Ga-linda, the not-so-good

In the movie, The Wizard of Oz, I remember Glinda the good witch being this puff of pink that wasn’t involved much in the story except to bestow the ruby slippers on Dorothy for killing the witch and send her on her way to Oz. Granted, it’s been years since I’ve seen the movie, so my idea of her may be a bit vague and incorrect. But, I love how Ga-linda (yes, with a Ga) is portrayed in the musical Wicked.

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In the musical, Galinda is the popular girl in school who likes pink and always looks like she has her life together in perfect order. Even though she treated Elphaba like the plague when they first became roommates, her perfect façade quickly fell away as she got to know Elphie and the two of them became the best of friends. Until, of course, all of Oz turned against Elphaba and Galinda was thrown into the spotlight as the sudden hero of all Oz. With the people looking to her to lead, she had to look the part of perfection and continue to lead in the hunt for the wicked witch.

In a recent blog post, I asked if you had ever felt like the wicked witch of the west. In the same vein, I ask, are you more of a Galinda, or just a Galinda wannabe perhaps? I say wannabe, because, who could be Galinda anyway? She’s perfect. She’s popular. Her hair is blonde. She travels by bubble. Her fiancée is captain of the guard. What’s not to love about her?

But, underneath all the fluff and glitter, she’s not as good as she appears to be. She betrayed her best friend for fame, and she knows the stories they’ve been telling about Elphie aren’t true. But what’s a girl to do? She has the standard of perfection to uphold.

I wonder how many of us have felt like that Galinda. Everyone having one idea of how you portray yourself on the outside, but never really knowing or seeing the war that’s going on beneath the surface. I don’t know about you, but I have felt like Galinda the not-so-good many times in my life. Being a Christian, that’s sometimes an extra hard burden to bear. Growing up in the church, you always have a certain standard to uphold or expectation to meet. And being a believer, you often strive to meet those standards and expectations. But how many of you go home after church or Bible study and feel you are living a lie or half a life, or even a double life?

I confess, unlike the song in the musical, I am that girl. With different things going on in my home life, I have come to feel very much like my life was a façade. Always putting on the happy smile at church or work and pretending like everything is fine. Feeling like I could never share what was really going on out of fear of what people would think of me, and of my family. Always feeling like you have to keep your true feelings and hurts and wounds inside because you don’t want to destroy the perfect vision people have of you.

Taking it deeper still, living with the deep darkness of a secret sin you have kept so buried your entire life, that if discovered, everyone who knows you would be completely shocked and probably be ready to take up stones to flog you to death for such unthinkable, unmentionable things you have done or thought. You no longer feel like the sweet, beautiful fairy everyone thinks you are. In fact, you’re probably feeling a little more like Jekyll and Hyde right about now.

Luckily, for you and me, the story doesn’t have to end there, and it didn’t in the musical. When Elphaba’s life was on the line, Galinda found her and in one of the most beautiful songs of the play, they sang about how they had been changed for the better because they knew each other. All was forgiven and their friendship was mended. I can tell you from personal experience that you too can be mended. For years I was racked with guilt and shame over the things I thought. And, even though the Bible says if we confess our sins, He will be faithful and just to forgive them, I was sure He was getting tired of hearing me confess and ask forgiveness for the same sordid sins over and over and over again. But believe me, God’s love is far greater than we can ever imagine and He didn’t just send His Son to save us, He sent His Son to change us.

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If you have given your life to Christ, your old life holds no power over you anymore. Your past guilts or mistakes or problems, whether self-inflicted, or inflicted by others, can no longer control you. The only power they hold over you is the power you give them. It may seem like they are still holding onto you and you will never break free, but the truth is, they have already been destroyed and overcome. We just have to realize that we are already free and let those imaginary chains fall away as we walk forward in our new life in Christ.

Don’t let your Galindo not-so-good, or your Mr. Hyde, whichever the case may be, control your life. Let the love of Christ dwell in you richly and live in light of your salvation.

 

Wicked: An Elphaba kind of prayer

Have you ever felt like the wicked witch of the west? That may seem like an odd question. Especially since most of the time we would like to think we are more like Galinda the good witch, or even the heartless tin man or cowardly lion. Maybe even the heroic Dorothy who saves all of Oz from the terrifying witch.

Maybe this will help clear up my question a bit. The other night I was sitting in my bed reflecting on all the confusing and entangling events going on in my life and it felt like I was searching for something, anything to say to God and figure out how to figure out this mess. It felt like I was grasping at straws. Seeking answers to nagging questions. Looking for peace in the turmoil. Pacing the lion’s cage hoping to find the magical thing that would set me free or fill the hollow emptiness inside.

Being the musical theatre buff that I am, this goose chase my mind was taking me on brought to mind the scene in Wicked when Elphaba is chanting frantically across the expanse of the stage trying something, anything, to make sure Fiyero can’t be harmed. If you don’t know the story, it’s a creative retelling of the Wizard of Oz that takes a look at the witch’s side of the story. It follows the life of Elphaba, the wicked witch of the west, and her friendship with Galinda the good witch and Fiyero, a new boy in school, Elphaba’s sister, Nessarose, and a munchkin boy named Boq. I don’t want to spoil the storyline for those who haven’t seen it, but it comes to a point towards the end of the story where Fiyero ends up running off to help Elphaba and he gets taken prisoner because of it. Desperate to save the one good thing in her life, Elphaba opens her book of enchantments and starts saying whatever she can hoping it will be enough to save him.

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My life has felt a bit like that, and as I mentioned, that scene came to mind the other night as I wrestled with so many of the questions on my mind. I don’t know if you have ever had moments like that, where much like Elphaba in the song, you feel like shouting at top of your lungs, trying to figure what you want to say to God or what you want Him to do. You just keep going round and round not knowing if you are supposed to listen to what He has to say or if you are supposed to spill everything on your heart. You just know that things aren’t right in your life and you have to do whatever it takes to make them right.

Sometimes, you do have so much on your mind, you don’t know what or how to pray. But, that’s ok. You don’t have to have all the right words or have all the right things to pray. God knows what our hearts are trying to say. Even when it seems like our prayers are coming out in gibberish and make no sense to us. If we are praying in earnest to our God, He will hear us. He hears us in our tears. He hears us in our laughter. He hears us when we are so full of sorrow we can’t even speak. Just make sure you do pray, and that you keep on praying. Pour out your heart to your Father and let His never-ending love enfold you.

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The story of Wicked comes to a bittersweet end. Elphaba does ultimately save Fiyero and herself, even though it may not have happened the way she expected it too. But God works like that sometimes. We will ask for one thing and He will give it to us, just not how we expected it to happen. Or, He will give us something else that’s better for us. He knows our lives better than we do and knows what we need. So, when you’re overwhelmed or feel you are just mumbling nonsense, rest in the fact that God has already written your story and knows what the outcome will be.

 

 

A Word to the Masses

Tell me. What were you marching for? What reasons united you in this frivolous display of femininity? What were you expecting to achieve by your actions?

I cannot say I am proud of the female sex after yesterday’s embarrassing display of… what, exactly? I am still puzzled as to the reasons behind the march. Because another man was elected our president? Is that the real reason? You’ve achieved the right to vote, the right to equality with men, the ability to work with and even above men in some cases. You have every right a man has and in some cases more rights than a man, yet you fell short at the voting polls in achieving the right to rule a nation by the hands of your first lady president. If that’s the issue, you should have used your voices to elect her as president to begin with and not let that opportunity slip through the cracks.

We live in a democratic nation, which gives each and every one of us the opportunity to vote for the leader of our country. Not be submitted to the rule of a familial hierarchy or fall under whoever shed the most blood to get to the throne of higher power. We are blessed to be in such a nation, but it seems we’ve been given too many freedoms to be a rational people anymore. The liberal freedoms our founding fathers fought so hard to achieve and our friends and family in the armed forces have fought so hard to defend have made us a spoiled rotten child of a nation. Everyone has become self-entitled and feels the world should cater to them. We’ve become obese off of our first-world problems and throw a tantrum when things aren’t done our way. Especially when those things aren’t done in the split second after we ask for them. We have become a sorry mess of a nation, and it saddens me to think of the world my children will grow up in. Not because someone was elected president over someone else, but because of the way the people of this nation have chosen to live and carry on with their lives.

We are no longer a nation united under one cause. We are no longer a nation that can stand indivisible. We are no longer a nation that cares about liberty and justice for all. We are a nation divided against itself, looking for the almighty “ME” in everything we do or say. And any nation  that looks to the individual rights of every person will quickly become so disheveled and torn apart, it will no longer have any foundations on which to stand. And any enemies we have created in this world will make quick work of destroying what little things we have left to hold onto. In the words of one of our greatest presidents, who took the words from the very God whose principles and morals and Word were the very foundation of this nation, “a house divided against itself cannot stand.” We are in a dangerous place, America, and unless we start waking up to our troubles soon, we may end up in a place far worse than we can ever imagine with no way to get back to where we were.

A place where you no longer have the freedom to speak about what you want. No longer have the freedom to work where you want. No longer have the right to vote for the leader of your country, or anything pertaining to your country, city, or state. Things may not have gone your way in the election, but just remember how blessed you are to be able to have the choices and freedoms we have in this nation.

Don’t take your freedoms and liberties for granted. And don’t abuse your access to those freedoms. We have no rights. All of us were simply born luckier than others. And those who weren’t born here work hard to get here and stay here. These “rights” are things that have been given to us by the leaders of our nation as our nation has grown over the 2 centuries we have been around. Such precious gifts, I would not be so hasty to destroy.