by Jamie Bonnema
“Let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up.”
If you know this line, then you are probably a fan of the movie The Princess Bride. As I write this article, I am thinking to myself that there is too much going on in my mind for a blog, but perhaps writing a book may be more appropriate. But I will trudge on anyway, doing my best to sum up. Spoiler alert: If you have never watched The Princess Bride, but intend to, you may want to watch it first before proceeding.
Let’s begin by relating to the storyline of this movie. A poor man named Westley, who is employed as farm help, falls in love with his employer named Buttercup, who is a beautiful woman (the most beautiful woman on earth) with no apparent wealthy status. When Buttercup realizes that she loves Westley, Westley goes away to make money so that they may marry. This is the start of a beautiful love story. It would be “inconceivable” that anything would keep them apart.
Enter pain. Buttercup gets word that Westley has been killed, and she has been forcibly taken as a bride for Prince Humperdink. Buttercup is kidnapped as part of a plan for the instigation of war, then rescued by a masked stranger. She soon discovers that her rescuer is Westley, who had never died. At this moment all seems hopeful again, until they enter the Fire swamp, to avoid Humperdink’s army, where the challenges force them to face possible death again.
This is the part in the story where I feel like I visit too often. I see the headlines. I watch the legislative processes. I read the proposed bills. I rub my eyes, wondering if it is all really happening while we are watching. And like Buttercup, the thought creeps in, “We will never survive.” The issues seem too big. They threaten the very lives of our families and children. I wonder what a person like me possibly can do to stop this huge giant in front of me should I try. I think of getting sucked into quicksand, burned by the bursts of fire, or attacked by a rodent of unusual size. While these are elements of the movie, we see the parallels of the threats and dangers in real life. And this is where I tend to pause, facing my own thoughts like Buttercup.
Just when Buttercup is out of hope, a hero takes the lead again. A brave Westley grabs her hand, and forges on, undeterred by danger should one misstep take place. Not having a shred of cowardice in his body, he willingly fights to the end for what is right and for his true love. And when Prince Humperdink catches up with them on the other side of the Fire Swamp, Westley, does not surrender to evil. In what could be his last breath, he shouts, “Death first!”
The past year has been very revealing. We have seen many issues come to the surface, take center stage, and proceed to assume the leading role and take what is not theirs to take. This is much like the actions of Prince Humperdink in the movie in his plan to obtain a wife by force, kill Buttercup’s true love, and lie about his death while ruling over his kingdom. I often feel like we were just forced into the Fire Swamp to face things we never saw coming. And just like in the swamp, we may initially walk into it with fear or without all the facts. But if we trust the Giver of Truth we also are given the courage, weapons, wit, and renewed strength to battle on, just as Westley had in each battle he faced.
The ending to the Princess Bride is a happy one. It is a story of love that never gives up, trust when hope seems lost, and fighting against evil even when evil seems to have won. We are facing huge battles right now. I encourage you to dive into understanding what those battles are and how they impact you, your family, your community, and this great country. There are ripple effects to every bad law, every mandate, every lie, and every false justification for all of those things. The opposite is true as well—there are ripple effects for every good law, every God-given freedom protected, every truth spoken, and every act of courage to stand firm and call out evil.
For those of you brave enough to fight like Westley, the story ends well. For those who choose to have hope and faith like Buttercup to “never doubt again,” the story ends well. The story also ends well for those who have changed course, become sober-minded like Inigo, or wised up like Fezzik. The good guy wins in the end, and evil is held accountable.
While this was a fun representation of what’s going on in my head, it’s a reminder that while the battle is fierce and the challenges are many, I have a responsibility to stand up to evil—not just for me, but also for those willing to have hope, have faith, and change course. We all have this responsibility.
Psalm 27:1 The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?
1 Corinthians 16:13 Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.
1 Peter 5:8-10 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong firm and steadfast.
Zechariah 8:16 These are the things that you shall do: speak the truth to one another; render in your gates judgements that are true and make for peace.
Jamie Bonnema is the PE Teacher and Athletic Director at Genesis Classical Academy. She is a married mother of four children and works part time at home with a nutrigenomics business. She loves sports, outdoor recreation, and DIY projects.