Sunday, 24 June 2012

A Tangible Picture: A Book in Motion

Lewis Wallace
Robert Ingersoll
     When the famous atheist, Robert Ingersoll, challenged Lewis Wallace to prove that Christ is the Son of God, who knew what would come of it?  Fifteen years and many adventures later, Wallace sat down to begin an epic story considered a masterpiece in Christian literature; Ben-Hur: A Tale of the ChristBen-Hur is a combination of Wallace's love for not only romance, but geography, adventure, history, betrayal, and finally, revenge.  Written and published in 1876, Wallace's novel was a dream he wanted to materialize for his readers, a book that would show them a tangible picture of Christ, the Son of God.

Charlton Heston as Ben-Hur: 1959
     The story follows Judah Ben-Hur, (a prince of the house of Hur).  Betrayed by his childhood friend, (Messala) Ben-Hur was sent to a roman galley ship.  After five years, a new passenger by the name of Quintus Arrius, (a tribunal) noticed the young man in the galley.  Considerably younger than the rest of the prisoners, there was something about the way he rowed; he rowed with drive, ambition.  Quintus conversed with Judah and found out about how he was betrayed and how he lived, hoping to be able to find his mother and sister.  When a storm broke out and everything save Judah and Quintus were swallowed   by the sea, Ben-Hur saved Quintus Arrius, and in return, Arrius adopted Judah.  Thus, the young man regained his freedom.

Judah and the Sheik Ilderim

     In time, Quintus died and left his fortune to his adopted son. Judah went to seek out an old servant, one who had been loyal to his father.  The servant, Simonedes, was found, and he (as well as his daughter Esther) were still loyal to the house of Hur.  Judah wandered to a stadium, where his enemy, Messala, was practicing for a chariot race.  Encamped nearby was the Sheik Ilderim, who made known his need for a driver in the tournament.  Ben-Hur jumped at the opportunity, secretly vowing revenge on his nemesis, while Messala vowed revenge on Ben-Hur. 

       When the great day of the chariot race came, the crowds in the 
stadium were split between who would be the ultimate victor.  In the end, Messala was badly injured from an accident with Judah's chariot, and would never walk again.  Ben-Hur, however, won the tournament as well as the satisfaction that Messala would not cause any more strife.

     Through his adventures, Ben-Hur started to notice Simonedes daughter, Esther, whom he (much later) married.  Through the development of this tale, the story of Christ is parallelled along with Ben-Hur's.  When Judah realized that Christ was not a zealot whose ultimate goal was to overthrow the Roman Empire,  he understood that this Savior not only wanted outward allegiance, but the love that comes from a pure heart.
     While Lew Wallace's timeless classic has been read and enjoyed by countless readers throughout the ages, it also makes one think.  Christ died for a reason; some do not understand why, Ben-Hur did not in the first place.  His mistake was creating (imagining) the Savior as he wanted him to be. In the end, Judah understood that no one should ever imagine Christ the way he or she want or fantasize him to be.  That is one reason the 1959 film version never showed the face of Jesus.  He is always more to us in every aspect of our lives than we realize.                

Saturday, 23 June 2012

One Gift

One job God so graciously gave me during camp was taking photos of the campers, the staff, events, games, and special moments.  Under the wonderful instruction of an excellent photographer, it was an inspiring learning experience.  My camp overview shall be posted later.  As for now, I must regenerate.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Le Update

Since at Camp, I have not been able to post on this blog.  Essentially because I am writing for the Camp blog.  Here is the link.


Monday, 11 June 2012

I Participate in a Nationwide Event

On June 9th, Saturday, 2012, I participated in an amazing, nationwide event.  Thousands of teens across America jumped out of bed at 6:00, eager to put their "best foot forward".

The event?  It was none other than the ACT.  I admit that teens were probably not as excited to test as they were to be done with testing, but altogether, they did participate in a nationwide event.

But I was probably wrong on one point: I do not think they jumped out of bed.

I (as I hope I have made clear) love writing.  Thus, I scheduled to take the essay test, which I was genuinely  anticipating.  The proctor was a near elderly man who looked like a teacher (and probably was).  However nice he may have seemed, however, did not hurry that process of reading the rules.

Do not look around while testing.
If your watch beeps you will be excused and your answers will NOT be scored.
Electronics, if found turned on, will be confiscated.  (I turned off my iPod.)
Do not even think about helping anyone.

I waited, wanting to begin, and knowing I could not until he said so.  I am not a person who becomes "bored" easily, but just sitting there was driving me to insanity land.  I thought of a solution.

"Write, Elleanna," I thought. "That might be what you need."

I scrounged in my small bag, if scrounging is possible in such a small carry-on, but found no paper.

No paper?!  I was shocked.  I always carry paper.  Like I always carry water! Which is another story.

I looked at my desk, strategically placed three feet from any other student, just as the ACT gestapo prefers, and remembered my admission ticket.  There it sat, folded neatly, sitting calmly.   Letters do sit calmly, you know, it is just we never notice them.

So I wrote:

This is the only paper I have at this moment, and they can't keep me from writing.  They can't.  It is in my blood.  It always will be.   
I am exceedingly excited to see how my writing improves after this ACT.  I can honestly not wait for that part at all.  There is nothing to describe it.  This pent up writing urge I have will come out it that 30 minute essay.
I am fresh as a daisy: I woke up at 6:00, as many of the others, but I do not think they are as excited as I am to be here, in this room, right now.
The only other activities I would rather be doing at this time would be practicing piano or writing.

What a nut! Some might think, or perhaps, say out loud.  But I am not done yet.

I had forgotten something, a procedure the proctor had yet to complete.
He straightened and pushed his large glasses up his nose.  With an eyebrow raised, (Oh! An ablative absolute! Latin makes you notice all kinds of pretty grammar) he cleared his throat.

"I will now collect your admission tickets."  His voice boomed throughout the small, freezing room, and I started.

"Delightful." I thought, sarcastically, "He is going to take away my passage!"

There was no way I was turning on my iPod to take a picture.  I seriously thought about it.  However, the tall, almost stern, scary, grandfatherly proctor ambled over and swiped the ticket off my desk.

I was embarrassed.  I sounded like the nerd that I am and I let someone know.  But I was also trying not to laugh.  An experience like that (apart from the yearning to write) would surely carry someone through five hours of sitting.

Whenever I was frustrated over a complicated math problem or a weird science graph, the passage I wrote popped into my mind and I sped on through the questions.  I could imagine that the proctor thought I was a crazed person for sure.  He probably read what I wrote, as he was friendlier later, but it was comical just thinking about what his expression was while reading my passage.

However, it was really God's grace that carried me through.  He continuously succeeds at making me laugh at myself, as well as distracting me from taking myself so seriously.  I also drew the conclusion that some parts of life, though seemingly annoying, are meant to be enjoyed.

Enjoy the ACT? With God, all things are possible.  He did not, for one moment, let me forget that when I participated in this Nationwide Event.

Friday, 8 June 2012

A Paper Post

Research:  A word that deals blows to some when it falls on the ear.  I, however, enjoy it.  Because I had excellent Professors who helped direct my writing, I was able to channel the research and create a short research paper that centred itself around one of my other passions:  Dance.
I enjoyed this project immensely, and am very glad it did not turn out with a proud, pompous air.  If it had, it would not persuade anyone, least of all young men, that ballet is worth pursuing, for more than one reason.