught between life as it is and life as it should be?
I carry that question with me regarding my faith, and many of us do the same.
We get glimpses of the glory of God at times, or we experience colorful moments of Spirit-filled grace that fill our souls with intense joy.
But then the cares of life, the religion of our past, and the state of what passes for Christianity in our current culture weigh us down, reducing our technicolor visions of faith to black-and-white versions that never fail to disappoint.
What would it take for us to live in a black-and-white world with visions of color in our hearts? What would it take to embrace life as it is but live fully into the dream of life as it should be?
I think that it takes a tremendous amount of hope--the kind of hope that comes from the realization that God is still in the Resurrection business and longs for us to live in color no matter where we find ourselves.
So embrace your technicolor dreams, and live with the sure and certain knowledge that there is a better world beyond our perceptions of reality. And this reality--God's kingdom--is not only all around us but also in us.
May it be so, and may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.