The Confusing Mermaid

It was past twelve, somewhat cold outside, and all together quiet in the house. Prime time for reading Hans Christian Anderson's fairy tales. I decided to work my way backward, for once, and read this curious note from Anderson himself.

"I decided to place [The Little Mermaid] among a group of tales that I had already begun. The others in this booklet are more children stories than this one, whose deeper meaning only an adult can understand; but I believe that I child will enjoy it for the story's sake only."

From what I could remember, I had never even thought of a 'deeper meaning' to the story. I just remembered one detail very clearly - that every step she took was like knives piercing through her feet. I reread the tale, then again, and again.

It got curiouser and curiouser...

The tale has so much ambiguity. Everyone knows the Disney-fied version, but the real one is quite, quite different. It has an almost ethereal feel to it.

Brief Summary: Mermaids live up to 300 years, then they become the foam on the sea. They have no immortal souls. The only way for a mermaid to have a soul is to have a human fall in love, and thus give a 'part' of his soul to her. Little mermaid saves a prince, falls in love with him, becomes human at the cost of her voice, and will have an immortal soul if - and only if - the prince falls in love with her. But the prince falls in love with someone else. And our little mermaid has the choice to either die when the sun rises or kill the prince and then live her 245 mermaid years. The sun rises upon a living prince and a resigned mermaid. But! She does not die and become foam on the sea, but she becomes a 'daughter of the air' who can earn an immortal soul by doing good deeds for 300 years.

Heh, that definitely wasn't in the Disney version.

I first thought this was all sentimental, a universalism akin to George MacDonald's writings. But that does not fit in with the rest of Anderson's writings. Remember the little girl with the red shoes? She got her feet chopped off for her vanity. Or the naughty girl? The pavement opened up for her. There's countless examples of justive and morality in Anderson's writings. Which makes The Little Mermaid even more of a puzzle. I wouldn't read into it, if Anderson hadn't written about that 'deeper meaning'. Now I'm floundering. Pun intended.

I'm curious if any of you have ideas/theories on this. In part, it could be a redemptive story, with the little mermaid spending those 300 years atoning for... well, what? Her love for the prince? Leaving her family? And then there's that curious factor that the mermaid became human because she loved the prince, not because she wanted a soul. She dances for his wedding and laughs, but all the while with 'thoughts of death in her heart.'


Psalm 46

Psalm 46

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;

Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah.

There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High.

God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early.

The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved: he uttered his voice, the earth melted.

The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.

Come, behold the works of the LORD, what desolations he hath made in the earth.

He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; he breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; he burneth the chariot in the fire.

Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.

The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.




Sunday night seems worlds away, a brief time of calm before all this turmoil. My grandma is paralyzed on her right side, and she's lost her memory. She doesn't recognize my Mom or anyone. I still haven't seen her (it's too much of a risk for her), but my sisters have. And the look on their faces tells me everything. The doctors doubt my grandma will pull through this. It all seems so surreal, too much like when my grandpa died, yet too far from reality. This can't be happening. But it is.

And they cry unto the Lord in their trouble...

Monday was filled with bits of consolation that helped me make it through the long day. Rays of sunlight. A letter from a friend, phone calls - even if I did miss them, just the thought was so encouraging. I kept house for Mom, glad of *something* to do. In a way, it seems like He has been preparing me for this, teaching me how to overcome stress and physical weakness, so that I can help my parents, especially Mom. The house was clean after a couple hours, and I made a cake and cookies, then gathered flowers for Mom. So she could come home to something drastically different from the bare hospital walls.

... and He bringeth them out of their distress.

Please pray that God will give my family the strength to get through these next few days and weeks, whatever comes, it won't be easy.

Many, many heart-felt thanks to you all for praying. We appreciate it so much =)

(Psalm 107:28)


Be Still, my soul, my soul...

I woke up to my Mom's voice. My Mom's voice, verging on the edge of tears, telling her sisters and brothers that Grandma had just had a stroke and was in ICU. As realization dawned, I wanted to close my eyes, fall back asleep, wake up, and find it was just a dream. But Mom's voice continued, she broke down crying. I could hear my sister crying also.

They are at the hospital, right now. I can barely walk, so I stayed behind with a younger brother. I feel so scared and alone. Trying to remind myself, through tears, of God's sovereignty, I know I can rest in His peace, but tears still come. If you all could pray, I would appreciate it. :)

Be still my soul; when light you cannot see
Be still, my soul; thy best, thy heavenly, Friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.


Happy. Wonderfully happy.

Michael Buble music on blast. Repeating Everything and Save the Last Dance lots and lots of times. There's a beautiful California sunset right outside, I can see it clearly through our glass doors. Brilliant purples, oranges, and blues, pure beauty. I'm dancing cha-cha and salsa with myself, laughing and remembering the last time I heard Buble and danced. In Oklahoma, for the Summer Academy, with my best friends. And suddenly I am filled with joy, pure, absolute joy.

There's only one rather incongruent fact about this whole scenario. I just had surgery. Four surgeries, actually. One on Wednesday, big deeeeep cut on my side, and then three today - one on my leg, one on my arm, and lots of needles and cauterizations on my head. But I think dancing and (light) bouncing is the perfect medication, heh. I'm not on any pain meds (per my request), so the music keeps my mind off the pain.

Mind over matter.

(Guess the quote. *smiles happily*)

I've also been immersed in some of my favorite books. Lord Peter, Schaff, Narnia, Ideas Have Consequences. Thus, I'm "drunk on words", to use that wonderful quote. It's just one of those days, one of those glorious, amazing days.

Praise God for His goodness.

Addendum: Here are some pictures from my latest photoshoot with my sisters :)


Five Quotes

Tagged by Grace Anne :)

(So it said to post five random things about myself, but that would be too boring. *grins*)

The night air, drifting through the open window, even in this city aerie, held the taste and tang of autumn.
PD James, Skull Beneath the Skin

I love that phrase, the 'taste and tang of autumn', which us Southern Californians are finally experiencing.

Only miracle is plain; it is the ordinary that groans with the unutterable weight of glory.
Father Robert Capon, Supper of the Lamb

“For there is no friend like a sister, in calm or stormy weather, to cheer one on the tedious way, to fetch one if one goes astray, to lift one if one totters down, to strengthen whilst one stands.”

Christina Rossetti, Goblin Market

As some men gaze with admiration at the colors of a tulip, or the wings of a butterfly, so I was by nature an admirer of happy human faces.
Oliver Goldsmith, Vicar of Wakefield

The books were the closest things she had to furniture, and she lived in them the way other men live in easy chairs.
Laura Hillenbrand, Seabiscuit


Meandering with Words

Hesitant as I am to post any poem of mine, I've decided posting it and (hopefully) receiving some feedback is better than having it sit drearily in my journal. I have a few more that I might post, we'll see. :)

For a Friend

Shall we gaze upon the shores of time?
Our hearts and mind aglow.
With memories of time gone by,
The waves come, passing slow.

But thoughts of future time dispel
Our happy wandering thoughts
Where shall we be? Years from now
What gifts, sorrows in Fortune's lot?

Hold my hand then, hold me close
Remind me of our hope so sure
That despite our fickle joys and woes
Our Father holds our full future.



Well, it's here at last. After three months. The diagnosis :) We found out last week. After lots and *lots* of visits to specialists (the pediatric rheumatologist... the dermatologist... the infectious disease doctor...), the diagnosis is pretty clear. Thankfully, it is not any form of arthritis nor a hidden infection. It is not Lyme disease or lupus. It's just a very, very severe case of eczema. A condition that I will have to live with for the rest of my life. Everything - the exhaustion/fatigue, joint pain, infections - stems from my eczema. Nothing is really going to change, I just have to learn to live with it.

It's been a hard week, but I think the worst is over. When the doctor told us the diagnosis, it took all of my energy not to break down crying right there. I know it's not the end of the world, but it's still a hard idea to get used to. It's hard to wake up with pain, but instead of thinking, "It'll be over soon" , I have to face the fact, "This is life."

So, that's that. I wish I could say I've been happy and content in the face of trial, but, heh, that's not the case. Like I said, it's been a rough week. I'm grateful for this new stage of life - just as I turn seventeen - and I know I'll learn even more through the upcoming trials, and that beyond all the pain, He has "plans to prosper me and not to harm me, plans to give me hope and a future." And I can rest in that =) Joy will come and so will contentment.

Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
'It is well, it is well with my soul.


  © Blogger template Shush by 2009

Back to TOP