Thursday, May 14, 2015

Have Courage & Be Kind: Bringing Magic to Life

We tend to be riding on the comet tail of trends in this house, and getting to the movies is no different. On Mother's Day, the ladies of the Casa finally made it to go see Cinderella. Thankfully it was still playing at a theater near us and for amazingly low matinee rates that included free popcorn! I digress.

While the live action format of this classic fairy tale was a little too involved to keep the four year old's attention through the nearly two hour movie, she was captivated at all the magical parts and picked up on the basic themes. Mean stepmother and sisters, magical fairy godmothers, beautiful weddings and princes. The basics were all there for the four year old.

For me, it was amusing to see Rose and Daisy of Downton fame battling it out on the big screen. Rose, grown up and exuding a brilliant innocence that gave proper homage to the pure in spirit, and Daisy, embracing a sillier, baser side of cluelessness and things of the world. Getting to the retelling of a classic story, what I truly loved was the simplicity with which the movie captured some very basic truths and brought them magically to life. Ella's mother's words, of course, permeate the whole story: "have courage and be kind" - words echoing the timeless message of the saints. 

"Be not afraid." 

"Love one another."

This adaptation of Cinderella did a superb job of making these big messages spring to life. Here are a few other lessons I hope Li'l G takes with her through the years to keep on bringing the magic of Cinderella to life. 

I pray that as a mother, I can instill in both my children a deep understanding of who they are - children of God. I hope they take with them the knowledge that they are temples of the Holy Spirit, that they are loved and adored beyond their wildest dreams by the Creator of all.the.things. Life brings with it so many attacks on our identities, our confidence, and our self-worth. I pray that our children can cling to the Word and promises of Christ to know the truth about themselves in the face of bullies, users, and cheats. 
See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! 1 John 3:1

Could we as a culture be more obsessed with external beauty?!? Look younger, use {insert beauty product here}, get thinner, be hotter. The trouble here is that no amount of face cream, mascara, or fad diet will beautify the soul, which is what lights and animates us. Our beauty comes from much more than our external appearances. Was Cinderella beautiful? Of course! I hope that my children will learn that Cinderella's beauty had more to do with her kindness and joy than the locks of golden hair, though. 
How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the Gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! Romans 10:15

Be it a stag in the forest or a thirsty old woman, it is by helping the least that you open yourself to the blessings in store for you. You may not captivate a secret prince, or uncover a fairy godmother, but I guarantee you will receive so much more than you give. Live boldly with sincerity and kindness, and you will turn heads. Instilling a spirit of holy boldness and generosity is a work in progress, but I hope it is a lesson my children will learn...and one I will embrace with more gusto myself!
He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? Micah 6:8

True confessions: I'm a complainer. I try not to be, but I am. I eventually come around to appreciating how much I have to be thankful for, but it is usually a "whinding" road that gets me there. What a beautiful example of joyful suffering Cinderella gives us! In this live action portrayal, she brings us this example so adeptly mixed with moments of despair in her true humanity. Sobbing by the smoldering fire, Cinderella feels she cannot fight any longer. How many of us feel that way so often? Still, she finds a way. She remains open to what is around her, to showing kindness, and in that her hope is restored. Her suffering does not close her eyes to the needs of others. In that, she finds her fairy godmother. 
Weeping may linger for the night, but joy comes with the morning. Psalm 30:5

Was anyone else moved to tears when Cinderella turned around on her exit from the house with Prince Charming and said to her stepmother, "I forgive you." Such a brilliant, short piece of dialogue by those who adapted the fairy tale to this live action version. Throughout the movie, these pieces of understanding in Cinderella's character were woven into the story. When she first encounters the prince in the forest, her description of her situation - "They treat me as well as they are able," reveals an inner wisdom about the actions of others. Hurt people hurt people. Fallen people hurt people. Holding a grudge only eats away at our own soul. What Cinderella teaches us in those two short statements has monumental significance. Assume the best of one another, and forgive each other the foibles of our fallen humanity. It all goes back to that first lesson: we are all broken, and how someone treats you does not define you. How you treat them back does speak volumes about who you are, though. Forgive and seek the best of others. 

As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. Colossians 3:12-13

If you haven't seen the movie, I highly recommend it. It truly is captivating!

Now, embrace your inner Cinderella (or Prince Charming) and get out there and love 'em like Jesus!

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