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June 2008

Saving Tinkerbell

Do you remember the story of Peter Pan?

The little fairy Tinkerbell drinks the poison intended for Peter and her light begins to dim and fade as certain death approaches.  But, why is she dying?  It’s not because she drank poison, oh no, it’s because not enough of us believed in fairies.

Peter implores the audience to show their belief in fairies by clapping and as the live audience is worked into a frenzy, Tinkerbell is miraculously revived and averts certain death.  We just needed to believe in fairies hard enough.

I’ve seen a lot of people in business over the years trying to save Tinkerbell.  I’ve done it myself.  Made a dumb decision, or two… OK, or three, and then believed that in spite of my own bad judgment I could somehow revive Tinkerbell if I just believed hard enough.

I consider myself a person of faith, but there are times if you drink the poison you die.  You can’t always believe yourself out of bad decisions.  Sometimes you just have to drink the antidote, which is usually a good dose of humility followed with a generous serving of taking responsibility for your choices.  And as you slowly climb out of the hole you dug for yourself, you begin to see that all the wildly clapping audiences in the world cannot really save Tinkerbell.  Peter Pan lied to us.

But we believed it because it was more comfortable than admitting we were wrong.  Then there was Jiminy Cricket who sang about wishing upon a star and your dreams would come true.  It seems that a lot of his disciples are regulars down at the Creek Nation Casino.

And who could forget Old Yeller.  A noble and faithful dog, he casts himself into mortal danger to shield his young master.  But, the bites lead to rabies and the young boy does the humane thing for his canine friend, he puts him down with a rifle shot to the head.  Man I cried when Old Yeller died.  I just knew he wasn’t really dead.  Maybe if we just clapped wildly and believed in dogs hard enough.  It just wasn’t fair.

Decisions have consequences.  Faith will help us through the process of facing those consequences, but the way of escape is through the consequences, not around them.  Life isn’t going to give you or me a pass.  We’re not that special.

As a teenage lad I was grumbling one day to my dad about how hard life was.  A man of few words, he never looked up from the big wheel bearing he was packing with heavy grease, but just said, “It’s supposed to be hard.”

Hmmm. Come to think of it, I don’t remember Dad clapping for Tinkerbell.