Not that it matters at all– But Dorothy’s slippers were NOT ruby red-
at least not in the original book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by Frank L. Baum-
nope they were Silver! But like I said, not that it matters- I think those ruby reds just REALLY looked good with Judy Garland’s lipstick!
But on to what matters,
a few months ago, I wrote about our experience on a recent road trip. You can read about it here if you’d like-
but in a nutshell, our family took a quick (but long) road trip. In an effort to return to our base roots, we decided that there would be only 30 minutes of screen allowed in each state we traveled through-
I KNOW- CRAZY RIGHT!!!!!!
Anyway, so the hubs decided we would listen to a book on tape, at which our kiddos shared drama of all manner with us as to WHY this was THE WORST idea EVAH!!! The hubs, with all the patience of ——,
okay, with NO patience at all started to give up. I gently encouraged the kids to give it 30 minutes- if they absolutely hated it- we would turn it off and move on to other road trip games! There may or may not have been a gently incentive offered, but that’s neither here nor there
So we pushed “play” and The Wonderful Wizard of OZ began!
Our kids were hooked in the first 10 minutes… it was awesome-
As we got to the end of the book, I noticed that the book had a much different plot as the movie plays out. I was mesmerized by the journey that Dorothy and her little band of faithful followers took together. We have Dorothy- a stranger in the land, torn from her family by a great Tornado- and three misfits who are down on their luck and have lost something that they desire to have back: the lion desires courage, the tin man- a heart and the scarecrow wants his brain back.
All three of these characters, we learn throughout the book, have come to their current state of lacking by some force outside of their control. When Dorothy finds each of them, they are without much hope of ever having that for which they seek. Dorothy just wants to go home- as she gathers these friends along the way, this band of distressed join her in her quest to make it to the Emerald City for a chance to see the GREAT & POWERFUL OZ, who is said to be able to grant them their hearts desires.
Because of Dorothy’s confidence in OZ’s powers, she is sure the others will have their needs met as well-
Lots and lots of pages later, and after many adventures, disappointments and dangers- the company arrive in the Emerald City. Oz hears their needs and agrees to meet them the following day. Oz confesses he is a “very bad wizard” and that he cannot keep his promises- but Dorothy’s friends determine to see him the next day and be granted their desires.
One by one and day by day, OZ welcomes them into his presence where he grants them their desires. He has no magic, no secret solution that he offers them that gives them what they desire. BUT he does give them the illusion of their request. The scarecrow’s head was filled with bran, pins and needles; he was told he had a “bran-new brain” and that he was now very ‘sharp’.
The tin man’s desire for a heart was given as OZ cut a hole in his chest plate and filled it with a silken shaped heart. “Is it a kind heart?” asked the tin man, “yes very” is OZ’s reply!
The lion, who lacked courage, was given a green elixir that could only become courage when it was swallowed and allowed to be on the inside for ‘courage always comes from within’.
As Dorothy waited and watched as her friends received that which they had all traveled long and far for, she wondered- for she recognized what the great Oz was doing and definitely what he really was NOT- great and powerful. She questioned and doubted her own journey. Though she gratefully celebrated each of her friends’ personal gifts, she wondered, now what is to become of me?? I think it is interesting to note that everything OZ, the great and powerful, had to offer was an illusion. Even the Emerald City was emerald ONLY because of the green glasses everyone wore. Dorothy had seen this, which would have made her discouragement high and hope for return to Kansas low.
This small band of friends are told to travel to the Land of the South, where they can request a visit with Glinda and seek her help in returning Dorothy to her home. As they travel this final leg of their journey, each of Dorothy’s companions are called upon to use their new found skills to combat the obstacles along the way. Through these feats of courage, determination and strength; the tin man, the lion and the scarecrow are all asked to return to the various lands as rulers over the grateful people.
Finally, they arrive and Dorothy has audience with Glinda. The power to return to Kansas has always been with Dorothy, for the ruby red (or silver) slippers hold the only power needed to set Dorothy on her way. She COULD have returned home the moment she got to Oz and became the owner of those slippers…
The powerful message of this story lies in the journey-
Not only Dorothy’s journey, but the journey of her friends and travel companions
and the journey of the Great OZ himself!
Along that yellow brick road, so many blessings are bestowed, needs are met, discoveries are found, obstacles overcome and fears destroyed. ALL of this because of the quest of one person-
and her willingness to stop and help those along the way!
I’ve thought about this a lot since that road trip. I think often of my own journey through this crazy thing called life. With every twist and turn, every up and down we simply have NO IDEA whose personal journey we are impacting. Had Dorothy accessed the magic in those slippers at any time prior to the VERY moment she met Glinda, whose future would have been drastically different? Even the act of meeting with Glinda allowed the Golden Cap to be returned to the King of the Monkeys and they could live “free for evermore”.
I love that Dorothy kept pressing forward. She didn’t let doubt, discouragement or disappointment get in her way. I love that she leaned on the strength of her travel companions and she sought the help of those who were said to have knowledge or answers. She followed her course, faced her obstacles, trusted in her direction.
And finally, as she clicked her heels together three times, she completed her journey and returned to Aunt Em.
Don’t discount your own journey. Though it may seem like you are moving slowly towards your destination, this portion of your journey may be to escort a friend through their journey. I know I’ve had many escorts along my own yellow brick road- without whom I would not have seen the courage, heart or brains that were already deep within me.