I am 79 years old, and I just watched Disney’s 2013 movie, “Frozen,” for the first time last night! Talk about being out of touch!
This week, I ditched Netflix and Acorn TV because I never watched them any more. Instead, I picked up Disney+ for a good deal less money. My first choices: “Cinderella” and “Frozen.” Both fairytales. You can tell where my mind is these days.
Fairytales show the conflict between good and evil; overcoming impossible obstacles; the beautiful heroes in love and the villains getting their due; Disney magic all over the place; and happy-ever-after endings! The perfect life. Just what I need right now! (My other go-to is Hallmark NOW! Same deal, just real actors. I am in a blissful rut!)
These are the way life is supposed to be.
Perfect. Happy. Ever after!
So why am I talking about fairytales? Because we/I so often want life to be a fairytale. Even now. Especially now.
Life is always supposed to end “well.”
Life is always supposed to be “fair.”
Life is always supposed to turn out “right.”
Life is always expected to be “perfect.”
And of course, life is not perfect.
So how do we learn to live life – as it actually is?
How do we learn to love life again- as it really is?
We fall in love with life when we’re little. A bit later, we dream of the fairytale life. Then life throws everything it has at us as we grow up. And we morph between whether we will be optimists or cynics. Of course, in our “grown-up” years, we find we are some of both. Let’s admit it. None of us is perfect.
So right now – I’m on the fence. I want my fairytale even as I have both feet firmly planted in the Real World. There is still the pandemic, there is still racism, there is still a coming election, all in the daily news feed.
I think that I have found that the only way I can love the world in these oh, so difficult days, is to hold on to those things that make life truly worthwhile, and to let go of the things over which I have no control.
“Note to self: my strength is determined
not by the things I choose to carry,
but by the things I choose to set free.” – April Green
So my fairytales are on my t.v. screen for a while. My real life is zooming by with new problems showing up every day “out there.” I’m learning to live with them.
Finding the things that strengthen my heart and give me courage is my life work right now. There are many graces that do just that. Friends, and family, books, music, creativity; the hard work of listening to new voices; the challenges to enter into the fray; meditation, my church, wonderful blogs, and a good night’s sleep are my Main Things. And practicing the deepest kinds of gratitude is never out of date!!
Oh, and walking and avoiding chocolate. It’s radical, I know, but we do what we have to do to find Real Love. And I am still convinced that this Real World is most definitely worth it!
It doesn’t hurt, either, to ramp up theologian Reinhold Niebuhr’s Serenity Prayer:
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
courage to change the things I can,
and wisdom to know the difference.
Serenity, courage and wisdom. Sounds suspiciously like some of the elements of a fairytale, when you think about it…
And I’m very okay with that.