Friday, July 18, 2014

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

A year ago (almost this week) hubby and I saw WICKED on Broadway. We bought the cast recording and listened to it over and over again during the drive from New York to Oklahoma. On the first listen, our kids were "huh?" By the time we reached home, they were begging to see the musical. They did. In OKC a couple months later. In June we took them to see it again in Tulsa. We are WICKED fanatics.

I keep waiting for someone to ask, "But did you read the book?" Umm, no, but my oldest daughter has. "Have you read the original, the one that stated it all?" Umm, well, I read the first four chapters when I was writing my next Heartsong release, THE MARSHAL'S PURSUIT.

Last month I put other things aside and finally read L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (written in 1900). Don't think you know the story. Read it.

As she travels to Oz, Dorothy meets three others who are also desperate to find the "one thing" they think they need so very badly. 

"Did you speak?" asked the girl, in wonder.

"Certainly," answered the Scarecrow. "How do you do?"

"I'm pretty well, thank you," replied Dorothy politely. "How do you do?"

"I'm not feeling well," said the Scarecrow, with a smile, "for it is very tedious being perched up here night and day to scare away crows."

"Can't you get down?" asked Dorothy.

"No, for this pole is stuck up my back. If you will please take away the pole I shall be greatly obliged to you."

Dorothy reached up both arms and lifted the figure off the pole, for, being stuffed with straw, it was quite light.

After Dorothy attended to the Scarecrow's external bondage, she invited him on her journey to the person who had the answer to his internal need. She did the same with the Tin Man and Cowardly Lion. Each had the choice to accept Dorothy's offer of a the possibility of a better life, or to reject it. 


A friend once said to me: "I think I'm just feeling out of sorts, out of control. Things are not peaceful in my heart or my soul right now. I think God wants to work something in me, and I need to allow Him to, but it has been difficult. When the Bible calls it refiner's FIRE, it isn't whistling dixie."

The refiner's fire is hot and unpleasant. Forget going home to Kansas if it means enduring poppy fields, wicked witches, winged monkeys, fighting trees, hammer-heads, or giant spiders. Put me back on that pole. Yes, it scratched, but I was used to it. I knew what to expect. Hide my oil can. Doesn't help my complexion anyway. Let me posture in denial of my fears. Being a scardy cat keeps me out of the ER. Because even though I survived this calamity, I know--I KNOW--something bad will happen again.

Get me off this yellow brick road, Lord. I am tired of running this race. I am tired of fighting the good fight.

In Strong Women, Soft Hearts, Paula Rinehart puts it this way: "People often complain of such things during the season of life--like someone drilled a hole through their souls. While everything looks the same on the outside, they feel hollow and restless, bored in ways that make no sense."

"But that isn't right. The King of Beasts shouldn't be a coward," said the Scarecrow.

I know it," returned the Lion, wiping a tear from his eye with the tip of his tail. "It is my great sorrow, and makes my life very unhappy. But whenever there is danger, my heart begins to beat fast."

"Perhaps you have heart disease," said the Tin Woodman.

"It may be," said the Lion.

"If you have," continued the Tin Woodman, "you ought to be glad, for it proves you have a heart. For my part, I have no heart; so I cannot have heart disease."

"Perhaps," said the Lion thoughtfully, "if I had no heart I should not be a coward."

"Have you brains?" asked the Scarecrow.

"I suppose so. I've never looked to see," replied the Lion.

"I am going to the Great Oz to ask him to give me some," remarked the Scarecrow, "for my head is stuffed with straw."

"And I am going to ask him to give me a heart," said the Woodman.

"And I am going to ask him to send Toto and me back to Kansas," added Dorothy.

"Do you think Oz could give me courage?" asked the Cowardly Lion.

"Just as easily as he could give me brains," said the Scarecrow.

"Or give me a heart," said the Tin Woodman.

"Or send me back to Kansas," said Dorothy.

"Then, if you don't mind, I'll go with you," said the Lion, "for my life is simply unbearable without a bit of courage."

"You will be very welcome," answered Dorothy, "for you will help to keep away the other wild beasts. It seems to me they must be more cowardly than you are if they allow you to scare them so easily."

"They really are," said the Lion, "but that doesn't make me any braver, and as long as I know myself to be a coward I shall be unhappy."

Some of us need to reclaim our bodies, others need to reclaim their minds, and many more need to reclaim their hearts so that they may really live. In their book Sacred Romance, Brent Curtis and John Eldredge share: 

"In the end, it doesn't matter how well we have performed or what we have accomplished--a life without heart is not worth living. For out of this wellspring of our soul flow all true caring and all meaningful work, all real worship and all sacrifice."

God does not desire any of us to live in any form of bondage.

Jesus said, "The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give [you] a rich and satisfying life."

"Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good....Listen, that you may live." Isaiah 55:2, 3 (NAS)

I love how Rinehart writes, "What God asks of us is both simpler and more profound than adherence to a system of beliefs or following a set of rules. He asks us to walk in an honest pilgrimage where we let Him show us what real strength, and real love, are all about." That's one yellow brick road I want to travel. 

Dorothy stood up and found she was in her stocking-feet. For the Silver Shoes had fallen off in her flight through the air, and were lost forever in the desert.

Aunt Em had just come out of the house to water the cabbages when she looked up and saw Dorothy running toward her.

"My darling child!" she cried, folding the little girl in her arms and covering her face with kisses. "Where in the world did you come from?"

Well, Aunt Em, I was on this awful, amazing, scary hard adventure to find a way back home. Along the way I met some friends who, like me, decided we were tired of the life we had and knew we wanted to really live, so we followed a golden path to Someone who showed us how to reclaim our minds, hearts, bodies, and find our way home. 

I don't know what holds you in bondage, but I want you to know that you are not alone. A trained professional can be reached here or here or here.

Serious Question of the Day: Is there any one area of your life where you feel God is stirring in your heart to move you out of the stands and onto the playing field?

Non-Serious Question of the Day: Which character in The Wizard of Oz do you most relate to.


  1. Beautiful post, Gina, and thought-provoking!

    Just watched Saving Mr. Banks this week. Now I'm thinking I need to go back and read all those children's stories we only know from the movies!

  2. I love this, Gina. You don't know this about me, but The Wizard of Oz is one of my favorite books. It's part of a very intriguing series. Great post!

  3. Thanks for this, Gina. I've always enjoyed the Wizard of Oz although I've never read the original version.

    I think I most relate to the Tin Man. My mom always said I got along fine in the military because I was such a hard person. (I never try to cry in front of her. Hubby would definitely disagree.)

    And in my writing, I struggle the most with the emotions. I know how my characters are feeling, but it's hard conveying that on paper.

    Also, I've picked up and moved from one place to another and don't cry over leaving friends behind. And I don't always stay in touch, but when I see them again, I love sitting down and catching up. Some people say you have to continually nourish a friendship for it to last. Maybe. But I've done that many times - thoroughly invested in a friendship - and in the end, lost the friend because they've moved on to another part of their life, or didn't want to continue as I moved on with mine.

    So yeah, maybe I do need a heart.


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