My youngest and I went to a movie together. The Croods were showing at the cheap seats and I confess I wasn’t all that excited about watching a movie about a prehistoric family, after all, who could beat The Flinstones? But in the first two minutes I knew I’d have something to write about.
This family had its typical relational difficulties but I was more interested in the journey of the family unit.
The opening sequence let us know that The Croods lived a lonely and dull existence because all their neighbors had been killed off by mammoths, snakes or… duh, duh, duh, dun…the common cold. They alone survived because their Dad, a.k.a. Grug the fierce protector, kept them in a cave only leaving the dark to hunt.
As one would expect, the teenage daughter Ebe, fights the constraints of their life and sneaks off frequently, seeking the joy of the sunlight. One night she leaves the protection of the cave and her family to follow a mysterious light. The little sunlight she discovers, is a torch held by Guy.
Guy’s life brings conflict to the family… not only does he predict the end of the world but also tells them they need to leave their cave to survive. Guy is full of adventure, creativity, innovation and fun – Ebe likes him, Grug does not.
Dad fights against the change and Ebe challenges him.
Ebe pleads,“Dad we have to leave the cave”
Grug replies, “We are safe in the cave”
“We are safe because we are afraid” Ebe ends with a frustrated grunt.
And Grug replies with finality
“Fear is what keeps us alive”
Grug is so convincing in his argument, the entire family is fearful of anything new, whether it is trying new hunting tactics or solving a problem differently. Innovation and creativity have also become dangerous because they will lead you away from the cave and put you in danger.
I have lived for years in a cave of fear. Men were not safe. I still marvel that I am happily married for 15 years now. But then again, God knows how and when to send a boy holding a bright light.
God allowed me seventeen years to find my way out of darkness into the fullness of light, laughter, creativity and freedom alongside of my husband. And now he is challenging me to step out of the darkness of isolation from men in general.
I’m not talking romance here, I’m talking about the intended collaboration between men and women in ministry and business.
Together we are better – God said so.
But that really scares me.
My head trusts the men that God is calling me into collaboration with. But even though I can convince my heart of their moral safety I am fearful of what others will say. Will I have to endure the questioning glances of my motives? Will I have to refute insinuations that I am not walking in the protection of my husband because I am collaborating with other men? Will I see my friendships with their wives fall away because of any misspoken word? …Because my quick wit and sass have gotten interpreted as flirting in my past? God, I can’t endure anymore false accusations against my heart…
Like Grug I just want to stay in the cave…
The climax of Grug and Ebe’s conflict arrives with my own struggle.
Grug yells at Ebe, “Fear and rules kept us alive”
Ebe’s quick retort is
“That wasn’t living…
That was not dying”
I WANT TO LIVE. I WANT TO LIVE IN FREEDOM FROM MY FEARS.
In the end, Grug sacrificially tosses everyone else across the chasm between their certain death and the light of the sun. This great protective father does what dads are supposed to do. He sacrifices himself for everyone else. Then he went and hid in a cave.
In his own isolation he figures out that he too can create fire and light a torch, his first flicker of innovation. He begins to wait for the end, until he hears his family blow their horns indicating they are in danger.
In desperation innovation and creativity are pulled out of him. He rigs up a “plane” to fly him over the great divide and almost dies because his now compassionate heart pours out of him for the animals that would be left to destruction unless he saves them.
He makes it… along with all the new family pets. And he discovers why he needed to leave the cave…
“The point of all this is to follow the sun”
Yes! I will follow the Son out of my cave of rules and fear and into the light of His freedom.
I will move from Not Dying to LIVING.
As a note of pre-emptive thanks:
Thank you to my husband who has loved me inspite of my fears.
And thank you to Fred, John, Nathan, Scott and Shawn. The men willing to coach and walk beside a fearful woman into her freedom.
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