Monday, January 01, 2007

Rethinking What Meets the Eye

If the great stories have taught us anything, it is that there is more to reality than meets the eye. The Ugly Duckling is really a beautiful and powerful swan. The pathetic little girl who serves her stepsisters is seen by Prince Charming as the one person worthy to be his bride. Neo steps out of the Matrix, unveiling his true identity as “the One.” The simple moisture-farmer Luke Skywalker leaves his planet of Tatooine and becomes a Jedi Knight. And in real life, there is more—much more—to the young people we encounter than what the world sees on the outside.

Something else we can observe from myths is that the true, luminescent self cannot be released without help. The book of Genesis says that we were made in the image of God. However, it often takes the eyes of another to see beyond our exterior features, to see the greatness that we possess deep within. The Ugly Duckling would have never realized his noble heritage without the recognition of the other swans. Where would the Karate Kid have been without Mr. Miyagi? Morpheus believed in Neo, allowing him to have the confidence that he really was the One. Luke Skywalker was mentored by Obi-Wan Kenobi, and then trained by Yoda, before he could assume the mantle of Jedi Knight. The adolescents in our lives need us to fill the role of mentor, counselor, confidant, and friend. They need someone to believe in them, to see them mythically. They need someone to know that they have what it takes to be heroic in the tale that is being laid out before them. As we begin this new year, let us commit to seeking out the real person behind the mask!


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