There are so many wonderful elements to this movie. Dorothy our heroine is a feisty girl who won’t give up on her dream of returning home to her family. She crashes into a strange land where people keep calling her brave and a hero.
Her companions, the Lion who is searching for courage, the Tin Man who needs a heart, The Scarecrow who wants a brain all set out with the tenacious little dog Toto against all odds to find the Wizard in Emerald City who is reputed to be able to grant all their wishes and give them their happy ever after.
Of course, there is the accidental death of Wicked Witch of the East when Dorothy’s house lands on her and this brings the wrath of the Wicked Witch of the West down on their heads. And lets not forget Glinda the Good Witch of the South who is loving and kind but limited in the scope of help she can provide to our group of travelers. Or is she? Who is Glinda anyway?
This year, The Wizard of Oz has taken on a whole new meaning for me as I enter into the fourth year of my cancer journey.
I have been walking this yellow brick road towards the Emerald City desperately looking for the Wizard of Oz while dodging the Wicked Witch of the West.
And have I mentioned those dang flying monkeys??? They keep flying about in a threatening manner.
As I traverse the brick road of cancer I have sought help from Wizards far and wide and each new set of treatments have given me hope. You see, the road to Oz is seemingly paved with hope. Hope is the yellow paint on those bricks. And hope is a good thing to have in this life until it may be time to transfer that hope into a new hope for the next adventure beyond this life.
Along the way I have walked with my companions who are also searching for things in their lives that they hope the Wizard can give them. The courage to seek jobs with better money for their families, the wisdom to find a miracle cure for their terminal disease, the love in their heart to either stay in a relationship, or wisely love someone enough to let them go.
I have been thinking that we are all winding our way down our own personal yellow brick roads searching for answers that only Wizards can bring.
Recently I reached the Emerald City. I don’t think it was “THE” Emerald City but it was “AN” Emerald City and I found a Wizard. In fact, I had been working with this Wizard for over two years beating back the cancer with surgery, chemo and other treatments and I thought that this Wizard was truly great and powerful.
Until that tenacious little dog Toto pulled back the curtain and I saw that my Great and Powerful Wizard was just a man. A man doing his best to help me fight an under researched, under funded, and poorly understood cancer. This Wizard had a magic scalpel and years of experience but I knew after the curtain revealed him, that it was time to hit the yellow bricks again and find myself another Wizard for the next leg of my journey.
And so I walked and walked with my fingers on google and google scholar, my eyes and mind bleary with information overload as I researched into the early morning hours for days upon end. Until I reached the door of the next Emerald City and they let me in.
And yes, I was attacked by those damn flying monkeys along the way. One even tried to steal my Toto but I held strong.
I saw the Witch flying in the sky above me, taunting me with shouts from her broom in the sky. Saying, “your time is running out Traycie! Do you really think you are gonna beat this cancer again and live past the 5 year survival benchmark?” (Insert horrible cackling laughter here)
But I stayed strong on the path because I witnessed other Dorothy’s like me. I witnessed Lions being courageous, Scarecrows being wise and using their discernment, and Tin People (its a gender fluid world we love in now thank goodness) using their loving hearts to craft and experience their best lives with what the Universe has given them.
I kept my Ruby slippers firmly on my feet and Toto clutched close to my chest as I entered into where I hope is the “Emerald City” for me.
I met another Wizard there. This time I demanded that he step out from behind his curtain and take a seat in front of me. This Wizard practices his magic in my own backyard of San Diego and he is younger than my previous Wizard. He sat with me and took my hand, looking me straight in the eye as we discussed my dwindling options for treatment this time around. But the hope is alive because I do still have options. Immunotherapy and a PARP inhibitor with possible radiation will be my next treatment cocktail and I demanded a paper umbrella and some cut up pineapple for the rim of this cocktail.
The Wizard smiled. He laughed. This Wizard gets my dry wit and I finally exhale in that exam room for the first time in weeks.
He looked down at my ruby slippers, petted my Toto on the head and said to me, “Traycie, you have been walking so far and for so long now on that yellow brick road of hope. I know its hard when you realize that Wizards are human too and that there is no magic pill. Our magic is hope, emerging scientific research, and luck.”
I looked around for Glinda to come down in her bubble to tell me that I just need to click my heels and the nightmare will end and I can go back to Kansas and my old life but she wasn’t appearing that day or in any days that have followed since.
So I’m back out on that long and winding yellow brick road again. Dodging the Wicked Witch of the West and praying for no flying monkeys on my path.
Halloween is over for this year and my hope is that next year I will be still on the path of hope. Next year I will search harder to find The Wizard of Oz playing on my TV and sit down and watch it happily with popcorn in hand. I still have so many lessons to learn from this fabulous film layered with symbolism and meaning. I still have so much life to live.
Stay on the path my dear friends. It is not always easy but if you pay attention the yellow paint of hope is there to guide you along the way. We are all Wizards in our ways. We have talents and gifts to share.
Oh, by the way, my son who is a “Wizard” of cable television has now showed me the on demand feature of our cable remote control that uses the technology of voice command. Now that’s magic!!!!
Peace be with You,