Pilgrim Road Blog Photo

Pilgrim Road Blog Photo

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Fairy Tales: Way More Truth Than The 6 O'Clock News

 “A myth is something that never happened but is always true.”  Joseph Campbell

Smitty and I starting watching a new show on Netflix on the recommendation of his twin brother.  At first, I was summarily unimpressed, but now the darn things has its tentacles in me and as my kids would say, "I'm done for."  I should have known.  I'm a sucker for a fantasy, a fairy tale...in fact, any great story with mythological undertones.  These type of stories always awaken in me, and I think in most people, the reality behind the myth.  That's why they continue to have power even here in the cynical, fact driven, materialistic 21st century.  Truth is wired into us, and fairy tales are like alarm clocks that startle us out of our drowsy day to day and poke at something deep within us...the sleeping giant of the Real Reality.

My husband would kill me if I gave away anything substantial about "Once Upon a Time", the Disney produced series set in the pretend town of Storybrook, Maine.  I've been trained lo these 26 years of marriage to respect the sacredness of the secret, and never to be the spoiler.  So I'll tread carefully and just say that the premise here is as follows:

All your favorite, classic fairy tale folks are living in their enchanted world, when through a variety of hurts, sufferings and downright meanness, a wicked queen gets really mad and conspires to ruin the lives and loves of every happy person in the kingdom.  So she sends them to a place where they won't remember their life (this is the curse), but all retain a feeling of loss and longing.  The brave and beautiful prince and princess have one chance to save their newborn daughter who is destined to rescue all of them from the curse.  But it means losing her, not knowing where she is, and remembering her no more.  Anyway, that's the gist.

Every fantasy I've ever read, watched or acted in has always impacted me in this same strange way: they have made me consider the bigger picture, to see people as more wonderful and complex, and to long for the day when the happy ending will come.  Of course, no fairy tale is true, but they open a window to the truth behind them all.  You can't get too linear here...the allegories break down, the metaphors aren't perfect - but there is no doubt that there in the evil queen's wholesale desire to destroy happiness, there in the sacrifice of the Prince for his bride, there in the turning of the wooden boy into a real boy - there are undeniable cosmic truths.

Somebody reading this right now is no doubt thinking I need a little rest in one of those houses with lots of rocking chairs on the front porch and people who talk softly while they hand you your medication.  

Still, the thing has haunted me since I was a little girl. When the elves came to help the poor shoemaker, I wanted to find a way to help someone who was sad.  Hansel and Gretel made a fierce protectiveness rise up in me for my younger brothers.  And that Little Mermaid, she made me dream of a world so different from my own, where I could breath underwater and explore the deep blue sea.  (There was no little mermaid movie then, and the real story actually has some dark corners...but that's all part of the truth too.) 

The Lord of the Rings speaks volumes to me from its fantasy world of Middle Earth, with the lofty themes of light, darkness, loyalty, friendship, failure, redemption and love.  It is here in these kinds of stories that we can find the truth.  Not fact, as Indiana Jones says in Raiders of the Lost Ark, but truth.

And the truth is this:  There is a real Kingdom.  And there is a real war going on right now for the souls of men.  And there are lots of people, beautiful, unique, precious people, sound asleep, ripe for the slaughter, unaware that there is more to this world than eyes can see and hands can touch.  There is an evil serpent, bent on destroying everything the King loves.  And he has duped and tempted and hurt every one of the King's people.  But the King is far more powerful than this wicked, diabolical destroyer, and has made the supreme sacrifice to buy us all back from the kingdom of darkness. He's actually sent His own dear Son into the very vault of the enemy, and allowed him to be killed, innocent though He is, for the sake of the world He loves.  In this true story, the power of evil is broken.  The only power that remains is that of guerrilla warfare, where enemy encampments still exist but are doomed to destruction.  And where those who haven't heard or believed in the victory are still acting as slaves. (Much like the southern slaves who hadn't heard the Civil War had emancipated them!)  

This is Reality.  It happens to take place in the mundane of everyday life.  But just like in the stories, Love is the great magic that breaks the curse.  The great love of Christ Jesus, the One and Only King of All, who sends his beloved into the darkness to pull out those trapped there.  He sends them with all the weaponry and power necessary, because He would never leave his children alone.  But He does demand we be brave.  And He does give us the honor of sharing in the deliverance. 

Once upon a time, a great King came to rescue you from a broken world, in order to create a new kingdom of righteousness and love.  He intends to take back the world lost by sin, and to give eternal joy to all in His kingdom.  But there are giants to take down first, and they come in the form of addictions, family problems, suicide, jealousy, unkindness, purposelessness, unbelief and a whole host of other enemies.  

Here's a spoiler. There's a happy ending. In the end, love wins.

Your friend on the pilgrim road,


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