With a thud, the house finally lands in one piece. Even after the house lands and Dorothy awakens from unconsciousness, the depressing black and white remains. Rubbing her head, Dorothy walks to the door and steps outside, hoping to find Auntie Em and the farm, but instead she gazes on the land of Oz. Suddenly the screen is filled with the most glorious colors imaginable. We gasp along with Dorothy as her eyes take in the reds, greens, yellows and blues that seem more vivid than life. (Color film at that time was developed by a special process that produced rich and vivid colors, but that process was soon abandoned as too costly, and replaced by another method that was less expensive, but also produced less vibrant colors.) Soon, Dorothy and Toto were following the beautiful "yellow brick road," on their way to the "Emerald City." By the end of the movie I had completely forgotten that the movie began in black and white.
I have often used this illustration of The Wizard of Oz in talking with patients about the two subjects that they fear most, death and dying. Death, I explain to them, seems like the door of that house. As when Dorothy opened that door and stepped into a land of glorious beauty, we too, in death, pass into a new and glorious kingdom, one filled with light and love. From a land torn by strife, we enter a kingdom of peace, illumined not by the sun and moon, but by the glory of God himself. But the journey must proceed through that door, and we must walk that journey by faith.
© 2000, John C. Fitts, III and Bereavement Magazine. All Rights Reserved.