Wednesday, June 24, 2015

I Believe In Fairytales

I've always wanted to start a blog, but I've never known where to begin. Who reads it? And what do you write about? I've never questioned whether or not I would have anything to say, but have often questioned whether or not I would have anything meaningful to say. But as I've recently read through previously written entries in my online journal, I've realized that I think more than the average teenager. I analyze people deeply and overthink their opinions, actions, and experiences. Some call it the "gift of reading people." Most just call it judgmental. 

But I don't just do this with other people. I do it with myself; my opinions, my actions, my experiences... And most of all? My faith. 

You see, I believe in God the same way I believe in fairytales. 

My mother could not keep me from being the love-obsessed Disney fanatic that I am, but it was not for lack of trying. She let me be exposed to the classic princesses like Snow White and Cinderella, but rarely under our roof. She made sure that I over-watched The Little Mermaid, a story about a strong young teenager who had her own idea of what she wanted in life, and went out of her way to get it. I was educated early with Beauty and the Beast, a story about how beauty was found from within; that a brain, a heart, and a personality, was so much more than just a pretty face. And let's not forget that I broke the VHS tape of Aladdin, a story in which Princess Jasmine dare not be defined by her royal title, nor the royal laws that were set in stone for her "benefit."

But even in the stories of these strong young princesses, there is one principle that petrifies a mother. The principle of the fairytale. After all, fairytales aren't real, and it doesn't take long for a girl to realize that the dreams she once had of her life being a Disney movie were flushed down the toilet a long time ago. Because in this world, we are constantly reminded that princes aren't perfect, love isn't true, and happy-ever-afters are not meant for you. 

Or are they?

Now, I'm only 18 years old, and there are a lot of things I don't know. But I have dated. Which means there is a 99% chance that I have been heartbroken. And I have been, more times than I care to remember. But even still... I believe in fairytales. Because, you see, there are 3 elements of fairytales that this world rejects; 3 elements of fairytales that mothers try to convince their daughters do not exist, but they are 3 elements that are nonetheless true.

3 Elements That Make People Hate Fairytales
1) The prince
2) The love
3) The Happy Ever After

"Someday my prince will come, someday we'll find true love..." Snow White sings as she tells the seven dwarves about her one and only love. Meanwhile, Sleeping Beauty is dancing around the forest singing, "I know you... I walked with you once upon a dream. But if I know you, I know what you'll do... You'll love me at once, the way you did once upon a dream." 

Wow! Wouldn't that be something! He'll love you at once, the way he did once upon a dream. And let's all stop to remember that dreamboat, Prince Eric from the Little Mermaid. He fell in love with Ariel by the sound of her voice. Aladdin fell in love with Princess Jasmine at first glance when he saw her in the marketplace. At least the beast fell in love with Belle within an acceptable time frame! But even then, critics are quick to point out that he had to trap her in an enchanted castle as his prisoner first. 

So, I think we can all agree that the men in today's world are no princes. They don't fall in love with us half as quickly as we want them to (or expect them to), and they don't care to do so in a timely manner. They prefer to take their sweet and merry time, if they even fancy to pursue us at all. 

So now that we've burst the bubble of finding Prince Charming, let's take a look at fairytale love. Remember the song Cinderella sings at the ball? "So this is love... Mmmm... So this is love. So this is what makes life divine... I'm all aglow... Mmmm... And now I know. The key to all heaven is mine. My heart has wings... Mmmm... And I can fly. I'll touch every star in the sky. So this is the miracle that I've been dreaming of... So this is love." 

Good lord. She sounds absolutely insane, doesn't she? Or... Is she simply doing what all girls do after that first date with the man she's been waiting years to go out with? We come floating home after dinner and a movie (and hopefully a goodnight kiss) on cloud nine, humming and singing and leaving people wondering, "what on Earth has gotten in to that girl?" 

The only problem with this love is that it doesn't take long for reality to sink back in. The real world has obstacles. Obstacles cause problems. And problems cause fights. Or as the in-love couples like to call them "discussions." And all of a sudden the "Love is patient, love is kind, love does not grow weary," vow turns into "Love is selfish, love is consuming, love is not worth this crazy battle." This is the "loving" reality we are living in today, which is a far cry from the biblical definition we sling around all the time. 

And then comes the best part, or so it seems...the "Happy Ever After." We all hope for this happy ending, this destination that we're never quite sure where it begins. Does happy ever after start at the engagement? The wedding? The kids? (Good grief, surely not, that sounds more like hell on earth for some people.) But still, we hope.

Time to quote Cinderella again. "A dream is a wish your heart makes when you're fast asleep. In dreams, you will lose your heartache, whatever you wish for today. Have faith in your dreams and someday, a rainbow will come shining through. No matter how your heart is grieving, if you keep on believing, the dreams that you wish, will come true." 

Her happy-ever-after was at her wedding. That's where most princesses find their happy-ever-afters. But that's not where real women find theirs. For a young woman, the wedding is not the happy ending, it's the final beginning. It's the last time to wear a dress. It's the last time to have the spotlight on her before life turns into marriage and finances and children. Marriage is not the end of the love story, but rather the beginning of a collection of adventures that you have no control over. Women love weddings because it gives us that feeling of happy-ever-after. Because I can assure you, nothing sounds more unappealing to a woman than being out of control. 

So when men aren't princes, love is too much work, and happy-ever-after sounds unappealing, it's easiest to just give up. It's easiest to say "well, I wish we could have that love, but..." and "I wish life would be more like that, but..." But. But, but, but. But what? But "life is not a fairytale." 

Ohhhhh, how many times have we heard that dreaded line? "Life is not a fairytale." 

To some extent, it is true. This life is a sorry excuse for a fairytale. But... What about another life?

Most people don't believe in princes because the men in this life are not perfect. People don't believe in true love because it has been corrupted in this life, and "happy ever after" sounds like a brainwashed author at the end of his story, because happy-ever-after does not exist in this life, either.  But what about the next life? 

Now we're getting serious. I ask you to think about what your beliefs are about an afterlife, because we all have a belief about it. Whether you believe you will come back as some other animal, lurk around as a ghost on earth, go to Heaven, hell, or nowhere at all, you believe in something. So, the question is not whether or not happy-ever-after exists in this life, because we know it doesn't. The question is, whether or not happy-ever-after exists in our afterlife.

If you believe that your afterlife consists of you being reborn as another animal, I pity you. You will be in the same world, with the same slim chances of having a happy-ever-after. If you believe that your afterlife consists of haunting this world as a ghost, I pity you. Because you, too, will still be in this world, with little chance of a happy-ever-after. If you think you're going to Hell, then there's a lot to be pitied there, because you know without a shadow of a doubt that you won't have a happy-ever-after.  

But me? I'm a Christian. I believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God, and that He died a brutal death on a cross to save me, and anyone else who cares to know Him, from our sins, so that we will not be destined to hell where we belong, but so that we may spend the rest of all eternity in Heaven with him. And I'm not talking a Heaven where we all live in clouds and ride unicorns. I'm talking about a restored Earth, where everything is more elaborately beautiful than we are even capable of imagining, where "He will wipe every tear from our eyes, and there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things will be passed away." (Revelation 21:4) 

Like any good fairytale, this one has a hero. Not just a hero, but a Prince! Just as the bible mentions that we are all God's "bride," we are also His damsel in distress. Jesus is the son of God, a God that is labeled as the King of all Kings, which means that He is the Prince of all Princes. And the Prince of all Princes loves us SO much, that He fought the ultimate battle, and was pierced with nails and crucified with brutal humility so that we may live forever with Him, in a place that was literally designed as nothing short of perfection. And if that's not a happy ending, I don't know what is. 

And for those of you who don't believe in any after life? I'd say you're to be most pitied of all. You may call Christians crazy, or maybe even desperate. You may think they simply need validation, or maybe just some reassurance, maybe just somewhere to place their hope. And maybe they do, but that's more than you have. Where do you place your hope? Where is your validation? And where is your reassurance? Because when a Christian dies, they are sure they're going to Heaven. But when an atheist dies, they have no concept of where their soul will be. They simply believe that they will cease to exist. So what happens then? All their hard work, their pain, their suffering, their strife in this world, is all for nothing? I don't judge atheists for believing what they do, but I do question it often. Because if you have so many unanswered questions, and an idea that sounds as ludicrous as the son of God becoming a man for the sole purpose of dying for you not only answers those questions, but also gives validation, reassurance, and a place to secure your hope... What do you have to lose?

I don't believe in fairytales because I'm naive and a part of my feminine heart has my favorite stories etched into my soul. I believe in fairytales because I have faith that they are real. And I believe in God because I have faith that He is real, too. 

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