Sunday, April 28, 2013

Awake by Sharon Lurie

© 2012 David's Harp and Pen

Mood:  Sleepy (Very, Very Sleepy)

DISCLAIMERS: This blog is based, in part, upon actual events and people. Certain actions and characters have been dramatized and fictionalized, but are inspired by true events and real people. Certain other characters, events, and names used herein are entirely fictitious. Any similarity of those fictional characters or events to the name, attributes, or background of any real person, living or dead, or to any actual events is coincidental and unintentional, so I don’t want to get any complaints from concerned parents that I am advocating the watching of scary movies as a spiritual discipline.  Are you listening, Morbid Redhead?

God speaks to me in many different ways.  Sometimes he speaks through the still small voice of the Holy Spirit.  Sometimes he speaks through his word.  Sometimes he speaks through my Christian brothers and sisters.  Occasionally, he speaks to me through my dog.  Then, there are those rare and special times when God speaks to me through a B horror movie from the 60s.

* SPOILER ALERT *  The Hypnotic Eye is about a string of beautiful women who mutilate themselves for seemingly no reason.  It is also about a man whose failure as a police detective is rivaled only by his failure as a boyfriend.

The movie, released in 1960, begins with a gorgeous blonde who walks into her kitchen to wash her hair.  However, instead of putting her hair into the kitchen sink under the faucet, she puts her hair into an open flame on her stove.  She subsequently dies from third degree burns.  Dave, the detective who arrives at the scene, talks to the woman before she dies, but she claims she was alone and merely confused the stove for the sink.  She is the 11th in a string of self-mutilations, and all the women have the same story:  they were alone at the time, and they confused something harmful for something harmless.

The next night, Dave takes his beautiful girlfriend Marcia and her beautiful friend Dodi to see Desmond, a charming and handsome hypnotist and magician performing at a local theater.  Desmond, with the help of his drop-dead gorgeous assistant, Justine, performs mostly hypnotic tricks with a little bit of magic in the mix.  For the last segment of the performance, Desmond, under the direction of Justine, picks a beautiful woman from the audience to perform the levitation trick.  Dodi had commented to Dave and Marcia how amazing it was how Desmond seemed to completely dominate his subjects.  Dave makes a smart aleck remark about Desmond being a fake, which prompts Dodi to raise her hand to volunteer for the levitation trick.  As is normal magician procedure, Desmond hypnotizes Dodi before levitating her.  After the show, Dodi begins to act strangely.  Next thing we see, poor Dodi is washing her face and hands with sulfuric acid, which burns her terribly.

The next day, Dave and Marcia visit Dodi at the hospital.  Like the other self-mutilation victims, Dodi doesn’t remember anything, nor did she feel anything while she was washing with the acid.  Marcia begins to suspect that perhaps Desmond was involved.  However, Dave scoffs at her.  Wanting to prove her theory, Marcia goes back to the theater that night and volunteers for the levitation trick.  She pretends to be hypnotized, and while pretending to be under Desmond’s spell, he whispers to her to come to his dressing room at midnight.  Marcia shares all this with Dave and Phil, Dave’s best friend and the police psychiatrist who is also trained in hypnosis.  She also tells them Desmond used a device, resembling an eye, which emitted a strange, flickering light, hidden in his hand as he tried to hypnotize her. So, the three of them decide that Desmond is up to no good and that Marcia should go back to Desmond’s dressing room and see what happens.

Marcia gets to Desmond’s dressing room, but he has a trap for her, and ends up hypnotizing her for real.  He then takes her out, while she’s in a trance, for a night on the town of dinner and dancing before taking her back to her apartment.  When they arrive, they start to make moosh-a-moosh until Justine, who had been hiding out in Marcia’s apartment, stops them.  Justine then puts Marcia completely out in hypnotic sleep.  Desmond looks at Justine and asks, “How many more?”

As Justine puts her hand on Marcia’s face, she answers, “As long as there are faces like this.”

Desmond then leaves Justine and Marcia alone, and Marcia is at Justine’s mercy.  She leads Marcia, still in a trance, to the bathroom and turns the shower on to boiling hot.  She tells Marcia to step into the “cool, cool shower,” which she almost does, until Dave shows up banging on the door, saving Marcia from a fate similar to Dodi and the other women who mutilated themselves.

Fast forward to the end of the movie.  Marcia has once again fallen into the clutches of evil Desmond and evil(er) Justine (chicks in horror flicks aren’t the brightest and are known for always getting into trouble, but in this instance, the fault clearly lies with Dave.)  There is a standoff between Dave and Phil and Desmond and Justine.  Justine leads Marcia, still in a trance, to the scaffolding above the theater stage and threatens to push Marcia to her death.  As Phil tries to talk Justine, she pulls the beautiful mask off her face to reveal that she is horribly disfigured.  It is the then audience learns that the reason she had been having Desmond hypnotize all those beautiful women and then giving them post-hypnotic suggestions to mutilate themselves was because Justine was jealous of their beauty, beauty she had lost and could never recover, and so she wouldn’t rest until she could destroy all the beauty that crossed her path.

Now, before I get to the main point of this blog, I would like to teach a little lesson to all of my male readers entitled, “How to Stay Celibate for the Rest of Your Life.”  (If any of my male readers sense this to be misandrist, I promise equal time by composing a similar lesson to my female readers in a future blog.)

1.     When going out on the town with your girlfriend and her friend, make sure you tell them their ideas are dumb.

2.     If your girlfriend has a theory about someone being a dangerous person, and you don’t believe her, by all means let her test her theory on her own without any protection.

3.     If the aforementioned possibly dangerous person is a hypnotist, and your girlfriend, while unprotected and in his clutches starts to act weird, your first assumption should be she is just a flake and cheating on you, especially if your best friend, who is trained in hypnosis, has just told you that hypnosis is real and dangerous if in the wrong hands.

4.     By all means, let your girlfriend go alone with possibly dangerous hypnotist to her apartment.

5.     After you save her from being badly scalded at the hands of the villain who, for the record, knows where your girlfriend lives and most likely has hypnotic power over her, leave her alone at her apartment for the villains to come back and finish what they started.

However, if you then decide your girlfriend is really cute, and you don’t want to be celibate for the rest of your life, after you’ve unwittingly done everything in the preceding list, save your girlfriend from the villain and certain death in dramatic fashion and at great risk to your own life, because a well-executed daring rescue covers a multitude of male-pattern cluelessness.  (I’m just joking.  No man in real life would ever be this careless.)

So finally, the spiritual lesson (first presented to me in Captivating by John and Stasi Eldredge):  we find ourselves in the pain and distress we are in because we have a powerful yet very crafty enemy.  Our enemy used to be God’s right hand and he was beautiful and dazzling by all accounts.  However, he got puffed up with pride, and was, therefore, stripped of his beauty, position, and power and cast out of Heaven.  Then, when God made man and woman in his own image and gave them authority over creation, Satan went into a frenzy.  He hated that he had lost so much, and so, like Justine, he decided if he couldn’t have those things back, no one else would get to enjoy them, either.  So he targeted the woman, the beautiful woman, the final act of creation and the image-bearer of the lovely, relational part of God, and he got into her head and planted the idea that God was holding out on her.  And he got into her head through a serpent, the most cunning, crafty, and slick of all God’s creatures, sort of like how Justine got to the women in the film through enchanting Desmond.  So what does she do?  She partakes of the only tree in the Garden of Eden forbidden by God, thinking it is an innocent piece of fruit, when in reality, she is digesting death, and mutilating her beauty, namely her innocence, eternal life, and relationship with God, her husband, and every other human she will meet.

Watching the movie, which I stumbled upon by accident, really helped drive some of this spiritual truth home and recognize how Satan still tries to rob us, and me as a woman of God in particular, of our beauty.  I needed to see a good analogy of how spiritual warfare plays out in every day life, because the only thing more confusing to me over the years than my relationship with God has been my relationship with Satan.  What I mean is that I’ve not always had a good grasp of who Satan is, how he operates, and what he wants from me.  The church I grew up in taught that Satan was the one who tempted us and made people in the Pentecostal church speak in tongues, but other than that, he was pretty much in permanent retirement.  Then the church I went to as a teenager believed that Satan was responsible for everything, and he has a demon for every occasion, like the spirit of fear, the spirit of infirmity, the spirit of talking too much, the spirit of always locking one’s keys in one’s car, etc.

1 Peter 5:8-9 says, “ Be well balanced (temperate, sober of mind), be vigilant and cautious at all times; for that enemy of yours, the devil, roams around like a lion roaring [in fierce hunger], seeking someone to seize upon and devour.  Withstand him; be firm in faith [against his onset—rooted, established, strong, immovable, and determined], knowing that the same (identical) sufferings are appointed to your brotherhood (the whole body of Christians) throughout the world.”

Matthew 26:41 says, “All of you must keep awake (give strict attention, be cautious and active) and watch and pray, that you may not come into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

Satan messes with our minds, and like the women in the movie who destroyed themselves at the command of the villains, we let him into our heads when we let our guard down, when we miss Satan because he’s wearing a handsome or clever disguise that lulls us into his confidence.  He can’t make us do anything we don’t want to do, and we are also tempted by the world and our own sinful desires.  Make no mistake, though, that his mission is clear and his tactics are underhanded, and he preys on the weak, the hurting, and the spiritually sleepy.  He looks at us and sees the Beauty of God, the reflection of his image, which he can never get back, and he wants to destroy it by any means necessary.

I suffer from chronic sleep problems, so I know very well how susceptible I am to temptation when I am not well rested physically or mentally.  Keeping vigilance over my spiritual well-being is paramount, more so when I am feeling fatigued or hurt or whatever.  I have let Satan into my head and into my heart for too long, so much so that I have lost sight of who I am and in whose image I was made.  No more.  I won’t let Satan steal from me through deception what he pridefully and willingly discarded.  From this point forward, I shall remain alert, attentive, and awake.


The End


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