Monday, November 14, 2011

How Reading a Vampire Book Revealed to Me the Gift of Free Will – The Other Choice

(CLICK HERE for previous chapter.)

Every choice has a contender. Otherwise, there’d be no choice involved.
The more valuable or important the choice, the more pressure the contender applies.
When it comes to our hearts, arguably the most important and valuable treasure we own, we have the power to choose what we do with it. What we choose reflects our beliefs on life, eternity, and God.
Our heart’s value is so great that we are not the only ones to treasure it. Cosmic forces pursue it like Indiana Jones goes after an ancient relic.
While it seems like our heart is tugged in thousands of directions, really only two camps war for the privilege of our heart’s loyalties and affections. Let’s call those camps Light and Dark.
Bella experiences this war in the battle between Edward and Jacob to win her heart. From the beginning of the series, Edward has represented Light and Jacob Darkness. They both claim being in love with Bella, and we believe them both. But she can’t have them both in the same capacity. She avoids choosing by categorizing them. She loves Jacob, but not that way, even though she believes she can’t live without him. Problem is, he wants more than friendship.

In the first two books, Jacob is the sweetheart, the best friend who helps hold Bella together when her Love seemingly abandons her. Opposite of Edward, he presents an attractive alternative as guardian of her heart. The problem arises when Bella’s Free Will swings from almost choosing him to going back to choosing Edward.
Just like Jacob’s inner werewolf is revealed physically, his true colors are revealed in response to his disappointment – he lashes out, for starters tattling on her to Charlie about their motorcycle riding, which gets her in trouble. It’s a small, somewhat insignificant action with titanic implications.
Those implications? The true nature of Jacob’s ‘love.’ While in her Choosing Fields, Bella can’t see that what Jacob wants is selfish, openly hostile to her true Love, and in conflict with the choices she’s already made via Free Will.

At the beginning of Eclipse, Jacob is done playing nice. He’s determined to fight for Bella’s heart. On the surface, a noble intention drawing many votes his way when we’re picking Teams. But it’s the way he goes about fighting that proves his feelings suspect.
Jacob demonstrates a selfish attitude in his pursuit of Bella. In chapter four, Jacob riles her with questions about why and how she could love a ‘monster.’ Bella defends her choice, but a seed of doubt and discontent is sown. Conversations between Jacob and Bella turn argumentative because in order to elevate himself, he reminds her of the pain Edward caused by his absence. In fact, in chapter fifteen, Jacob claims he has a right to contend for her heart because of the place she allowed him to have while Edward was gone. This absolutely strikes a guilty chord with Bella because she feels like she owes Jacob. His capitalizing on that point is the definition of selfishness.
Several instances of Jacob acting hostile, disrespectful and aggressive toward Edward keep the edgy conflict going throughout the story. When Edward agrees to Bella visiting Jacob for the day (he’s worried because of his belief werewolves are uncontrollably dangerous and therefore a threat to his beloved), he gives her an affectionate yet appropriate kiss before she walks across the invisible boundary to Jacob’s reservation. When Jacob greets her, he sweeps her up into a monstrous and inappropriate bear hug with the expressed intent of ticking Edward off. Bella doesn’t even like it. But he’s gloating because he perceives it as winning a battle in the overall war.
Perhaps the most unloving thing Jacob does, however, even as he tries to prove that he loves Bella, is overstep the boundaries of Free Will.
It’s pretty bad when your supposed best friend wishes you were dead as an alternative to you following through on a decision you made. Jacob does this to Bella in chapter eight. Implying she should feel guilty over a choice she’s made impedes Free Will.
After Jacob admits to loving Bella and wanting her to pick him instead of Edward, he kisses her… against her will. His delusional display of grandeur shows his desperation to force Bella to see things from his perspective, to agree with him, to change her choice to reward him with the rights to her heart.

The beautiful part about that scene to me is that when Edward dropped Bella off to see Jacob before this conversation, he knew what Jacob was going to say/do because he read his mind. His loving act to let her go face that scene with her Free Will in tact speaks volumes of how unselfish he is and how much he values her. His reaction when she comes home with a broken hand (because she punches Jacob for kissing her, but since he’s supernaturally ripped her bones had no chance of winning) is equally beautiful. He insists that if Jacob ever has the notion to kiss her again, he’d better ask first. He didn’t throw some testosterone-driven hissy-fit about Jacob infiltrating his territory or messing with his girl. No, his first and major concern was that Bella’s Free Will right to choose remained supreme. Jacob’s taking it away caused pain and injury too, which Edward could not tolerate.
But we’re not talking about Edward yet. I could go on and on, though I won’t. The time has come to get to the point!
The Bible warns us that Satan desires your heart so much that he is like a prowling lion. Prowling gives the idea that the lion is hunting, stalking something with the intent to claim it by force as its own. Like a lion camouflaged in the wild, we don’t see this threat right away. Danger can come in some pretty attractive forms, luring us into a friendship and mounting debts we can’t pay. The nice guy façade soon morphs into a dangerous beast without warning, especially if we contemplate choosing the Light, our Perfect Lover Jesus Christ. Suddenly, our ‘friend’ is easily angered, unrepentant, selfish and manipulative. He employs guilt trips, distractions, and ultimatums – all attempts to arrest our Free Will to keep our hearts from choosing the Perfect Lover. He even wishes we were dead rather than choose anyone else but him, especially if we want the Perfect Lover instead.
The Bible also describes Jesus as a lion, the Lion of Judah. This is a different kind of lion, though. Instead of hunting our hearts, he extends an invitation to us (we’re described as lambs) to lay down with him. For a lamb to accept such a thing from a lion requires trust, faith, and an active choice – all exercises of Free Will.
Which lion would you rather?
The ultimate basis for a choice such as this does not depend on our own capacity for choosing, however. It depends on the trustworthiness of the Lion. When it comes right down to it, the Lion’s all we need to know.
We’ll talk about that Wednesday, the last post before the movie review!!!! Breaking Dawn opens this Friday! Wahoo! Got your tix?
Have a great Monday! Be blessed, Dry Ground friends!
For the next chapter, The Perfect Lover, CLICK HERE.
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