There is a lyric on repeat in my head’s tape player this week. The song it’s from is from a Christian band from back in the late 70’s early 80’s called, “Silverwind” (I think). My dad loved the tapes and used to play them all the time. To this day I can sing every single song by heart – The line from a song called “Cinderella’s Dream” is this line my heart has been singing this week, “Fairy Tales are real…wishes do come true…” Where did that line come from, you ask? From a movie, from a fairy tale and from a girl wholly different than she was at the beginning of January 2010.
Wednesday night, my friend Regan took me out and we went to dinner and then caught a viewing of “Tangled.” I like the odd girly movie from time to time. But honestly, over the last several years of incessant harm to my poor heart, a rather thick layer of cynicism and almost wholesale snarky attitude about them has pervaded with a few exceptions (Pride & Prejudice, anyone?). The journey I have been on has been hard on my heart and difficult for my spirit to retain buoyancy through the storms. In the last three years, however, God has been quite occupied with the state of my stone-heartedness, my cynicism and loss of belief in ‘fairy tales.’
Two and a half years ago, I recall standing in the parking lot of the local movie theater telling my friend how I had read Ezekiel 36:26 a few days previous, which says: “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” I told her how I felt like God was clearly telling me this was going to be the journey ahead for me. No truer words have I ever felt in my soul – and since my move to Virginia, there has been nothing but opportunities for me to allow God to turn the stone heart into flesh. He has.
As I sat in the theater watching Tangled – a beautifully created and cleverly written story, I might add – and found my heart stirred, my breathe catching in my throat at the sweetest moments, moved to respond in my heart, I realized something had changed inside of me. Drastically.
January 1 2010 found me as cynical as I’d ever been not even holding out the slimmest hope that there was any fairy tale possible in my life. I simply couldn’t believe it. I was tired of dashed hopes, disappointment that led to crushing heart pain and rejection that left me cold and desolate. I would have no one speak to me of the hope of anything different in my life. While God had softened my heart towards him, towards relationships with others in my life, the thought of fairy tale relationships, romance or anything even remotely like the spark of hope in this was gone. It had been extinguished by lies, drenched by poisonous influences, and held off by arms strengthened by my own obstinacy. It was this year that all of that changed. And I did not even know it had happened until the moment the credits rolled at the end of the movie.
G.K. Chesterton once wrote that “Fairy Tales are more than true; not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.” I believe that is an element of truth. But I believe that all girls need to know that they are Princesses – special, beloved, honored and valuable – and that there are Princes in the world. I have seen my share of dragons. Stared them down and fought them with assistance from God. Sometimes though, a girl’s arms become weary from the weight of carrying her own sword and need to know there might be a man in the world willing to step in and do a bit of fighting for you.
A year ago, a rather beastly dragon environment popped up and my dear brother was my hero. His presence after I was in the dragon’s lair was every ounce the solidarity this girl needed to think she might actually be a Princess worth defending. Yes, even with a Dad who treats me as a beloved Princess, I have still grown over the years to question whether anyone will find me worth the fight. So hope was born with that, and later this year when my brother stepped in yet again with a humorous but gently true statement of “Do I need to go take down anyone? Cuz I will.”
God used so much this year to change me. Books, Bible Studies, Music, Challenges, Sacrifices, Relationships, and one particular new friend that was undeterred by the rather thick masonry built around my life. I cannot pin point the precise moment when hope turned from ash into a burning fire, but it did. And when the credits rolled after “Tangled” was over, and I left the theater warmed to the core of my heart of flesh, I knew that I was different.
So different, in fact that I found myself getting teary-eyed while driving and listening to Colbie Caillait’s song “Magic” yesterday. Who is this girl? I would not know that she was me if I did not look her in the eye every morning. And apparently, I found that I am worth being called Princess. I have found that there is a Happy Ever After. Maybe it is not for my right now, and maybe not until eternity finds me. But I am still worth the fight. Fairy Tales are real. Wishes do come true. I am looking for what new turns my fairy tale and wishes take this year. For now, I am just thankful for being allowed to be a Princess.