The Natatorium

An emporium of oddities from around the world, complete with somewhat informative plaques that almost never match the item they are meant to be describing.

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Visions of Hell (and a glimpse of beyond...)

I was watching LotR: Return of the King a few nights ago, and as the story progressed I felt growing feelings of... something. The intensity surrounding the characters and their emotions concerning the issues of death and sacrifice suddenly meant much more to me, and as the film went on I felt the characters' state of being more accutely than I ever had before, almost more than I ever had with any film, book, or TV show. Finally, at the end, when Frodo was holding the ring over the crack of Doom, everything clicked into place. I'd always know that LotR had a deep message, and I even knew what that message was, but at that moment it really struck me, and I suddenly understood on a completely new level. The ring represents the sinful desires and temptations of the world; when we succumb to them, we become their prisoner. However, if we let go of our selfish desires, then the power of the dark lord is broken and his empire will crumble. I *knew* this, I *knew* it: we must let go in order to possess, we must fall to rise, we must die to live; but now I *feel* it, somewhere new, on a plane of knowing that I've never visited before. I feel like I've transcended something inside myself, and I have a more expansive potential for growth now; I sense somehow that I was in a small bedroom, and have suddenly unlocked a door and stepped into a huge theatre... though it is dark, I hear the shadows of echos that let me know I am surrounded on all sides by unexplored space.

It's an encouraging feeling, and I have to say that I am now much more appreciative of Tolien's genius. I am certain that this new understanding (or at least this new *beginning* of understanding) can be attributed to my grandfather's death. Recent events have made me ever more accutely aware of death, pain, the human condition, the sacrifice of God, life eternal, and the general structure of the universe.

There is a permanent lump of sorrow lodged somewhere between my nose and throat, and no matter how much I swallow it will not go down. I think I created it by biting the inside of my lip everytime I wanted to cry.

The other night I dreamed of people being held over fires in an old house. One enters through a narrow doorway and turns into the first room on the right, only to find that many of the floorboards have been ripped out and beneath them, enclosed in the foundation of the house, are leaping flames. People were hanging from the cieling over the flames, and the legs were continually blackening from the fire, but they would not be burned any higher than their waist, and they would not die. I had the sense that I was a prisoner in this place also, and could be held over the flames, but for some reason I was directed to watch over the victims instead, and sometimes give them water, and talk with them. Later I found that I could leave the house, and no one stopped me, and I realized that the burning people could be lifted from their ropes and could also leave, without anyone preventing them. I didn't understand why they were staying, why they chose to remain in such torment. I think they believed that the stern men at the doors were their jailors and would keep them from leaving, but they weren't; they just stood there, looking stern, and made no move to stop anyone. I think I tried to tell a few people this, that they could release themselves, leave, and escape, but they wouldn't... they were eternally imprisoned by their own fear.

Then the dream progressed, and at one point it was rather graphic and disgusting, so I won't share all of it, but I ended up in an arena packed with people in lots of indoor stands, but I couldn't see what we were supposed to be watching. The arena was decorated with abstract and sometimes disturbing paintings on the walls, but they were all dirty, covered in grime and sticky things. There was nothing and no one in the arena... then I wound up in it, with a morphing man, who was my escort, then my stepfather, then my intended, then my beau... and I think we were supposed to fight for the crowd. Before we could, all the people vanished, and I had suddenly pinned him... then we felt foolish and got up, and tried to clean the paintings off, but we only succeeded in getting our hands dirty, and it was disgusting...

Sweat plastered his hair to his forehead.

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