The Realization

Having vanquished the Wicked Witch, Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and the Cowardly Lion return to the Wizard to receive what they have longed for.

Emboldened by their victory, they proudly present the Witch’s broom stick to the Wizard and anticipate their reward. But instead of rewarding them, the Wizard tells them to, “Come back tomorrow.”

Shocked, heart broken, and incensed, they press the Wizard to keep his promise, but they quickly realize he’s not going to. Then Toto pulls back a curtain, to reveal the Wizard is just a man. Discouragement sets in. They have traveled so far and worked so hard. It is not the ending they had expected. It is not the ending they wanted.

Then the Wizard points out to Dorothy and her traveling companions that they already have what they’re seeking. Without realizing it, they have always had these things.

  • The Scarecrow believed he needed a brain, but all along the way he was thinking through situations and coming up with plans to help them succeed. So the Wizard gives him something to symbolize the brain he already has…a diploma.
  • The Tin Man believed he needed a heart, but all along he was was feeling all kinds of emotions…empathy, joy, fear, loyalty, and everything in between. So the Wizard gives him a token of appreciation and a reminder that the measure of a heart is not how much you love, but how much you are loved.
  • The Cowardly Lion believed he needed courage, but all along the way he acted in courageous ways…even though he was afraid. So the Wizard gives him a medal marking his acts of courage and reminding him that courage is not the absence of fear, but the act of facing of your fear.

Finally, it comes down to Dorothy. She has put all her hopes in the Wizard and his ability to show her the road out of Oz and return her home. But in the end, she realizes he can’t do that.

Then, just as she is about to lose all hope of getting home, Glenda the Good Witch of the East arrives and explains that Dorothy has always had the ability to get out of Oz and go home. How? The ruby slippers. They had been on her feet the whole time, but she was so busy with the journey she hadn’t paid attention to what she had. In an act of faith, she clicks her heels together three times and repeats, ”There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home.” And the strange world of Oz begins to fade.

There will come a time when you feel you have fought and conquered that which was most frightening to you. You will think to yourself, “Surely, when I bring this victory to my counselor, my support group, or my trusted friend, they will bring closure to this ordeal and I can put it behind me.”

Many look to their guide to give them the final piece of the puzzle, so they can step back and see the completed picture then quickly put all the pieces back in the box. But even the most skilled of counselors cannot give you the absolute closure you desire. They are just a person…not a wizard. What they can do is help you realize that despite your circumstances, you have had the brains, the heart, and the courage to make the journey all along.

This may feel anti-climactic and leave you let-down and despondent at first. But a sense of power will show up. You’ll be reminded that what you need is already within you and it will take you wherever you need to go. Is it hope? Is it motivation? Is it God? Whatever it is, you will begin to trust yourself more, and the strange world you have been traveling through will begin to fade.

If I Only Had the Courage

Before Dorothy, the Scarecrow, and the Tin Man can reach the Emerald City, they must pass through a dark, dense forest. Thick overgrowth shuts out the sunlight, and they begin to imagine the dangers lurking in the shadows. “Lions and Tigers and Bears…Oh my!” Their hearts race, their fears increases, and their steps quicken. They just want to get out of this place.

It’s here they come face to face with one of their biggest fears…a lion! Dorothy runs for cover as the would-be-thinker and the would-be-feeler scatter in panic.

But when the lion pursues her precious dog, Toto, something snaps inside of Dorothy. She can no longer watch from the side lines as this lion terrorizes what is precious to her. Dorothy steps up, faces the lion, and slaps him in the face.

At that moment, the lion crumbles. His fearsome exterior falls away and he becomes more pitiful than powerful. In that moment, the weak becomes powerful and the powerful becomes weak.

When Dorothy learns of the lion’s need, she compassionately invites him to travel with them to see if the Wizard might give him the courage he lacks. The lion accepts, and they set off arm-in-arm for the Emerald City…in search of a brain, a heart, some courage, and a way back home.

You have made the decision to walk toward a better way of life. You have realized that both your thinking and your feelings have been affected by what you have been through. You feel like you’ve been making progress.

But then things get darker and more fearful, Maybe it’s an increase in flashbacks, an increase in nightmares, or an increase in relationship difficulties. Whatever it is, your fear, anxiety, and dread begin to grow until you come face to face with your lion.

Your lion is the thing you did not want to face. It could be the memory you did not want to remember, the idea you did not want to consider, or the feeling you didn’t want to feel. Like a lion jumping out of the forrest, it sends you running for cover.

But this lion will eventually push you to realize…

  • “I’ve come this far and faced so much already. I can’t throw it away now.”
  • “If I run away, where will I go? I can’t go back to where I used to be. Too much has transpired.”
  • “I’m tired of this lion, and others like it, bullying me and the people I love.”

Something will go off inside of you and you’ll do what you didn’t think you could do. You’ll confront the lion, and it will give way. Your lion may not yield as quickly as Dorothy’s lion, but it will eventually lose its bluster and become more weak and pitiful than you imagined. In that moment, the powerful will become weak and the weak will become powerful. This act of courage is an important turning point on the road out of Oz.