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The Shack: Journal #1

              “We keep our secrets mostly
because we are terrified, of losing control, of losing the little bits and
scraps of acceptance and approval that we have managed to scrape together
through production and performance.” — William Paul Young. Everyone has secrets to keep. It could be the chocolate bar
you pinched from your little brother all the way to the government’s
conspiracies. However, the secrets we tend to keep are the ones that isolate us
from society. The more dark, embarrassing, or hurtful secrets we keep, the more
we are isolated from society. Telling “dark” secrets to a friend or family
member will bring relief, healing, or reconciliation, but we don’t seem to put
trust in giving them away.

Over the course of holding a big secret, we try to
rid “the great sadness” while trying to minimize any mental breakdowns,
especially in front of others. For example, we would relax, “shake it off,”
distract ourselves, etc. If we can’t rid a dark secret REASONABLY after a
while, we may resort to substance abuse and suicide. Not telling an important
secret can backfire eventually and more severely.

              Mack does not tell Nan about the
letter he received from Papa in chapter 5 because he thought Nan would not let
him go to the shack in the first place. This leads to Nan getting quite mad at
Willie offering Mack the jeep, which eventually leads to Mack revealing the
everything about the letter and the shack. It’s like Nan having her husband in
a coma because he didn’t reveal something abo ut himself. In chapter 2 (which
happened AFTER the shack), Mack did not tell Nan about the letter he received
from Papa. This reveals that people are tempted to keep secrets, as they do not
want to see what would happen if they leaked a secret. Mack’s secret backfired
when Nan blamed Willie, however luckily, Mack managed to keep Nan’s cool.


The Shack: Journal 2

              Losing a child is a very rare life event to
occur. Most parents won’t ever think of their child dying unexpectedly—what
could possibly go wrong? In the Shack, Missy’s
death was an unexpected event—it would be considered situationally ironic if
hints of Missy’s death were never revealed to us prior to chapter 3—why may
have left Mack with a syndrome known as The
Great Sadness.

              Mack went full-insane after Missy’s death. In the
movie, Mack is seen crying upon discovering Missy’s bloody dress—which reveals
that Mack’s “life” has broken—more like Mack has PTSD. “The Great Sadness had draped
itself around Mack’s shoulders like some invisible but almost tangibly heavy
quilt.” (27) This simile shows that Mack’s sadness has hindered him, how
hard it is to get rid of the sadness, and how it ruined his life. Mack’s
relationship to God has been ruined, and one of his daughters was never the
same since the tragic event. Mack attempted to kill himself once in between
Missy’s death and the arrival at the shack. It reflects of how one tragic event
can impact one’s life (with possible exceptions that have a 1/600 chance of

              Large tragic events like 9/11 or the Orlando Shooting
caused lots of deaths. Family members of those who died would experience the
same amount of sadness that Mack had, and news about events like these would be
widespread around the internet for weeks. I do mourn these events, but as I did
not witness it nor watch any videos live of tragic events occurring, I won’t
descend into the great sadness unlike how Mack did. I kind of blame the
government for not monitoring gun laws/security.

The Shack: Journal 3

              Mack felt despaired and angry— he
felt that God is to blame for “murdering” his youngest daughter. Before Mack’s
questions were answered by the Holy Trinity, Mack was insane— he questioned God
about his ignorance to peace, the reason why he won’t prevent tragic events
from happening, and an explanation to God’s “cruel” actions in the old
testament. Mack was unable to believe that God loved and trusted him. Mack was
angry with Papa.

In the near-end of chapter 8, Sarayu, Papa, and
Jesus helped calm Mack down by answering questions that everyone has in the
mind. Throughout my lifetime, I always questioned God about him not stopping
global warming, not preventing 9/11, and not preventing WWII. Mack questions
Papa by saying “How can you say that with all the pain in this world, all the
wars and disasters that destroy thousands? And what is the value of a little
girl being murdered by some twisted deviant?” (59) This question was the one
that burnt Mack’s soul. The use of negative connotative diction makes God look
like an irresponsible slacker. Sarayu did manage to respond to this without any
frustration. She said:

humans center their lives around things that seem good to them, but that will
neither fill them nor free them. They have addicted to power or the illusion of
security that power offers. When a disaster happens, those same people will
turn against the false powers they trusted. In their disappointment, they
either become softened toward me or they become bolder in their independence.
If you could only see how all of this ends and what we will achieve without the
violation of one human will—then you would understand. One day you will. (59-60)

still slightly struggles to understand this concept, but it did further provide
a sense of relief to him.

means to prevent a situation from getting worse. For example, if someone stole
your chocolate bar, it’s better to forgive the person rather than attempting to
assault the person. If one overreacts to somebody touching their personal
property by accident, the result of overreaction can be more lethal as compared
to the person letting go and reconciling. In Mack’s situation, Papa and Sarayu
provided a reasonable explanation for Mack’s question, preventing himself from
going insane afterwards—God was able to save Mack from sin, depression, and
negative thoughts.

The Shack: Journal 4 (Quote 2)

your friend goes on your computer without asking and watches a YouTube video.
That would be an ok-situation if you didn’t have any sensitive data on your
computer. Now imagine your friend going on your computer, watches YouTube,
clicks on some ad, and accidentally downloads a virus, forcefully deleting your
processed essay you spent months on without a backup. Frustrating? Definitely.
That’s like $200 of hard work down the drain, and now you have to stay up until
4 in the morning attempting to re-write the essay of your memory. What would be
the common first-time reaction to this? Reactions include mental distress,
suicide attempts, assault, mugging, attempted murder, etc., and by the way, you
don’t even know what forgiving is.

Mack, of course,
didn’t tolerate whoever murdered her daughter. He has no thoughts of forgiving
this serial killer, and his life is ruined. Mack has attempted to kill himself
once between Missy’s abduction and the arrival at the Shack. At the start of chapter
16, Mack still could not forgive the Ladykiller for taking her daughter’s
life—despite being asked to. This may have caused Mack to constantly whine like
a 9-year-old throughout the book. Mack did want to forgive the Ladykiller
(effective chapter 16) but felt that getting revenge is the priority. Mack uses
negative connotative diction by literally swearing at the Ladykiller in order to
emphasizing Mack’s hate on the Ladykiller. It shows how much he wants him or
her ARRESTED and banished to hell.

Forgiveness is the
act of letting go of something. If one doesn’t forgive, he/she will have a
really bad time trying to cope with being hurt. Often, it will result in
tantrums, distress, or even heavy thoughts of attacking whoever sinned at
him/her. If the sinner asks for forgiveness and you forgive, the problem is
most likely over and you feel revived that the problem is over. It’s “letting
go of another person’s throat,” (226) which means dropping the will to get
revenge. And forgiveness is possible even if you can’t talk with the person who
sinned at you.

Shack: Journal 5

              “God is a verb, an
action we bring to the world to make love, justice, mercy, joy and goodness
known.” Christians tend to worship God all the time, and treat him as someone
who created everything. They think him as a real entity. People have worshipped
God for a long time, especially in the 20th century, but after 9/11
(much bigger version of Missy’s disappearance), it may be more difficult to
worship or thank an all-powerful God who let this tragic event happen. As time
passes, religion will become more irrelevant, and more people will think that
God is not a real entity or someone that takes prayers, instead they feel that
God is a “waste of time.”

              Papa and Sarayu are
trying to say that the universe needs verbs to exist. If a universe only had
nouns, it would be a dead universe. The concept for God meaning a verb makes
him not a real entity you can talk to, but instead, when God is a verb, so is
worshiping, confessing, repenting, living, loving, reaping, changing, sowing, praying,
etc. With these verbs, the universe is able to live. The word “respond” and
“responsibility” are similar to each other, but “respond” is a verb and
“responsibility” is a noun. Sarayu said to Mack: “I give you an ability to
respond and your response is to be free to love and serve in every situation,
and therefore each moment is different and unique and wonderful. Because I am
your ability to respond, I have to be present in you.” When Sarayu starts
talking about responsibility, the word itself turns gloomy. “If I simply gave
you a responsibility, I would not have to be with you at all. It would now be a
task to perform, an obligation to be met, something to fail.”—Sarayu. This
means that verbs make the world more liveable.

              God is not a he, a she,
an entity who lives, instead, he is a force. God gives the strength for us move
forward. He encourages people to do actions in order for people’s happiness and
growth instead of doing nothing. Because there are many atheists in the world, it
would seem irrational for people to claim “there is a God, he flooded the world
and responds to prayers.” Instead, people can claim that God gives us the power
to be alive and do actions, not affect the morality of the world. Instead of waiting
for God to do something, YOU do something. You can’t ask God to finish homework
for you, you have to do it. Instead, ask God to give you the power to do homework,
and it would make much more sense. This makes the concept of God being a verb clearer
to those who feel praying is ridiculous, and therefore I do agree with this concept.
























Works Cited

Young, William P., et
al. The shack: a novel. Windblown
Media, 2017.

Cohen, Madeline.
“The Shack Metaphors and Similes”.
GradeSaver, 10 May 2017 Web. 3 January 2018.

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