The Tin Man

“God never did give nothing to the Tin Man that he didn’t already have.”

-America

Do you ever feel like the Tin Man, on a quest for something you have no clue already exists inside of you? What if the heart you sought beats encased inside your hollow chest? A lifetime of searching outside of yourself would never reveal the location of the pulsation heard inside your head.

And if you found your heart, what you truly want to do with your life, how do you keep it supple when life makes tin–a hard shell forming around your desire to live for more than this world has to offer. Sometimes I wonder whether we humans are like Dorothy and her band of hopefuls. We’re trying to find our way back home to an authentic way of being that life’s trauma has virtually erased from our memories. We long for that “at home feeling” that occurs when we reconnect with our unique identity and destiny.

We see glimpses of our heart-felt home in the faces of those with kindred spirits. The light shining forth from their countenances inexplicably draws us towards something more. We read their words of hope and feel that pulsating inside once again.

As a child, I grew up enamored with The Wizard of Oz. I hid under the blanket when the Wicked Witch of the West threatened Dorothy’s journey to find her way home. I sighed when the Wizard gave the Tin Man his heart, knowing all the while he already possessed the capacity for compassion.

At times, I feel like the Tin Man. My personal identity quest drives me to search for my voice when what I have to say stirs within me, if I will just stop and listen. I, too, am susceptible to life’s tin, an unyielding hardness that forms around my inner self until all I hear is the hollow tap, tap, tap every time I try to find my feelings, thoughts, or words.

Like the Tin Man, I need a true Wizard to help me, one of kindly character, divine nature, and tempered wisdom. A spiritual guide who knows what nestles deep inside of me. Sometimes I imagine Him whispering, “Oh little girl, have you not met someone greater than the Wizard of Oz? I can show you who I’ve created you to be if you will but trust in me.”

But I live in a culture that drowns out this voice. The masses look to the youthful and naive for guidance while people’s pulsating hearts beat steady and strong within them. They gaze upon superstars just as Dorothy and her humble friends stood in awe of The Wizard’s bursts of smoke and exploding fireworks.

We tend to the purposes of others who are showy and popular and in doing so, never notice the curtain where the wizard hides. And I suspect He works it so. Only those of humble longing and intent searching will dare to venture beyond the bombastic to discover the sham.

Oh we are the Tin Man, individually and corporately, in search of the Cowardly lion’s courage as little lost girls and boys trying to find our way home. We try to define ourselves by the strengths of others we serve while in our hearts a steady beating of undiscovered purpose continues to pulsate with a thump, thump, thump.

I will never forget the day I dared to look behind the curtain of my fears. I was attending Twelve-step recovery meetings and drawing support from my sponsor after a devastating divorce. I had built my former husband into this scary person whom I obsessed. He became the smokescreen that kept me from discovering me. Then one day I had an epiphany, “JoDee, look behind the curtain and you will find the Wizard.”

In that moment, I realized that all of my worrying kept me from asking God who He made me to be. I mentally pulled back the curtain to discover I had nothing to fear. And in time, a kindly King revealed my true heart that beat within my tin chest. He showed me I had ruby slippers on my feet, those cherry red, shining shoes Dorothy tapped together to transport her back to Kansas. I clicked my heels of belief and whispered her words, “There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home.”

I received the courage needed to build a new life for my small children and me. We studied hard and pursued our schooling until new careers became more than dreams. I transformed from a scarecrow into a woman willing to face her fears. I realized that I didn’t have to wander through this Land of Oz alone.

So now when I feel lost and afraid, I remember the Tin Man. Then I dare to ask the true Wizard of Oz, “Can you show me what you’ve already placed inside my heart? Will you please bring me back to my authentic self?”

And He does…once again.

15 responses to “The Tin Man

  1. JoDee, you’ve hit it on the head, my friend. We go searching the globe for purpose only to find that it was within us all along, just waiting like some long-forgotten friend. When we wake up and realize this, it’s like you can hear that forgotten friend saying, “What took you so long?”

    • Well written, Kay. At the age of 51, I do think, “What took you so long?” But then again, at least I’m going to figure this out before I die. Thanks for joining me in this quest to return home to my God-given identity.

    • Kay, you and I can both appreciate “…searching the globe for purpose only to find that it was within us all along…” having traveled together on that international performing arts team. Well-written and worth an entire post all by itself…hint, hint 🙂

    • Shelly, I can’t thank you enough for your ongoing encouragement. I’m blushing. I’m going to pitch my book at the New York Writer’s Digest Conference before I self-publish. I’d like the experience even though I assume I’ll be publishing it myself. I’m also intrigued by the idea of learning how to format a book. Crazy, huh?

    • Thanks Slamdunk! I’m excited about the experience, although I have little clue as to how the book pitch will come across. The way I figure it is that this will be the first of many opportunities so I’d better get some practice pitching.

  2. I don’t want you to think I am strange or something ( my 39 year old step-daughter with 5 kids would beg to differ) but I really enjoy the way you write and the thought that you give your writing.

    • I don’t think you’re strange, duke. I appreciate someone’s appreciation of my writing because I do put a lot of thought into the posts. Knowing there are people who get something from them makes the effort worthwhile.

    • Rob,

      I’m so glad you enjoyed this post. I had the theme running through my mind for weeks and tried to put it into a comprehensible form. I’m relieved that it came across ok.

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