While at the movie theater last night, I sat enthralled through the trailer for Exodus: Gods and Kings. Out this December, it’s the story of Moses and Ramses. Two brothers. A burning bush. Plagues of locusts and frogs. Waters turned to blood. The Red Sea parted. An epic battle.
Christian Bale aside, I love these kind of films, these kind of stories. There’s something about good triumphing over evil, about grand-sweeping drama, about the vastness and passion that captivates me.
And I am easily captivated. We all are.
We long to be swept up in a story that is marvelous and beautiful and powerful, one that eliminates the humdrum, the day-in-day-out hassles, the harm.
This desire speaks to something inherently good within us. It’s hardly some delirious fantasy. It’s a glimpse into what we know to be true, into who we know ourselves to truly be. If only we could get there…
What holds us back? Why do we only peer at this life through a fog. Why does it remain just out of reach? Why do we struggle and settle and stay put? You already know. To live in an epic tale, to usher in the very gods, we have to give up the smaller one(s).
“When half-gods go, the gods arrive.”
So said Ralph Waldo Emerson. He was right. This is exactly what captivates us and what it costs.
We have to let the half-gods go. Easier said than done.
I’ll speak only for myself. My half-god list is long: those things to which I pay attention and by whom, if I give enough allegiance, I am convinced will eventually reward me.
- Codependent behavior: if I try hard enough you will change.
- Idealistic body image: if only I could get my act together with this last __ pounds then surely the rest of my life would fall into place.
- Entitled success: actually believing that I deserve more, better, every and any thing I want.
- Platform: if I just accrue enough social media clout, develop perfect marketing language, create impossible-to-resist product offerings, and procure a waiting list of clients then surely Oprah’s Super-Soul-Sunday rep will call.
- Someday my prince will come: surely he will ride in, white horse and all, looking like Christian Bale, and sweeping me away to the life that I long for and deserve (see “Entitled success” above).
Illusions. Not healthy or helpful. Not even remotely representative of the Divine. In fact, though feverishly wooing me with their empty promises, they offer just the opposite. Truth-be-told, they offer nothing; they only take. And when I bow to their demands I feel smaller, inadequate, broken somehow, and just not quite up to snuff – ever. Hardly created in the image of the gods. No, these feelings, experiences and beliefs are the insipid work of the half-gods.
As compared to the god(s). Chariots blazing. Heavens opening. Angelic choirs singing. Zeus himself making way. Epiphany. Inspiration. Truth-telling. Awe. Power. Beauty.
- The god(s) that remind me I am enough; that I can take care of my own business and let you take care of yours.
- The god(s) that assure me I am beautiful and worthy of kindness and respect no matter what.
- The god(s) that do not promise success or a happy ending; rather, presence, constancy, and strength.
- The god(s) that smile at the idea of Oprah’s Super-Soul-Sunday to be sure, and say, “the only call you need is the one that tells you to keep writing, speaking, creating with integrity and in truth.”
- The god(s) that summon the battle cry; the endless song that heralds my inherent and unshakeable worth in and of myself – Christian Bale, or not.
These are (this is) the god worthy of honor, respect, reverence, and worship. Mine, to be sure. And yours.
So don’t settle for the lesser ones, the half-ones. Don’t settle for a less-than story; anything other than epic, full-tilt, all-in. No compromise. No holding back. A grand, sweeping drama. Vast and passionate. Captivating, to be sure. The gods – and goddesses – will surely show up.
I can already see the waters parting…