I’ve been busy lately. There’s work and writing, editing and ministry, blogging and play dates with friends. Life has a way of sneaking up and consuming the moments. And that’s not always bad… until you find that those moments are no longer filled with the things that really matter. The things of God.
It’s all too easy to find yourself drifting. To look up and realize that you’re a long shot from where you want to be. To wake up and realize that you’ve let so many other things get in the way of what’s truly important. And the thing that amazes me the most in the midst of all of this is that it’s not that the things that are keeping me busy are bad. In fact, they are all necessary things. Things that I’m called to. Things that are vital to my existence.
The amazing thing is that God cares about these things. He concerns Himself with the details – both the big and the small. And yet… yet He calls us away from those details. Away from the intricacies that consume our time. The mundane things that inhabit our existence.
Sometimes God has to intervene. Sometimes He has to pull us away and help us recapture our sense of wonder. Sometimes He invites us back to the fantastical world where pumpkins turn into carriages and kisses end curses and there’s always the hope that dreams come true. Because we weren’t meant to struggle through life as if it is some sort of burden. Sometimes, perhaps more often than we realize, God invites us to drink deeply of His Presence, lose ourselves in His love and dance unhindered in the courts of His Kingdom. That’s what this life is all about.
And, of course, it’s necessary to fulfill our duties and press on through the little things in life, but the danger is in losing our sense of wonder. In failing to see the greater picture in the midst of all the details. We walk a fine line between the ordinary and the divine and somehow find ourselves leaning toward the ordinary every time. What is wrong with us?
Know that I’m talking to myself when I say: Consider this your invitation to step out of the mundane details of your ordinary life. Allow your heart to become enraptured in thoughts of a heavenly realm and let the King of the Universe sweep you off into the fantastical wonder of His “once upon a time” tale.
Yesterday, I had one of those days. You know, the kind of day where you fume about stupid stuff and think things like, “I’m not going to get married for the next hundred bajillion years because I don’t even want to deal with this junk.” It took moving 450 miles away from home for me to realize that guy/girl friendships are difficult to come by. I don’t know if that fact makes me want to hug my old guy friends and apologize for all the years I’ve taken them for granted, or slap them in the face and yell at them for making me believe that our relationships were normal. I think what I felt yesterday was a combination of the two. I could have walked right up to one of them and shouted, “Thanks for being amazing, jerk.”
Well, I did what any girl would do in such a situation. I grabbed a bowl of chocolate ice cream and popped Ever After into the VCR. By the time it was over, I felt a whole lot better about the topic of men and marriage. What I love best about that particular version of Cinderella is that the characters have flaws. Prince Henry was selfish, arrogant, didn’t listen very well, and acted like a jerk when he learned the truth (to which he had previously refused to listen). And Danielle weaved a web of horrible lies then tried to keep the pretense going. What makes the story so enchanting is that they manage to overcome their flaws and find a happy ending. I’ve been told that chick-flicks are not good for a girl’s emotional health, but I needed that movie last night. I don’t think it’s bad to hold out for “Prince Henry” – as long as you’re willing to accept that he does have flaws.
The movie comes to a conclusion with this beautiful line: “And while Cinderella and her prince did live happily ever after, the point, gentlemen, is that they lived.” They lived. And while those words were said to convey the idea that Cinderella was more than just a folk tale, I think that line carries a much greater meaning. Take Prince Henry’s line, for example: “You swim alone, climb rocks, rescue servants… Is there anything you don’t do?”
The character of Danielle De Barbarac did not only live “happily ever after,” but “once upon a time.” She embraced the moments and lived the journey. She may be a fictional character, but she’s still a great reminder that we weren’t meant to live for the “happily ever after.” We were made for the “once upon a time.” “Happily ever after” means that the story is over. No more adventures. No more life. One day, I hope I’ll make it to “happily ever after,” but as for today, I simply want to live.