One of my all time favorite movies is Dead Poets Society. It is actually one of the reasons I enjoy teaching so much, and gave it a try in the first place. If you’ve never seen it; shame on you. On to the point; there is a scene where Keating is trying to get Todd to open up, and tap into his inner poet. Here’s a snippet of what Todd finally comes up with:
Todd Anderson: Truth like-like a blanket that always leaves your feet cold.
John Keating: [ some of the class start to laugh] Forget them, forget them! Stay with the blanket. Tell me about that blanket!
Todd Anderson: Y-Y-You push it, stretch it, it’ll never be enough. You kick at it, beat it, it’ll never cover any of us.
I loved the image of the blanket, because most of us have had an experience like this with something that we are trying to cover ourselves in, especially blankets. Your feet’re cold, hands, back, even your ears…and no matter how you attempt to comfortably cover up, that blanket will not seem to fit. You know it’s big enough, but you can’t manipulate it into the right shape to both be warm and comfortable in how you are laying.
In Todd’s attempt at self-expression he uses this imagery in connection with the truth. To me, this connects with people and religion as well as truth. We are always attempting to make the truth fit us, because of what we want out of it, just as with the blanket. We kick at it and try to stretch it and shape it to our will, and it never seems to quite cover; when our backs get warm, we notice that a foot is sticking out, so we readjust the blanket…now our shoulders are draughty (or drafty for us Americans).
But, here’s the rest of the imagery added in by me: The blanket will fit, we know it’s big enough, do you know the easiest, pain free way to get all snug and warm and wrapped up? Ask someone for help. The two most common people I’ve sought out with the literal blanket issue are people who actually care about my well-being; my mother and my husband (and every now and again, my brother). It is such a relief, when one is really trying to get covered up, to simply ask, “Help me get my feet in here too…cover me up.” The person helping easily picks up the blanket, gives it a shake and oh so casually lays it over you so that it covers. They can do it because they are seeing the situation from a different perspective, and are standing up, thus can properly fit it, and they are in a much better position to fit it to us, without us trying to manipulate the blanket. (If they really care for you, they’ll even mummify you on request; tucking in all the corners so the blanket won’t cause problems for you in the near future.)
So, what’s the point here? Making the blanket fit is a lot easier if you ask for help. The blanket of truth is God’s domain; He made you, He made the blanket, He is the Truth. Sometimes people are struggling so hard with the truth, trying to make it do what they want it to do, it isn’t working for them, it isn’t covering what needs to be covered in their lives. If we quit struggling, and ask our Father to help, He can pick up that blanket, give it a shake and cover us properly.
So many people try to twist the idea of God into their own shape, they try to manipulate the truth to suit them, usually so they can attempt to dismiss it; it doesn’t work. When we finally realize that we don’t define God, that we don’t manipulate Him, or His truth, that He is indeed the great I AM, we should also realize that it means asking for His help in understanding ourselves, understanding Him, understanding the Truth, and fitting it to our lives so that we are covered, and warm.
Matthew 7:7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: