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Safety in the Fire Swamp...

Hello and good Wednesday to you...I hope you are well rested and that your life and its challenges are manageable today. As you look at your life, through the lens of your own personal perspective, I hope you experience joy and contentment...regardless.

There is a movie from the early 80's and it is one of my very favorites; and I am certain you have seen it or heard about it. Do you remember the movie: The Princess Bride? A few weeks ago I wrote a piece about castles and used this movie as a reference to what a castle is and how it looks/looked in its day. Well, there is a part in this movie that I believe is rather poignant and fitting to us today. Because I am a contemplator by nature and forever looking at people from a relational "lens", so to speak, I find significance in movies quite often that make or explain our humanness, through the behaviors of other people.

This past week, someone in my family was injured in an accident and it has been an all consuming presence in conversation as well as the truth that this injury has changed someones life, for the rest of their life... Life is forever different for the family and for the person that accidentally caused the accident. Even a single tragedy affects so many people, and often, depending on the severity of the situation, everyone will be forced to shift and adjust to a new "normal". And, that new normal will take a long time to understand what it will look like. There will be incremental steps to recovery and they will continually take place going forward now. So, what does this movie have to do with this recent accident? What is my point? And, last but not least, what does this have to do with interior decoration??? Read on...

First, back to the movie...So the scene I want to take you back to is when Buttercup and Wesley are trying to run from Prince Humperdinck's cohorts from Florin. The two escape into the "safety" of the fire swamp. The fire swamp is a dangerous place where, unless you know its secrets and can survive them, there is little chance of survival. As they defeat the rodents of unusual size, the flame spurts, and the lightning sand (which is faster than quicksand), their fear subsides. Still, when they eventually emerge from the fire swamp to see that Prince Humperdinck is already there to catch them, and take Buttercup back with him to Florin, they taunt the prince by claiming that they KNOW the secrets of the fire swamp and can live there for a very long time.

To make the choice to emerge from the fire swamp means there is another reality to face. Unlike the familiarity of the fire swamp, the future is unknown, and unpredictable. But the fire swamp can only provide what is absolutely necessary to stay alive; there is no promise of a good life more than that. And yet, to be given into the hands of the villainess prince, it seems like all hope is lost. The story goes on and, in the end, Wesley and Buttercup are finally together; riding off into the sunset...

For most of us, we won't be subjected to live in a fire swamp, but, when we love someone, we will go to great lengths to ensure their safety, that they receive the best care and it can crush us, if we can't make that happen. (Remember when Buttercup agreed to sacrifice herself (and go back with the prince) as long as Wesley was not hurt?) When our loved one is in pain, whether physically or emotionally, we want so much to make it go away. We want to take it away and we would ask that it be put on us, if we could. The weight of the circumstance is so heavy, one can almost buckle in exhaustion and overwhelm. And, when the initial trauma recedes, but one is left with a permanent physical scar, the mind has to continually adjust to the new set of realities. Physical exhaustion coupled with the sadness and inability to change the condition feels like defeat and abandonment from God himself. It is times like these when, quite understandably, people believe that God has turned away and forgotten them. When an injury is severe enough that it means physical therapy and learning how to live with the loss of movement etc. it must feel surreal; like maybe you'll wake up and found it was a dream. Often, we make God the scapegoat of our pain and/or inability to control what we cannot control.

For those who have a faith in the God of our universe, there is a reminder that He doesn't lose his focus or turn away when accidents happen. He has the pulse on this earth and hasn't missed a thing. However, just because we believe, it doesn't make us exempt to tragedy. Bad things happen to good people...plain and simple...because we live in a fallen world. And, as long as we remain here in this broken world, we are all at the mercy of a life with accidents, betrayals, sickness, doubt and ultimately...loss. And until that day when ALL OF US WILL be put back together, we must live with that somber truth. This is a good reason to live with joy as often as you can. For when that day of tragedy arrives at our doorstop, our preemptive strikes of gladness, thankfulness and joy can intercede on our behalf when words do not come.

A final thought that relates to interior decoration and this comes as a sincere gesture to everyone: for times such as these, when recovery and rehabilitation require many days in solitude and isolation, to have a bedroom/t.v. room/recovery space curated to appeal to the senses can offer solace, rest in quality measure, joy in color and style to lift the spirits and assist in the healing of ones body and soul...its measure and value cannot be underestimated. Consider this beforehand, before necessity undermines opportunity. Depression is the ugly demon that often shows up unannounced and uninvited that seeks to wedge itself in when someone is ill, recovering from surgery or the birth of a baby. Think about it; there are so many thoughtful ways to offer respite to someone with a room that uplifts their spirit as they recover.

Let me know if I can help.

I wish you well this week and until next time....good on you, Jeanine

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