Wednesday, February 20, 2008
The Komodo dragons bit each of us.
The Komodo dragons bit each of us.
My favorite definition of creativity, the one I tell all my advertising clients, is pretty simple:
Creativity is a wild mind and a disciplined eye.
That is, creativity is the ability to fill your mind with thousands of seemingly unrelated ideas and then with the discipline of your eye, see the relationships that exist between them in a way no one ever has.
That’s a fun challenge, and one I am going to attempt to accomplish right now as I tell you about komodo dragons and temptation.
The only reason I have komodo dragons on the brain is that I recently saw a National Geographic clip about them on youtube. The clip focused on the way that the slow moving Komodo dragon is able to take down large prey.
In the short segment, a seemingly unaware water buffalo ate some grass while a komodo dragon approached. If you’ve ever seen the video where the water buffalo attack the lions, then you know that the approach of an overgrown iguana did not scare the buffalo in question. He just kept eating away, allowing the dragon to get closer and closer. Finally, with one short, not that spectacular burst of speed, the dragon leaped up and bit the buffalo in the leg.
The wound wasn’t that serious and the buffalo kind of sauntered away after shaking it off with a look on his face that said, “Really, that’s it? That’s all you got? They should call you komodo lizard, not komodo dragon.”
But then the narrator spoke up. You see, the Komodo dragon doesn’t have a lot of weapons at its disposal. It’s not fast, all that strong and it doesn’t have impressive teeth or claws. But, it is highly toxic in a way. It’s not poisonous, but a komodo dragon’s mouth is like the Ibiza of bacteria. I mean bacteria get in there and really party it up. Scientists have found up to 50 different strains of bacteria in their teeth. Ask Sharon Stone’s ex husband. She gave him a special tour of a komodo exhibit at the zoo for his birthday. One bit him on the foot and he had to have surgery. Happy Birthday!
So what happened to the water buffalo? A few days later, after laughing off that bite, he felt a little tired and laid down. Then he couldn’t get back up. And the wound got infested and suddenly there were four or five komodo dragons appearing from the shadows and cue Boys II Men, “It’s so hard to say goodbye to yesterday.”
I think temptation works the same way. I think that when something impacts us, when we get bitten, whether it is a big bite that shakes our world or something small that barely nips our ankle, the foundation for bacteria is established. And when we don’t deal with it, we allow it to secretly control us, eventually convincing us to lie down and give up on what we should really be doing.
I saw that the other day on a show about body image. A woman in her forties cried when she told the host that when she was 6 she had fallen on her neighbor’s sidewalk. The neighbor, seeing that she was a chubby little girl, said to her, “Go get your mom, you just broke my sidewalk.”
One sentence, one thing spoken from one stupid neighbor 30 years ago, but that bite still lingered. That woman still clung to that sentence and believed it to be true more than anything her loving husband told her or friends told her or family told her. The bacteria still told this woman that she was fat, that she was ugly, that she was damaged.
There was no hope for the water buffalo. His fate was sealed the second he felt that small bite on his leg. And maybe you feel the same way sometimes, that the things your father told you, the words your mom used, the hate a relationship painted you with, are all fatal wounds. But the truth is, that unlike that buffalo, we have a great healer. Someone that comes not in spite of our wounds, but because of our wounds.
And it’s not complicated. I’m sorry we’ve made it appear that way sometimes. At the churches you’ve been too maybe God was explained as this complex puzzle that we had to pray about and figure out and wash ourselves clean before we approached. But it’s not like that, I promise. That’s not who God is. He’s the great doctor, the author of hope, the healer of Komodo dragon wounds.
All we have to do, the only thing I think we are all asked to do, is to admit that we’ve been bitten.
This post goes well with:
1. The Italian knife on the couch.
2. Words from a crack addict.