Now I understand why the Lady of Shallot in Lord Alfred Tennyson’s poem died after she turned from the rose-colored mirror through which she saw the perfect and beautiful world. She had known her whole life that if she were to stop seeing and weaving the beautiful images she saw of the world through her rose-glassed mirror that an unknown curse would come upon her. So she ignored the true world and kept weaving in her happy oblivion. Then one day Sir Lancelot came riding by on his beautiful noble steed with his strong armor, flashy shield, shiny helmet, coal black hair and dashing smile. She couldn’t stop herself. She ran to the window and looked at the world as it truly is for the first time because she had to truly see him, and not through a mirror. It was beautiful. She saw the water lily bloom and the love of her life. But the magical mirror cracked side to side and her loom broke in two. “The curse has come upon me,” she cried. She could never go back to the other world she had known because she realized it never truly existed, and of course her mirror had cracked! She left the tower for the first time in her life and gazed down toward Camelot in a strange, somber and quiet trance. She stepped into a boat and floated down the river toward Camelot. Floating down the river and singing in her song, she died.
Now, I’m not going to float down any rivers in a boat as the mythical Lady of Shallot, nor do I have any morbid dates with my Eternal Destination at this particular moment in time. But I love the poem in which the Lady of Shallot lives and the truth behind it, even though it has a most tragic ending. Unlike the Lady of Shallot, however, my story and the story of all those who know our Lord ends differently. It is a far cry from tragedy.
But so many of us live as she did, with our rose-colored glasses, not seeing the world as it is but as we want it to be. We do not see the destitute or the child prostitute on our doorstep because it would ruin the rose-world in which we live. As I’m with these girls and see the things going on, I think of how in a month I will leave them and return to my lovely parents and friends, and to my beautiful home and most blessed life. They will still be here. Years from now, I will stop and wonder whether or not they made it out.
Truly we are blessed people. We have so much opportunity at our fingertips and when we simply open our eyes to the truths of the world there is so much good we can do. But we cannot help those around us and right before our eyes if we do not look to see them. When we do see them, our world will be forever altered. It does not have to be a death or a horrible change. We cling to the promises that God has given us and do the best we can to love and obey Him and lead others to the freedom and hope we have found in Him alone.
James 1:27 “Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.”
Posted by Mary Fordham at 4:06 AM