Let Me Sum Up

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.

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