Monday, 20 August 2012

A Paper Post III: The Count and His Awakening

Warning:  Spoiler alert for those of you who read books, as this is a technical, broad summary of The Count of Monte Cristo.

Villefort stepped forward: The corpse of Madame de Villefort lay stretched across the doorway leading to the room in which Edward's little inanimate body rested.  Haggard and mournful, Villefort related the incident to Edmond.  After observing the consequences of his wrath, Edmond, alias "The Count of Monte Cristo", "became pale at this horrible sight; he felt he had passed beyond the bounds of vengeance" (Dumas, 1403).  Only when disaster fell on those he had not planned to destroy did the Count arrive at the conclusion that he was neither Providence nor God's mighty judge.

Alexander Dumas' novel is one of intricacy and obsessive revenge involving a young sailor by the name of Edmond Dantes.  Falsely accused of being a Bonapartist, he was arrested on the day of his wedding and promptly imprisoned of the infamous island prision; the Chateau d'If.  With no hope of freedom, Dantes struggled against thoughts of starvation as he endured years of loneliness in his cell.  After Dantes' escape, he uncovered a vast treasure on the small island of Monte Cristo; a treasure which a fellow prisoner (Abbe Faria) had related to him.  With the aide of this vast, newly found treasure, Monte Cristo was prepared to ruin the lives of the men who had dashed his once bright future (Yamamoto 249). Edmond passionately believed he was an "angel of God" whose job it was to deliver punishment to sinners.

Disguised as "The Count of Monte Cristo", "Abbe Busoni", and "Sinbad the Sailor", Edmond devised a complicated plan to avenge himself by associating himself with his enemies' families as well as the enemies themselves. As the "agent of providence", the Count crafted traps in which his alter egos tripped themselves up.  However, when circumstances Dantes had not planned came about, he finally understood that he was not born to play the part of God's providence.  Because of Madame Villefort's wickedness and the death of her son Edward, Monte Cristo immediately realized he was not providence.  This spiritual awakening of Dante's character yielded an unforgettable ending to a timeless story.

The Count's reconciliation confirmed that providence alone possesses the authority to judge and punish wickedness.  Bound to his pursuit, Dantes sketched his masterpiece of revenge, which caused him to be emotionally detached from every other character.  Eventually, Edmond started to live a normal life again, but only when he realized he was not in control of either fate or the lives of others.

Whenever someone has been wronged, they usually feel the need to retaliate, or in Dante's case, justify him or herself.  Although it might seem logically sound, it is not.  People do, at times, go beyond the limit of vengeance or justification, as the Count did more than once.  Monte Cristo's supreme victory never was or will be the defeat of his many enemies: Rather, it is the spiritual awakening, the realization he was not the ultimate judge, that brought him to new heights.

Dumas, Alexandre. The Count of Monte Cristo. New York: Modern Library, 1996. Print.
Yamamoto, Mitsu, Mitsu Yamamoto, and Alexandre Dumas. The Count of Monte Cristo. New York, NY: Baronet, 1992. Print

Monday, 13 August 2012


I went to battle yesterday.
The ground was dusty, the skies were gray.
I wore rubber boots of green,
My hair was back, and my pants were jeans.

No sun in the sky, no breeze in the air,
Hardly a day one would call fair.
My worn cotton work shirt felt sticky and tough,
And I climbed through a fence by a tree worn and rough.

We battled the green death, or rather, the burdock.
Splintery little bombs, the seeds stand and mock.
Upon their stalks of green, they grow tall and proud,
Weathered and scratchy, they the flowers quite overcrowd.

We went to battle yesterday, with our gloves,
Our courage, our unity, and yes, our shovels.
We went to battle, and despite the gray skies,
The dusty packed earth, the humidity and the flies.

We fought them with shovels, sometimes single-handedly,
As we carried them away we laughed quite candidly.
One dashed for my head, the cluster of evil,
Its spiky little claws seemed almost primeval.

When it burrowed its way into my hair,
I grimaced a bit, bore it and glared.
Not until the Surgeon General appeared
Was the problem fixed; and naught was feared.

Having conquered Vurduria, troops moved up the road.
We passed by a garden, where seeds were sowed.
Seeds of onion and pumpkin, potatoes and peas,
Beets, squash, even melon, as well as some beans.

"Onward, soldiers!" came the cry from ahead,
On we pushed, for battling was better than being dead.
We cut them down, and the enemy died,
No one gave them credit even though they had tried.

When the battle neared its end, the final test was made.
We ran through the field, until we reached the shade.
It was eery and strange; we were hot and sweaty,
I was hit, but we had not the time to write up a treaty.

As we ran through the field, we forgot about something.
The Vespa Vulgaris had ambushed to sting.
I retreated, wounded, feeling like a failure.
However, there was much I had learned in this adventure.

We battled the green death, put it out of commission.
As I cared for my wound, (I was now the physician),
I remembered a thought, and was quite comforted.
"He knows what I need." and fear dissipated.

Sometimes my General sends me out to the front lines
In my head I resist, His plans undermine!
It was right I was wounded, through this he showed me,
His plans are over, above mine: High and lofty.

My dreams, hopes, ambitions, plans, thoughts and musings,
Are nothing at all, but if they exist, they should be underhis.
Never undermine, as the old creation wails, ever underhis:
Always, only, ever, under His.


A poem I wrote after thinking about my yesterday.  Work is more than it is sometimes looked at to be, and it should be treated with respect, as it is an adventure that teaches you lessons.

Friday, 3 August 2012

ita qui potes cantare

So that we are able to sing.
Mark 4:35-41 That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, "Let us go over to the other side." Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, "Teacher, don't you care if we drown?"
He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, "Quiet! Be still!" Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.
He said to his disciples, "Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?"
They were terrified and asked each other, "Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!" 
(NIV 1054).  

Everyone has been through some type of conflict, no matter how old.  As I was reading different books and bible passages recently, I was inspired by the past few days of cloudy, misty, rainy, stormy weather.  In Minneapolis, Robins jar a person awake at nearly 3:00 am. Unfailingly.  Every morning.
Many people are over dramatic about the "Storms of Life".  When a person goes through a difficult time, however, they usually search for something stable to stand on.  For who wants to stand on unstable ground?

If a person were to watch a storm, it is full of awe.  The cumulonimbus storm clouds gather, and little creatures take cover in their hidden homes.  "He...says to the rain shower, 'Be a mighty downpour.' The animals take cover; they remain in their dens.  The tempest comes out from its chamber; the cold from the driving winds" (NIV 566). 

What happens after the clouds clear, after the trouble, the heartache, worry, strife?  Is it safe to go out again?  Not one desires to be crushed by trouble; making sure it is clear requires discretion, caution, wisdom.

When it is time, however, nothing can stop the living creatures from coming out from their tiny hiding places; they thrive out of their homes.  The robin hops from tree to tree, then flits to the ground.  

"The storm is over!" He sings.  

After the storm, the ground is soft, and soon, he begins to dig into the earth with his beak, searching for food.  When he has found enough and is satisfied, he flies back to his perch in order to continue his joyful melody.

"The storm is over!" He repeats, and for good reason, too.  It's only after the tumultuous weather that he can feed himself.

So God provides the storms, trouble, and heartache, if only to feed his creatures; if only to help them sing, showing them that he is really bigger than any cumulonimbus cloud in the sky.

Holy Bible: New International Version. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2005. Print.