Friday, February 12, 2010

Thoughts on Lawrence of Arabia

~ Icon from "Lawrence of Arabia" by me.

As Lawrence sets out across the desert with Daoud and Faraj.
Auda abu Tayi: You will cross Sinai?
T.E. Lawrence: Moses did!
Auda abu Tayi: And you will take the children?
T.E. Lawrence: Moses did!

What do you do when you come to the end of your rope? You either allow yourself to fall or you start pulling yourself up one painful handhold at a time. In the world of T.E. Lawrence, he reached the end of his rope. And he simply wanted to fall. An arrogance proceeded Lawrence throughout his tour in Arabia. He believed he could do anything and emerge unscathed. At least, until he was captured by the Turks. Than he found he was just a man and like any other man could be harmed, even killed. Lawrence found himself dangling on the end of that rope.

It's not a pleasant thing to face mortality head-on. The young are especially gifted with thinking themselves immortal. I'll never die so I will ride motorcycles as fast as I can. I'll experiment with drugs, alcohol, and other vices because they can't hurt me. I'm young and infallible.

If only this were the truth.

But it's not the truth.

Lawrence was a remarkable man with many feats of bravery to his name along with many acts of foolishness. How often are we like T.E. Lawrence? We enter a situation, fully confident in ourselves and needing no outside help. Only to find that the outside help might just be the thing that saves us.

I never want to reach the end of my rope and actually consider falling. Lawrence was placed in a situation so heinous that he found no other way. The fall didn't kill him, not yet, but that act of mentally giving up certainly left its mark on him. There will never be a time black enough to make giving up an option. It can be so hard to pull yourself up, but once you've done those first few pulls toward freedom, there are always hand to help you the rest of the way. They may be human hands, but more likely, they are the hands of a Savior.

Watching "Lawrence of Arabia" was a remarkable event for me. It opened my eyes, not only to an amazing cinematographic achievement, but to the weaknesses found in everyone. Lawrence's adventures might have been singular, but his struggles, his failings, and his choices were not. In a way, I am T.E. Lawrence. It is for me to decide whether to give up living because of bad circumstances, or to fight my way through to the end. It may seem foolish, but I wish I had been there to help the real Lawrence fight through his struggles and emerge the victor. I wish I'd been there, to comfort, and listen, and understand. Everyone needs a comforter. Mine is found in both close friends and in my Savior. Lawrence really had no one. And that's the shame of it.

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