Saturday, May 24, 2008

Torn Between a Fairytale and the Truth

So I've been doing some thinking. Yes, I am fully aware of the dangers that accompany such an activity. Just a couple of days ago I was on the receiving end of a "You're a great girl, but..." conversation. We've all been there at one time or another. It's a part of life that I've come to the conclusion that no one is exempt from. Well...except for maybe nuns and priests. And since we've all been there, we all know that it's not the most fun place to be. No worries. I'm not here for pity, people. In fact I've been spending my newly found free time doing what any other girl in a similar situation would do: listening to "All By Myself" on repeat while smoking countless cigarettes, drinking copious amounts of wine and recording my weight daily in a diary. NOT REALLY! Thankfully I'm not one to wallow, but I did spend a couple of days (yesterday and today) dusting myself off and getting back up though. Allow me to enlighten you all with how I coped...Ahh...the comfort in comfort food. Now before you all take up a collection to pay my Jenny Craig membership fees, I shared with 3 other people and there were leftovers. And contrary to the way it looks by the basket of cheese fries on the left, I did not break my french fry ban. Nothing could be so terrible to warrant that. Next, in order to restore my hope in happily ever after, I watched Enchanted. Because let's be honest, who doesn't love a happy ending? Today I spent my day doing girly things. I broke down and got my annual pedicure. I've seen one too many 20/20 specials about dirty nail salons to truly enjoy the experience but it's just a testament to the things a girl will do for pretty feet. And having pretty feet made for a much more enjoyable shopping trip. There's no therapy like retail therapy. Especially when there are mega-Memorial Day weekend sales! Jackpot. After a trip to the gym (eating fried pickles and mushrooms one day and shopping for clothes the next can create quite the paradox), I came home and did what I probably should have done first. Scratch the "probably"...What I should have done first. I prayed. Now, why didn't I do that first? Because I'm stubborn and I'm female. Being female, it means that I like to fix things myself. We women are fixers and we love more than anything to make things work. Maybe in my next 30 years I'll learn to go the appropriate route first in order to "fix" that which is broken.Then I stumbled across the series, Marriage by Design by Voddie Baucham on the Athens Church website. And then I started thinking. Before I go into my thoughts, I would encourage everyone to listen to this three-part series even if you're already married. Especially if you're already married.

I'm only one individual in a world of billions so really I can only speak for myself. But it seems to me that more often than not we are torn between a fairytale and the truth. We all want the fairytale. I know that I sure would take the fairytale ending behind door number 3 if I was making a deal with Monty Hall. Why? Because even though there is always a villain in the story, ultimately good prevails and the princess lives happily ever after with her heroic prince who has stepped in to save the day. And because our culture instills this in us from childhood, we come to expect this to be our reality one day. Prime example: Enchanted. It's a fairytale that comes to life. I am not for one minute saying that we should wipe out all things Disney or shoot Cupid down with an unloving arrow. I'm afraid that Valerie would no longer be my friend if that happened. I said it myself, I love a good story with a happy ending. However I think that the problem arises when the fairytale doesn't happen here in the real world and we don't know what to do. Ugh...I'm afraid that I'm not making my point clearly so it will be lost. And I happen to think it's a really good one so I'm struggling a bit as I write. The truth is though God does not promise us our fairytale ending. We are not put on this earth to live out our days doing only the things that bring us sheer joy and happiness. If that was the case, I would spend my days eating ice cream sandwiches and watching back-to-back episodes of The Golden Girls while maintaining a size 4 physique. If we are Christians, we are God's and we are here to do His work. Now, can and does doing His work bring us happiness? Of course! Are we destined for days of solitude? Nope. God himself said that it isn't good for man to be alone. Hence, Eve. But the last time I checked, the book of Cupid is neither in the Old or New Testaments. Nor is the kind of love present in the B-I-B-L-E that Cupid is so famous for bringing. Ok, it's there too but if we all think about it, those stories when it was the star didn't turn out so happily ever after. That kind of love is centered fully around emotion; our feelings. And let's be honest here, that kind of love feels good. But it is fleeting, and I'm not so certain that it's really love. However all too often because it's the fairytale we desire, we think if we don't have that kind of "love" then we've got nuthin'. In Deuteronomy 6, we are commanded to love God with all of our heart and all of our soul and all of our might. It doesn't say, "if it feels good to you, then you should..." According to my new friend Voddie, Biblical love (which is the true kind for those of you just tuning in) is "an act of the will accompanied by emotion and it leads to action on behalf of its object." And if we are to love God this way, doesn't it make sense for us to love His children (a.k.a., each other) in the same manner? Geez...seems to me like that is going to require some work. Which I think is another reason why we much prefer the type that Cupid brings. But Biblical love is essentially a choice that we make. That's not to say that there is no emotion in it. Emotion is there if you look. It's accompanied by emotion. Big difference between being accompanied by and being led by though if you ask me. If emotion is the accompaniment instead of the leading factor, then it seems like this kind of love is going to last much much longer. But because it's a choice that we make and not something that sweeps us off our feet, some of the glamour is gone. Truthfully it doesn't lessen it or cheapen it all. In fact, I think it makes it better. In the long run, I much prefer comfort to glamour, the truth to the fairytale, and if given a choice, I kind of think that Cinderella would too. After all, she was missing a shoe and her carriage turned into a pumpkin on the way home after a long night of dancing. Talk about unreliable and fleeting.


Valerie said...

Heather - I really appreciate this... you said a lot of big things that make a girl think and said them well. I am thankful to have such a wise friend! Oh... and I'd still be your friend even if you did boycott Disney. :0)

Josh & Donna said...

preach it sista! seriously, great post, very insightful and true.

allison said...

I LOVE this post. Thank you for your openness and willingness to speak frankly about love and the culture we live in. Girl you can write!!