I have further Lorax ponderings. How could I not? The movie moved me… on so many levels. I just have to talk about the Once-ler once more. Because the Once-ler is me! That Once-ler is probably so many of us. And what did he do? Well, he left his home full of ambition. He had a plan and wanted to be successful. So he set off and came across something he wanted. And that’s where it began… with a want. The Truffula Trees were beautiful, and would do just fine for what he wanted to do. Now the movie and the book are slightly different, so I’ll be meshing the two. In the movie, the Once-ler sings a song to the inhabitants and actually tells them he’s going to cut down a tree. And then, why, the inhabitants of the land began singing the same tune. They all sang together. Just as it is today. If someone hears something enough times, it doesn’t seem so bad. Eventually, we all begin to sing the same song.
And so, the Once-ler started with just one. Immediately after that first tree fell, the Lorax made his appearance. “I am the Lorax. I speak for the trees.” And he was upset. Now, please don’t think I’m being irreverent here, but in the story, I see the Lorax as God. The Once-ler did something wrong, and the Lorax (God) made an appearance. He spoke to the Once-ler and told him to stop. But the Once-ler didn’t listen and continued to do what he wanted to do. And like us today, he argued. “I am doing no harm.” See, today we might say, “It’s my body, my right. I am only affecting myself.” The Lorax then said, “You are crazy with greed.” And that is the crux of the matter. Greed. Selfishness. What motivates us? Well… usually it’s self. We have a want (or we do not want) so we “take care of it.”
Once one tree was cut, it was easier to keep cutting. And the Lorax (God) kept coming… he kept speaking for those trees. “I repeat… I speak for the trees!” But like us today, the Once-ler tuned him out, “I’m busy… Shut up if you please.” We audaciously shut out the voice of God. We become busy and if we feel a twinge of our conscience, we just ignore it. Because, “I am doing no harm.” And so, it happened. The Once-ler became very successful in a worldly way. He cut down all the trees to further his business. He made more and more money. All the while the Lorax appeared… all the while he spoke for the trees… all the while the Once-ler shut his ears. Until finally, the land was desolate. The land couldn’t provide for the animals that once played in the shade and ate of the Truffula Fruits. All life left.
The Once-ler was sad as the animals left. BUT, he got busy again. He got bigger and bigger. And the Lorax kept coming. Finally, the Once-ler got mad at the Lorax (God). He had his rights, see. He didn’t want to hear, “Bad! Bad!” What’s more, he intended to go on doing just what he did. UNTIL, that last tree fell. And then what happened? He couldn’t continue with his business. All his friends and family left him behind. And there he was… all by himself. Well, it was just him and the Lorax. This time, the Lorax had nothing more to say. He had already said it all, so he simply picked himself up and flew up to the heavens. That’s when the Lorax left his message… “UNLESS.”
So what did the Once-ler do after the Lorax left him? Well, his world fell apart around him. He became a recluse shutting himself away from the world. He even boarded the windows. He was no use to anyone. There he sat, worrying away his years. The book says that he worried about it with all of his heart. You know what I think? I believe that Once-ler had such regret. I believe if he had the chance to do it again, he would do things differently. I think he repented of his ways. Because He pondered over that message left by the Lorax (God) with all of his heart. And he was ready when opportunity came knocking. He grabbed hold of it, and became that someone who cared an awful lot. He fulfilled his purpose… he didn’t let “UNLESS” pass him by.
The Once-ler is me. The Once-ler is so many of us. If we’re living with something inside us that shouldn’t be there (a regret, a secret sin, hate, etc.), then we’re separated from God. That’s what happened with the Once-ler. His relationship with the Lorax was broken. But in the end, the Once-ler did the right thing. He listened to what the Lorax said. He pondered his word, and passed on the seed. And I just love the way the movie ended. The Once-ler was no longer shut away in the dark. He walked in the light, and he watered the trees. And you know what happened? The Lorax came back. The relationship was restored. And that Once-ler laughed out loud as he hugged the Lorax. That’s when the Lorax looked at him and said, “You did good.”
Isn’t that what we all want… a restored relationship with our God. We’ve all made some sort of mistake… big and small. But some of us hide our mistakes. I did. I hid mine for over seventeen years. And they lay there deep in my heart. I may have pretended my past never happened, but it was eating away at me. Thus, the heart-exam initiated by God a few weeks back. Let us all examine our hearts to see what’s in there. Because when we get it out, and when we really turn from it (whatever it may be), and when we pass on the seeds of our knowledge, perhaps one day we’ll hear the same thing from our God as the Once-ler heard from his Lorax… “You did good.”