Saturday, June 13, 2015

How does symbolism affect our lives?

When I was in college, I loved English except for when the professor asked us to look for the symbolism in the stories we read. The stories she choose didn't make sense to me. Though I did well at every part of English except that, I often failed the symbolism tests.

Several years ago I took a fiction mentoring class for three days with award-winning Christian author, DiAnn Mills. One lesson focused on symbols. I explained I hated that. She tirelessly tried to convince me of its importance. The next year I took a class from DiAnn at the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writing Conference, and I finally got it. Sorry, I was such a hardhead, DiAnn.

In my latest release, Worth Her Weight, food symbolized freedom to my main character. Of course, she learned that freedom only exists through Christ.


Tomorrow is Flag Day in America which gets me to thinking about how symbolism affects our lives. Men and women have died protecting the flag. Because we love America, we handle the flag with care by keeping it off the ground and folding it a certain way. Tomorrow, as flags unfurl across our cities, our minds will think of the United State of America. The flag doesn't become the land mass from "sea to shining sea," nor the great people that live within its boundaries, but we do fly it as a symbol of those things.
 
 
 
 
Other than God, the most important thing in my life is my marriage. The love that Charles and I share warms my heart. He's my friend, my lover, and my biggest fan. When we married, he slipped a wedding ring on my finger, and I've kept it there for 53 years. He's offered to buy me a new one, but this one means more to me than anything I might purchase today. The ring on this old, wrinkled hand of mine symbolizes the day I said "I do" commit to Charles.
 
Think about what symbols we use.
 
A cross represents our Christian faith because of Jesus' death on a cross.
 
A red rose stands for romantic love. (Take note of that, guys.)
 
For a fiftieth wedding anniversary, we give gold to indicate the golden years. (I wish.)
 
After 9/11, the workers looked at a metal beam that looked like a cross as a symbol that we would overcome.
 
Like my character, Lacey, in Worth Her WeightI used food as my God, but food, drugs, alcohol, or even sports, shopping, or fishing can't replace God.
 
I open my Bible. I don't see it in the same way as the decorative cross. The Bible doesn't symbolize God's Word, it IS God's Word.
 
How does symbolism affect your life?
 
I'd love to hear your thoughts.
 


2 comments:

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

Oh how I remember those college English classes about symbolism. Like you, I never got it. Now I understand. I see symbolism today in the cross, in the flag, and in my wedding ring. I also see symbolism in a cardinal, which I've heard is a visit from family that has passed on. I don't know if that's true or not, but when I see a cardinal it brings peace to me.

Janet K Brown said...

I agree, Beverly, cardinals are special. I think of them in connection with spring. Jonquils or tulips are symbols for spring, too. Thanks for your comment.