Friday, November 21, 2008

Magnum Opus--An Explanation

Thanks to all for you unique thoughts and insights into Magnum Opus. I certainly appreciate your participation. I debated with myself for several months as to whether or not to post this story. First, I wasn't certain it made sense to anyone but me. Of course, I had the inside track on what I was trying to say. Second, I didn't think it would appeal to my readers. Yet, we were still observing Veteran's Day, so I decided to toss it out there for your scrutiny. Here is my explanation. You can tell me if it carried the message I intended.

First, magnum opus is a masterpiece.

The story is about how a nail might view a hammer. However, once I started writing it, I could see so many parallels with the real world that I decided to wrap it around some historical references. Of course, 1776 could represent the US, but it's bigger than that. It could be more about what the US represents, not the fact of it. But I don’t want to lock in that one view. In total, the story is about being a small cog in the master plan. All too often, we are so close to the forest that we can't see the trees. The nail will never appreciate the hammer, nor will it ever understand that it's playing a critical roll in the larger picture. To it, the hammer is an enemy. Even in the Master's hand the nail fails to appreciate his purpose, possibly to the point of loathing his own existence, and probably fearing the Master. But without the nail, the project would never be realized. The nail never recognizes that without him, the building could not be. We always see and appreciate windows, doors, chimneys, and roofs, but we never look at the small detail of the supports and foundations that prop the exterior.

Conversely, to the hammer, everything is a nail. Every individual and article of creation has a purpose in the Kingdom, whether we appreciate our part or not.

Thanks for your attention, and I’ll post a new story next week.


Alison Bryant said...

Glad you posted these thoughts. While not one of my all-time favorites of your stories, I dolike it and especially like what you're getting across.

Since learning more about the WWII generation the last few years, this is one characteristic of theirs that touches me deeply. They have always tended to think more as a group...looking out for the good of the whole versus individual rights. Sacrifice for the greater good is often second nature. Even sociologists have noted this distinction when explaining the various generations alive today.

I agree: this has many parallels. Hmm...maybe you should teach this as a Sunday school lesson illustration...perhaps when you might be asked in the near future to sub for that amazing teacher you all have.

Avily Jerome said...

It makes a lot more sense now. And, now that I know what you were trying to get across, yes, the story definitely does that.

Ok, you've won me over. I've decided I like it.

But I still miss the happy ending... :)

Travis said...

Thanks Avily. I'm glad you're on my side! I'll try to put out something interesting next week.

I say the Posse simply doesn't ride for one little Sunday. Who'll notice?

Dave said...

Thanks for the explanation. Now if only Jesus would have done that with all of His stories. Not that I would accuse you of being unlike Jesus or anything...

I enjoyed this one, but I still think you should try comedy sometime. Speaking of which, today's word verification is mousedit.

Amy Deardon said...

Great story! The explanation makes things clearer -- maybe you could incorporate this somehow? Gripping metaphor -- it's difficult to be the nail...