Veruca Salt

One of my favorite movies is Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. There is just something magical about it. I have the soundtrack to it in my car and I feel just like a kid again when I watch the movie or I listen to the music. Something within this movie just resonates with me deeply.

For those who don’t know, the chocolate factory in the movie, and I mean the remake with Johnny Depp in this case as it is my favorite, is a magical type of place with the most amazing chocolate coming out of it. However, for some reason, Willie Wonka who runs the factory closes it down. Then lo and behold, a few years later, it’s running again. No one knows how though. No one comes in and no one leaves. No one can talk to Willie Wonka about it. He stays inside.

However, he sends out packages of candy with an announcement that hidden in random bars of chocolate are five golden tickets. Whoever finds a ticket can get to go into the factory with a guardian of their choice for one whole day. Through strange coincidences that border on the miraculous, young Charlie Bucket, a poor kid whose family quite literally has nothing, gets a ticket. The other four go to, well, brats.

If there is any kid that is a brat in the movie though, it is the spoiled Veruca Salt. How does she get a ticket? Her Dad owns a nut company and so has his ladies instead of working with the nuts start unwrapping chocolate bars until they find a ticket that they can give to Veruca.

Until she gets the ticket though, she is furious screaming she wants her golden ticket. Where is it? However, the day comes that the ticket is found and it is presented to Veruca. She smiles and takes it, but without a “thank you” even, she puts on a serious face and in a serious tone says “Daddy. I want another pony.”

Yes. You know the type. The one who just says “I want it!” Meanwhile, Charlie is just thrilled with what he has but is joyous that he gets to meet Willie Wonka and explore this factory that has always held his amazement. Finally, the day comes when all the children and their guardians including these two enter. (All come with parents except for Charlie whose grandfather used to work there comes.)

So what happens? They enter a room where squirrels that are trained check nuts to see if they’re good ones or bad ones. The room is shaped like a lifesaver candy with a hole in the center which leads to the garbage chute where all the bad nuts go. Veruca starts crying that she wants a trained squirrel. Her Dad is ready to pay Willie Wonka any price, but Wonka refuses to sell. At this point, Veruca says she’ll get one herself.

Long story short, she tries to grab a squirrel, but it runs and they all gang up on her and knock her down, find out she’s a bad nut, and down the chute she goes. Her Dad goes to get her since Willie says that maybe she’s “just stuck” and a squirrel gives him a knock and down he goes with her.

In the end, Charlie is the only kid left. He is told he can inherit the whole factory, but he’d have to leave his family behind. He refuses. In the end though, Willie Wonka comes around and makes up with his Dad who is a dentist who has secretly been admiring him from afar. Charlie and his family move in to the factory and the story has a happy ending.

Now you know I don’t tell a good story without a point and I’ve focused on one character for a reason.

I’ve been in two conversations lately with skeptical people and it seems that their problem with YHWH boils down to this:

“I don’t like what he did.”

What it basically means is, “God must act the way I want before I’ll believe in him.” Unfortunately, this is the Veruca Salt idea. This is the spoiled child who says that God must play by my rules and pacify my requests. This throws an entirely emotional tantrum if this isn’t done their way instead of a reasoned and logical argument.

Let us not be too quick. Chances are, we have a bit of Veruca in us all. However, there is a difference between wanting something and whining because you don’t get what you want. I, for instance, want a wife. I do not think there is anything wrong in that. It becomes wrong though if I say “Because I don’t have one, God is not just and fair. Therefore, he doesn’t exist.”

And sadly, it seems many a case of apostasy comes from the idea that God didn’t do what I would do.

We have to accept reality though. We don’t always get what we want. Thank God for that! We can want all we want for some things to be true, but if they are false, well they are false, and we just have to accept that. Whining about things doesn’t change them. Some things we can act on and we should to change them. Some things though, we can’t, and we should accept them.

Remember though the fate of the whiner compared to the one who enjoyed what he had and is seen as a figure of virtue. One did end up going down the garbage chute. The other one freely inherited the kingdom. Choose which side you’ll be on.

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