Deep meaning in The Shack (spoiler alert)

My husband and I went to the movies the other night to see the Shack. We of course read the book prior to seeing the movie but it was still quite amazing. The story line is about a man who takes his kids on a camping adventure for the weekend and his daughter gets abducted while he attempts to save his other child from drowning. We find out shortly thereafter that she was murdered. The entire movie is about how this man learns to cope and forgive what happened. 

The man played by Sam Worthington is full of despair with the loss of his young daughter and is terribly angry with the situation. He and his daughter are both having difficulty coping. His family is of a Christian faith and are full believers where he is slightly skeptical. He is snow blowing his driveway one afternoon while alone at the house and he receives a letter requesting his presence at the shack where his daughters bloody clothes were found and it is signed Papa (which is his wife’s name for God).  He talks to the priest of his church about what he should do as he was not sure who left the letter as it could have been the killer for all he knew. He decides to go on this journey to the shack. Upon arrival to the woods there is a young man who knows his name,  but is unfamiliar to him. He advises that he is Jesus and they are so delighted that he chose to accept their invitation. He goes into the shack and instead of being run down and falling apart like he remembers it- It is beautiful and warm- no longer winter. God and the Holy Spirit are waiting. God is in the form of a heavy set African American woman and the Holy Spirit appears to be a Native American woman both beautiful. 

She invites the man Sam Worthington in and lets him know they are there to help him heal his wounds. At one point the Holy Spirit invites him into the garden to help her with a task. He enters the garden and he says how wild and messy it is. She explained that it was him. His mind. They enter and she wants to remove this tree that although beautiful is damaging the plants around it. They eventually remove this tree and leave the place empty for the time being. They leave the garden and he ventures off with God to explore Wisdom and Forgiveness. Wisdom shows him why it is that God is a loving and compassionate God, not vengeful or karmic. She explains how God has given every human being a choice and this can (not always) invite evil into our lives. This God loves all humans like they are all his/her children. The man discusses with wisdom how he wants the murderer of his daughter to suffer and be punished for what he did but wisdom explains that it is like him choosing between his children which one he would send to hell. One goes to heaven the other to hell. He unable to make that difficult decision understands why God is not punishing or vengeful it simply happens and God can not intervene because he does not love one more than another even if one makes evil decisions. 

With that new found wisdom he then transitions toward forgiveness. It is a hard thing to be faced with forgiveness. Especially in this circumstance where a man murdered his daughter who was innocent and sweet. God explains that you do not have to be best friends when you forgive someone. It simply means you are no longer torturing yourself. It also does not happen right away. You might have to continuously repeat I forgive you until one day you no longer harbour all of that resentment towards yourself and who you perceive as responsible. With that they return to the garden with his daughters body (which was never found) and they plant her and a new plant that blossoms and radiates beauty. In this way that have removed the thought in his mind that was infecting or damaging other thoughts due to the focus that was placed on that plant. That plant was being nourished while the others were dying and they needed to plant a new thought in order to heal. 

God then states that the man can stay or he can return to his family. He chooses to return and wakes up in a hospital bed. He did not realize that on the way to the shack he was involved in a very serious accident. He then in turn helps his daughter heal and cope with what happened to her younger sister. 

It was an amazing story about love healing and forgiveness. And though I never considered myself a religious person, I have always considered myself spiritual. Even if you don’t necessarily believe in God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit it is still an amazing story on how to heal some deep difficult wounds and move forward in your life. I would recommend it to anyone looking for an awakening of the soul. 

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