Sunday, August 8, 2010

Shack, Stream, or Basement

After hearing much adieu, I finally decided to pick up The Shack by William P. Young. I started reading it Friday night and finished it this morning. Thought provoking, heart warming, and like a large wooden spoon, it stirred and swirled many fragments brewing within me. Like many, I chuckled, cried, and ached for the characters affected. I even wanted to know more about what would happen to each of those involved after the story ended. I was simply captivated.

It caused me to ponder my own struggles. Will I find resolution? Will I, like the protagonist, Mackenzie Allen Philips, find healing, along with my own unending questions answered? When? What will God do? What now or what next?

In the story,the shack serves as a metaphor for a place we get stuck and can't seem to move beyond. It is usually a place of great loss or pain. Where is God in all this chaos and havoc and where do we go from here? A shack is commonly defined as "a roughly built hut or cabin". To me this implies it is not meant to be a place of permanence, but something fashioned together quickly for the sole purpose of shelter from severe weather.

Last month, I had a dream. I awoke somewhat stunned with numerous questions. I was at some type of church function where everyone was smiling, dancing, and having a real good time. Everyone but me, that is. In spite of many of my friends being there, I did not feel comfortable. I became increasingly anxious and walked out into a dark corridor. With eyes fixed upon the ceiling, I cried out, "God, I'm stuck in the basement! Can't you just beam me up?" Although, I may have been hoping for something of a Star Trek experience and being instantly transported, it wasn't quite like that. I glanced to my left and saw a doorway with lot's of green trees or bushes just on the other side of it. I moved towards it and found myself not only out the door, but flying over tree tops, ever so high, up to clouds comprised of the most beautiful flowers, blue, pink, silver, and white. They were mostly roses or hydrangeas. I loved them! Instantly, I began to walk barefoot upon them, so as to feel the softness of the petals beneath my feet. I gathered bouquets in my hands, lifting them up to my nose to inhale their scent. There was much more after this, all so vivid and somewhat puzzling, but I was indeed, no longer stuck in the basement. Upon talking with my friend, Shari, she encouraged me, that the frustrations I have been wrestling with, would soon come to an end. I would be lifted up and out. She believed it was a promise from God that there would be healing.

In The Shack, Mackenzie found healing, but it meant travelling to a place of great pain once again. In addition, he had choices to make while he was there. It kind of reminded me of a scene from C.S Lewis' The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. In it, Lucy, a young girl, comes upon Aslan, the great lion and metaphor for Jesus. She is dying of thirst and so desperately wants to cross in order to drink from the stream he is resting in front of. She probes him with questions like, "Do you eat little girls? Is it safe? Is there another stream?" His responses were anything but comforting, yet most truthful. To the second question he said,"I make no promises." and to the last, he replied, "There is no other stream."

It was not until I was in my mid thirties, that I finally could smile broadly and unashamed of my teeth. For many years, they were crooked, and a sight I hid from others. Due to many circumstances beyond my control, I did not have the opportunity to get braces for a long time. Furthermore, I assumed I would never be able to afford it. However, my dentist was persistent in broaching the subject each time I went in for a cleaning. He was most assured that the orthodontist would work with me and I would be able to do it. I'm glad he did not give up.

At 33 years old, I finally took the plunge and went for a consultation with the orthodontist my dentist recommended. I explained to him how Dr. Naglieri kept persisting that I come. His response somewhat surprised me, but has always stuck out in my mind like a neon sign lit up in a dark window. He asked me, "Are you ready to do this?"

In conclusion, whether it's a shack to revisit, an old basement we're trapped in, or the stream we seek refreshment from, are we ready to do it? Are we ready to do what needs to be done, to gain freedom and beauty? Am I ready? What is it that holds us back from flying?


  1. First of all...Dr. Naglieri is the best, love that brother! This post is echoing a theme that I'm reading in many blogs. People are looking for release and freedom...thankfully, that is found in Christ. Thanks for sharing your heart!

  2. It is comforting to know I am not alone. And yes, thankfully we know the one stream to drink from, of which there is no other.