I had a few follow-on thoughts relating to the previous blog. (This will make far more sense if you read #8 first.) I was thinking that Kai, the boy that gets a piece of the trolls’ distorting mirror into his heart, is brought back to himself through Gerda’s tears. But, even more fundamentally, Kai is brought back through Gerda’s unwavering pursuit of him.
Since we are now still in the High Holidays period (Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, and Shemini Atzeret/Simchat Torah), my thoughts naturally gravitate toward spirituality. So I thought of the Snow Queen story as a kind of analogy, with God being Gerda, Kai being us, and the trolls essentially playing themselves (the devilish things that distort our view of the world and deaden our heart). In fact, I could go one step further and see Gerda as God’s feminine presence with us - also known as the Shechinah.
In any case, the key takeaway from this would be that God pursues us. No matter how far we have gone from our true heart, God stops at nothing to reach us. It also seems to imply that God might cry in some sense, because He misses us so much and wants so very much to be with us again with a full heart of love. I am not aware of many traditional references to God crying (if anybody knows of any, I'd love to hear...), but there are many references to Him suffering with us as we have been dispersed from our natural home with Him. And there are references to the Altar crying, and to an angel crying, and to Rachael’s spirit crying for her displaced children. Also there is a reference to God being close to the brokenhearted and that He wants us to love Him with all our heart. So I am inclined to believe that, in some sense He (or perhaps I should say “She” since this is the feminine presence) cries. (And no, it is not important to this understanding if the tears are in any way what we could recognize as physical tears).
So, if this is true, how come there are so many instances of God being portrayed as angry at us or as a King judging us? What happened to the tenderness, the kindness, the love?
For myself, I saw a potential answer to this question in the final scenes in the story of Joseph and his brothers (in Genesis). Before Joseph reveals to his brothers his real identity, he appears to them as an angry, tough, capricious ruler who is being seemingly arbitrary and unreasonable with them. In reality, Joseph is trying to help them see for themselves where they have gone astray in their thinking (thinking which led, among other things, to their selling Joseph into slavery and almost killing him). There are some signs that Joseph’s plan is working and they are re-examining their actions, but it is very very difficult for Joseph to do this because he loves them and doesn’t want to see them hurting. It is so difficult for Joseph that twice he needs to remove himself from his brothers because he cannot hold back his tears. He composes himself these two times but, after some more progress is made in the brothers’ self-realization, he then breaks down with open tears, revealed himself and kissed all his brothers with great love.
This, to me, is also an analogy for how God interacts with us. The tough ruler, the Judge, the King – the decidedly masculine side - does what He does only for our benefit, to allow us to reflect, to learn, to grow, to look inside and discover for ourselves where we went off track and find our own way back. This is done this way because this is the way in which we will benefit the most and have the greatest opportunity to find our own goodness. But as the King judges, the Shechinah cries, and suffers. She wants to reveal the true love at the core right now for all to see, just as Joseph wanted to reveal himself. But She knows that by waiting, we will come to understand more on our own and then, with that wisdom, we will be in a better position to truly know ourselves and then be able to help and be kind to others. And that may just be the greatest gift we can receive – the ability to help others.
I know I have not answered here the age-old question of how a loving, omnipotent God can cause, or even allow, horrendous things to happen. But I am just sharing my thoughts with you because you are my valued friends - and maybe some of it will be of value to you in some way. Or maybe you'll share some of your thoughts that will be of value to me.