So for the past few weeks, longer than I originally intended, we've been talking about what I've learned from the story of Loki and Thor, as portrayed in the movie Thor. We've talked about how deeply the story touched me. We've talked about how easy it is to slip from being a good kid to a super villain. We explored the idea of Sisyphean Ambition and how it leads to the Dark Side. We've discussed how the prodigal son story has historically driven me insane. And we've discussed how the story of Loki and Thor relates to the story of the prodigal son.
And all of this has caused me to view the story of the prodigal son in a completely new light. Because whenever I thought of the prodigal's brother, whenever I thought about my own situation, all I could think was "it's unfair", and then my mind starts churning justifications, times when I've been hurt and neglected. And you know what, it's not fair. I have been hurt. I have been neglected. I have been wronged.
But churning, holding on, acting on those justifications when it can't change anything--because I can't earn equality in my family, it's a Sisyphean Ambition--that's leading me towards a path of villainy. It's leading me towards a path where I choose to go prodigal even though I know it will hurt people.
And you know, people have tried to tell me this for years. They've tried to tell me the prodigal's brother's attitude is wrong, that bitterness eats you up from the inside, and will lead to your destruction. But I felt so justified and didn't listen to them.
My justifications aren't wrong. Loki's justifications of the unfairness of his life weren't wrong. Thor has been favored over him. Brawn is valued more than brain in Asgard. He will never get to be king or equal to Thor no matter how hard he works, because he's a frost giant. He is completely 100% right.
And it doesn't matter.
No, that's not right. It's not that it doesn't matter. It's that somehow I've got to choose to be better. Because if I don't, if I don't choose to change my path, I'm going to come back in The Avengers with an alien army and try to subjugate the world.
I don't want to be a super villain.
I have to choose not to be a super villain.
This seems a simple conclusion--choosing a different path--one I should have realized a long time ago. But in Christian circles we have a saying, where things go "from your head to your heart." This idea has been in my head all my life, but it was the movie Thor that moved it into my heart.
Because my life isn't about them, my family. It's about me. Wait...that seems like a really selfish thought doesn't it? What I mean is that I can't change them. I can't make them treat me differently. But I can change me.
And it's not going to be easy. This revelation has been in my heart for a little while now and it's still been hard to enact. I've done things wrong. But that's why learning is a process, right? And God is working a process in all of us. It's rarely snap your fingers and everything is fixed.
So from now on, in dealing with my family, when something comes up and I feel my mind falling into the same old churn of justification, the same old churn where I remember all the times I've been overlooked for Thor--the prodigal, I will stop and ask myself, "What would Loki do?"
And then I'll do the opposite.
Because I may deeply empathize with Loki, but I don't want to be him. I don't want to be Thor either. I want to be me. I want to be who Loki would have been if he hadn't sneaked frost giants into Asgard and tried to destroy Jotunheim. I want to be who God wants me to be, and that's not a person who holds onto bitterness and anger.
I can't change what's happened to me. I can't change how others will treat me. But I can change who I become.
It's all about choice.