The Night We Lit Up the World

I recently read a book called Permission to Speak Freely, which may explain some of the recent posts/conversations/letters I’ve been writing. There was a lot of the book that I disagreed with. A lot of things didn’t resonate with me or sit well in my stomach at all. But I loved the principal of it. I loved the idea that we all need to be a little bit more vulnerable. We all need permission to speak freely.

But one of the quotes that really struck me wasn’t about speaking freely at all. Toward the end of the book, the author quotes a friend saying, “As we grow up, we learn a great deal about the mysteries that perplexed us when we were small. We learn that the sun doesn’t go to bed after all. Our earth just turns away from her for a bit. The stars that look like diamonds sparkling in the sky are really nasty balls of flaming gas. And bit by bit, we surrender the magic that was our constant companion.”

I stared at those words. Blinked a few times. And then I dared to ask why. What’s wrong with believing in sleepy suns and skies filled with diamonds? What’s wrong with holding onto magic?

And I know I talk all the time about embracing magic and wonder and living that childlike faith that Jesus told His disciples they must have. It’s because I believe in it. I believe in letting yourself be awed by things that others may try to reason away.

Last week I spent an evening with two, beautiful preschoolers who introduced me to the magic of glow sand. We walked outside with our containers of blue and green and yellow and orange, sprinkling it across the ground until you would have believed that fairies had been dancing there.

The world was filled with wonder. The yard was aglow with pixie dust. I had it on my hands and in my hair and even between my toes. We laughed and we danced and we felt we could fly. It was magical. Absolutely magical.

But when you think about it, it was just sand. Gritty, dirty sand that would, in four hours, lose its sparkle. Like Cinderella’s carriage turning back into a pumpkin, the magic would be gone. And I would be in desperate need of a shower.

Most people might have considered that before they threw it in their hair. Most people might have been content to let the sand spill out on the ground, lighting up the night for a moment only to be forever lost to the world when morning came around. And you can probably bet that most people would not have sprinkled it over a friend’s shoulders while shouting, “Think happy thoughts!”

Because most people aren’t such big fans of Peter Pan and Neverland and all that “second star to the right and straight on ’til morning” nonsense. Most people, as it was quoted in Permission to Speak Freely, have bit by bit surrendered the magic that was our constant companion.

But I, for one, am not content to be one of those people.

I, for one, will continue to believe in suns that fall asleep and diamonds that sparkle in the night sky.

I, for one, will continue to light up the world with magic that glows only for a moment and wonder that dances forever in our hearts.

Because God never intended for us to lose our amazement. He never wanted us to walk through life scientifically explaining away the miracles He created.

No, I think He wanted us to live a little more like the children who kiss the sun goodnight and marvel at the endless amount of diamonds in the sky. I think He wanted us to hold onto wonder and light up the world with our belief that the world is magical after all.

Bippity, Boppity, Boo

When I say the word “fairytale,” what story pops into your mind? For me, it’s Cinderella. I think that one is the most epic fairytale of all time. There’s just something about that girl who rises from servitude to royalty because of one glorious night at the ball. And we all know where that moment of magic began…

Follow me to a scene in the Walt Disney movie, Cinderella. Her dress has been torn, her dreams have been crushed. We find her sobbing in the garden when her fairy godmother appears. With a few encouraging words, a cheerful tune, and a wave of a wand, Cinderella’s entire world is transformed. For Cinderella, this was the beginning of her happily ever after, and the start of a brand new once-upon-a-time. For the rest of us, it began the fairy godmother fallacy.   

“Where’s my fairy godmother? Wouldn’t it be great if some lady with a wand would come out of the woodwork and help me out a little?” This question is pondered by fairytale characters too.  Have you ever watched the musical Once Upon a Mattress? Princess Winifred stews over the idea of living “happily, happily, happily ever after” while exclaiming that Cinderella had outside help and Snow White had “practically a legion” of dwarves. I think we can all relate with Princess Winifred when she sings, “I wish that happily ever after would happen to me.”  

I just want to take a minute to point out that Cinderella wasn’t looking for her fairy godmother; she was sobbing over a pile of broken dreams. The fairy godmother appeared when the timing was right. Likewise, you don’t have to search for happily ever after. When the timing is right, and only when the timing is right, your dream of Prince Charming will be realized.

It probably won’t come in the form of a fairy godmother, but the fairy godmother from the story is nothing but a personification of a turning in Cinderella’s life. Perhaps it won’t be that blatantly obvious that this is the start of happily ever after, but that point in your life will come nonetheless.

You don’t have to look for it, and you don’t have to spend your life trying to find Prince Charming. When the timing is right, it will suddenly become perfectly clear that happily ever after is happening to you.