Real Fantasy

If you know me even a little, you probably know that I very much enjoy the genre of fantasy.

It’s what put me on the road towards writing, and continues to cultivate a love for reading. When I was younger, my favorite thing to do was to go to the Bartholomew Country Library and pick out a book to read (and by book, I mean around three or four). My favorite books were written by an author named Emily Rhoda. Seriously, go look her stories up. It might be the nostalgia talking, but they remain some of my favorite stories, even in my college years. I would sit in the quiet of my room and read about strange creatures, princes, princesses, mysterious lands, and heroes that never fail to stir my heart towards bravery. Even in my young age, I knew that it wasn’t actually real. Fantasy was just pretend. Right?

Many would define the idea of fantasy as ‘something that is not real,’ but what if I told you that this definition misses a huge part of how fantasy works?

Let me explain. The world of fantasy primarily works through images. If you cannot imagine Middle Earth, then it is a very empty fantasy to experience. Tolkien uses the familiar to show us just how incredible his world is. He describes things such as deep forests, holding immortal elves; great mountains, full of rich and prosperous dwarves; and grand castles, home to the proud race of man. It’s not real, but it uses imagery to embody the emotions felt when experiencing the story Tolkien wanted to tell.

Let’s change perspectives now. There are things in your life that are simply objects, but hold an extra amount of importance within their being. Take a rose, for example. It’s a complex, beautiful, and delicate flower. When offering one to a certain person, however, that simple flower becomes something greater. It becomes a symbol of love. An image that creates a stirring in our emotions. Roses are a very real kind of fantasy. If the feelings of emotion and love did not come with the rose, then it would simple be an everyday flower, just as empty as a Middle Earth without any description.

But let’s put two and two together now. The reason Middle Earth is so magical is that mountains, forests, and castles bring in a sense of wonder from the real world. The rose gives the same emotions whether in a romance, or in real life. This is because fantasy uses the tools of the real world to do its magic, with a small hint of the unfamiliar to keep your attention.

The things we find in our favorite fantasy novels are present in everyday life. The dragons in our day just come in a very different form.

You might say: “But why doesn’t my life feel so magical then?” Well, life is full of things that simply hold an empty or negative image. When something becomes monotonous, it loses its magic, and thus loses its fantasy. Driving to work every day becomes second nature, and all of the color, emotion, and imagery is suddenly sucked out of it. It becomes an empty Middle Earth that has lost its grand landscape. Fantasy feels magical all the time (if written correctly) because it can manipulate the circumstances to allow for the magical parts of life to happen in a very quick sequence. If they can’t, then you just cut to the next scene or chapter. This is something you cannot do in life.

God has given us a creation that declares his glory, therefore allowing us to revel in a vast amount of emotion and imagery in the things around us. Fantasy simply uses this to its advantage and core, and it is far from exclusive to a genre of stories.

Don’t think of fantasy as ‘something that is not real,’ but think of it as a way to further experience the reality around you, whether in book form or not. There is a certain kind of ‘magic’ all around us, and we only need to look a little closer to experience it. Your life is filled with characters, locations, and emotional and physical conflict. It’s up to you to determine how that story will play out, to a certain extent, of course.

Fantasy does things that real life cannot. It can manipulate the emotions and images to its will and purpose. However, our stories are written by a much better author than Tolkien ever was. The heavens declare the glory of God, and fantasy is simply a gateway to continue to experience it. If we look towards fantasy as the better of the two realities, I would remind you that our eternal fate is much more wondrous, and critical, than a castle in a land ‘far far away’ could ever be.

Psalm 19: 1-3

The heavens declare the glory of God,
    and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
Day to day pours out speech,
    and night to night reveals knowledge.
There is no speech, nor are there words,
    whose voice is not heard.

Learning To Huzzah

I used to think I was a patient man.

Long ago, when I was a small child, I prided myself on waiting for things. When others would complain, I world sit still and place my hands into my lap. I would sit in silence, thinking simple thoughts to myself as the world continued to spin. But then life actually started to push and prod. I found myself with desires, wants, and passions. The would started to spin a little too slow, and I quickly found that waiting was harder than I had previously thought.

Not to be cliché , but here is a solid definition for patience.

Patience: (noun)
the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset.

I know I’m not talking about what my title is referring to; I’ll get to it later.

Listen, patience is rough stuff. Whether its waiting on your food at a restaurant or putting your life long dreams on hold. You may think its easy to wait now, but when things get bumpy, tolerance of the situation is usually the first thing to go.

There is also a definite difference between being patience and being lazy. “Accepting and tolerating” does not always involve sitting with your hands in your lap as I once thought. We often think of patience as a ‘lack of action’ but this may not always be the case. Sometimes being patient is continuing to act when you would rather not. Being patient with a person may be continuing to talk with them while they start to get on your nerves. Being patient may be continuing to do a job after it gets tedious. However, it is often holding off on an action that is the best example of patience.
Keep this Psalm in mind:

Psalm 37:7-9

Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices! Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil. For the evildoers shall be cut off, but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land.

These verses tell us that our rash anger tends towards our evil ways. If we lose our tolerance, we will not inherit the land that the Lord has prepared for us. Having this in mind has put a new endurance in my life. What am I waiting for? For the Lord to show me his inheritance! Rushing through life will only force your creator to give you a gentle nudge in the right direction so that you can keep on his path.

Yeah, I’m still not talking about the word “huzzah.”

For now, consider this verse from Jeremiah:

Jeremiah 29:11

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

The Lord wishes us to avoid the potential evil that is through our lack of tolerance, and give us his plans for welfare, future, and hope. Why do we rage and quit when things get hard if this is what is promised? No one said it would be easy, and its absolutely no fun to hurt through all the scars and bruises. But our Lord brings healing, along with the fulfillment of his great promises. How do we do that?
Here’s another verse to help:

Philippians 4:6

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

Prayer and supplication. If you’re yearning for something, tell God about it. He’s the one that desires your well-being, so let him know what you think will make you happy. However, do so with thanksgiving. If there’s something you desire, thank God for the many blessings you already have. That alone may change your perspective on what is truly important. When we consider everything we have already been given, we may be far too grateful to be angry or impatient.

Alright. You’ve been patient enough, so here’s where the huzzahing comes in. For context, here is the definition for “huzzah.”

Huzzah: (exclamation)
used to express approval or delight; hurrah

This should be our attitude to our present situation. God’s promises should have us delighted and excited, not malcontent. When we consider all that he has given us through grace, our lives should have a visible change. We can’t be impatient if we are too busy singing out praises to God. Slow down, take a deep breath, and let that breath out with a great “huzzah,” for God has given you a grand inheritance.

Pslam 68:32-35

O kingdoms of the earth, sing to God; sing praises to the Lord, Selah to him who rides in heavens, the ancient heavens; behold, he sends out his voice, his mighty voice. Ascribe power to God, whose majesty is over Israel, and whose power is in the skies. Awesome is God from his sanctuary; the God of Israel- he is the one who gives power and strength to his people. Blessed be God!