The Word in the Wings

The Word in the Wings  > Regina’s Journey: beauty along the way

Regina's Journey: beauty along the way

By: AUDREY HAMMITT

You’ve probably heard the expression, “It’s not the destination, it’s the journey” (Attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson.) While it is not a biblical perspective, that phrase reminded me of one of the lessons within Regina’s Journey, which is, “Work hard, but also appreciate the beauty around you.” Even the ballet’s title itself emphasizes the importance of the journey, as it is not called Regina’s Destination, although she starts her journey with a destination and goal in mind: get to the top of a mountain and find a book of wisdom.

Regina faces various challenges and new environments on her journey, and she must learn how to overcome fear and resist temptation and hopelessness. In the forests she ventures through, the trees often block the path from her view or appear ominous, making Regina feel lost and frightened. However, when a Good Wind blows, the trees part, revealing the path again. If you’ve ever been in a forest or on a wooded trail, I’m sure you can understand how easy it is to become disoriented if you lose sight of the path. On the other hand, if you are intently keeping your eyes down on the path in front of you, you don’t see the beautiful textures, colors, and light trickling through the branches above and around you. So, to have a safe yet enjoyable experience in the woods, we must find a balance between working hard to stay on the path and using our senses to take in the sights, sounds, and scents around us.

Along the way, Regina encounters several small creatures, such as frogs and bats, which teach her other lessons like not to discount the value of small things and to always be humble. These creatures also provide windows into the detailed, harmonious creativity of our Creator God. We get to be inspired by how other creations accomplish tasks as well as display glory. Looking closely at the ground, you’ll see “Ants are creatures of little strength, yet they store up their food in the summer” (Proverbs 30:25). Although they are tiny in size, ants can lift 10-50 times their body weight, and even more when working together with their colony. Further, how they follow the trail from one ant and form orderly lines puts a marching band to shame. As you raise your gaze to the skies, you’ll watch the birds gracefully soaring, building nests, and searching for food. Jesus directs his listeners to “Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” (Matthew 6:26). The songs of the birds fill our ears with melodies and remind us that activity, beauty, and life is continuing all around us. While each creature works hard with the strengths God has given them, they are not plagued by worry, as we tend to be. God knows and provides what we need and will orchestrate all things to work together for our good as we seek him (see Romans 8:28).

Although Regina embarks on her journey by herself, we are more often embarking on our own journeys in life surrounded by other people. In our day-to-day routines, jobs, errands, and responsibilities, it can be easy to trudge through with our head down, focused on ourselves and our own work. The apostle Paul encourages hard work, but he emphasizes that hard work should be done for God:

 

“Whatever task you must do, work as if your soul depends on it, as for the Lord and not for humans, since you know that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward; you serve the Lord Christ.”

Colossians 3:23-24

 

While our hard work can be done to honor God, we should not become self-centered, so as to become blind to the other people we come in contact with. There is so much beauty in each person, and we should be wary in dealings that assign a mere data point or product to them. I think that one way Regina’s practice of seeing the things around her improve her leadership skills is that it increases her empathy and appreciation for those around her, which will translate to her interactions with the villagers she rules one day. In my own life and workplaces, I’ve experienced how impactful it is to have someone check in on me as a person, not just as an employee. Being seen through eyes of compassion motivates me to extend that compassion to others I might teach in a dance studio, lead in a ministry, or simply talk to at a grocery store. As we remember that God always sees us through his grace and that he will reward our work for him, we can be inspired to work heartily and joyfully, taking in the blessings all around us.

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Scripture quotations in this post are from the New Revised Standard Version Updated Edition.

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