Thursday, January 7, 2016

"Have courage and be kind." ~ Cinderella Week

*wherein Olivia will insert many pictures of various Cinderellas staring thoughtfully off into the middle distance*

I never really considered Cinderella to be one of my favorite princesses, so I've been a little surprised at my own enthusiasm for this Cinderella Week.  It got me thinking, what is it about the story of Cinderella that so appeals to us?  What is it about it that so appeals to me?  So here I am to importune you further with farfetched, rambling philosophic conjectures, lovely pictures, and hopefully some fun :)


One thing I've realized that I love about the story of Cinderella (at least, in some of the versions) is how imaginative she is.  She daydreams a lot, and she lets herself!  She knows it doesn't keep her from faithfully and thoroughly performing her duties, so where's the harm?  As someone who spends quite a lot of time inside my own head, I like that :D  Isn't it fun to let your mind ponder the intricacies of Pauline and Mrs. Harris' relationship when you're washing the dishes, or sigh contentedly over some Rather Lovely hero?  Though Cinderella's situation is often dismal, she keeps up her courage and cultivates her natural optimism through cherishing her dreams and imagining the possibility of, someday, a better life--whether that better life is to be attained through a visit to the palace, a kind friend, or a regaining of her home.  

Cinderella is unquestionably a dreamer, and she knows it.  


Cinderella is also a very hard worker.  ("Thanks, Captain Obvious.")  Though her life is unfair and her stepfamily cruel and demanding, she doesn't sit around moping, nor does she run away to escape their tyranny.  She just quietly and confidently assumes the role unjustly foisted onto her for the good of others.  I like how this point is made in both Ever After and '15 Cinderella:  the girl is committed to sticking it out because she knows that's what her parents would have wanted.  A new stepmother has control of her childhood home, the home she's grown up in, the home her parents loved--and she's not about to see it go to ruin.  

Perhaps one of the reasons we love this story is because it has such a worthy heroine.  Life certainly hasn't thrown her sunshine and daisies, and yet she remains humble, kind, and diligent.  


The Cinderella story has such important, though overlooked, lessons.  "Have faith in your dreams, and someday your rainbow will come smiling through."  "Have courage and be kind; for where there is kindness, there is goodness, and where there is goodness, there is magic."  And, to quote my mother, "Do not let your circumstances dictate who you are."  

The tale illustrates the power of dreams, yes, but especially, and more simply, the power of optimism.  Refusing to sink into despair, no matter how low your station becomes; no matter how bleak and changeless your future looks; no matter how undervalued you are; no matter how much others choose to degrade you.  


And, of course, we all love the rags-to-riches aspect of the story.  But why is that?  We rejoice when a woman, who has so much to give but so little expectations or prospects, is finally united with a man who appreciates her for who she is and who will give her the life she deserves, taking her out of the destitution of her former life.  

What if the reason we all find ourselves so drawn to this the story is that it is, in essence, what happened for us through Christ?  Of course, I recognize that there are worlds of difference between the story of salvation and the story "of the little cinder girl"--Cinderella was taken into the royal family because she herself deserved it, while we will never be able to deserve what Jesus did for us.  But the beauty for ashes portion of the tale is the same.  Jesus Christ took a broken world that was poverty-stricken in more ways than one and ransomed it.  He redeemed the desolation of humanity and gave us the hope of future glory.  Like Cinderella, we now have access to our own Prince.  Ours is a Prince of Peace, and He invites us to leave behind the destitution of our sin and thrive in the light of His majesty.






28 comments:

  1. Oh, Olivia! This was beautiful! Absolutely beautiful! You have such a way with words! (I'm only a little bit jealous! ;))

    I LOVE your "rambling philosophic conjectures"! They're wonderful!

    Oh and that last sentence, coupled with the picture of the flowers covered in snow, is perfect! "Ours is a Prince of Peace, and He invites us to leave behind the destitution of our sin and thrive in the light of His majesty." Thrive. Yes. That is so true.

    Thank you for sharing, Olivia! :)

    ~Miss March

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    1. Miss March, let me just give you a hug. You are always so encouraging and inviting. I appreciate that <3

      Aww, thank you so much! I so appreciate it :D

      Thank YOU for your comment, Miss March!

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  2. Oh, Olivia!! I'm speechless... This is incredibly beautiful!!!!

    I LOVE how you pulled all that together at the beginning -- about how her daydreaming and imagining go hand-in-hand with her hard working fortitude and diligence to see things through.

    (And hee. I actually have a post in the works sliiiiightly touching on that last point. ;) So looking forward to posting it soon-ish!)

    Seriously Olivia, this is so so sooo amazing -- I'm thrilled that you shared! Thank you!

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    1. Oh, HEIDI! Thank you so much!!!

      Dawwwww *blushes* You're so sweet!

      (Ach, your similar post was beautiful. HOW ARE YOU SO ELOQUENT.)

      No, thank YOU for the amazingly splendiferous week, and for your support! :)

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  3. Aww, this was so wonderful, Olivia! I loved it! :) You have a way with words, girl.
    ~Miss Meg

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    1. Miss Meg, THANK YOU! You're too kind :D

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  4. Lovely, Olivia!! You have a way with words, very beautiful. :)

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    1. Aww, thank you so much, Morgan! That means a lot :)

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  5. This was beautiful.. Very much so. Although I've loved Cinderella, especially when I was little, she isn't my favorite princess right now. Frankly, I don't really have a favorite. But I agree with you: there is something lovely about her story that everyone is drawn to.

    By the way, you really write well: with eloquence and grace, imagination and charm. Really you do.

    And that quote of your mothers, is really so true and lovely!!!

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    1. Thanks so much, Abby! Just so, not my absolute favorite, but still very intriguing.

      Aww, shucks *blushes* Thanks, dear!

      Isn't it?! I was like, "Whoa…"

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  6. Well done, well said, Olivia!
    Beautiful job and great insight! :D

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    1. Aww, thank you, Cordy! All of you are SO KIND.

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  7. Olivia--this is beautiful. I . . . honestly, I don't really know what to say, except that I LOVE it.

    Yes. I think you're right--that's exactly why we love Cinderella stories so much. Because we HAVE been rescued from poverty and misery by a Prince--by a King, actually. And we don't deserve it . . . but He doesn't care. He just did it because He loves us.

    And this is what happens, I think, with all truly good stories--if you look hard enough, they ALL have something about them which can remind us of God and help us understand His ways better. And that's why God gives us humans the ability to appreciate stories--like all His gifts, they ultimately draw us closer to Him.

    And that's where the whole "they can't order me to stop dreaming" thing comes in--we SHOULDN'T feel like we have to stop dreaming, because it's actually good for us. Stories and imagination are good things :-)

    I really, really loved all the "staring into the middle distance" pictures--that's something I do A LOT. It's quite funny, actually. I think my favorite is the Danielle picture--but they're all lovely :-)

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    1. Jessica, THANKS, GIRL!

      Amen to that. It's astonishing how God takes the time to reveal Himself to us through so much in our day to day life--especially in stories. And I agree, the best stories ultimately point you to Heaven somehow.

      EXACTLY :D

      Haha, I know how you feel! I catch myself doing that a lot, too. YOU NEED TO WATCH EVER AFTER. You and Rosie will love it, I know it :D

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  8. Good gracious, Olivia! This is just SO lovely!!! You have a God-given talent of eloquence :)

    That last paragraph! It's so true and beautiful and wonderfully said! I've never really thought of the story of Cinderella in that light before. But you're right. Our rags have been exchanged for eternal riches. Our King has saved us from our sin.

    I really can't find the words to express how much I love this post. Just beautiful. <333

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    1. Mary, thank you so much!!! That's so kind of you!!!

      Yes, He has. Praise His name!

      Awww! I'm getting all warm and fuzzy inside. Thanks loads, darling :D

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  9. That was amazing.

    The end.

    No, seriously, I don't know what to say!! I JUST LOVED EVERY WORD. Like. What. Even.

    "They can't order me to stop dreaming." I think that is my favorite thing about Cinderella's story. I love her optimism, her hope, her spirit, and her joy. She just LOVES LIFE. And of course, she goes from rags to riches . . . like we do, as you pointed out. *faints at Olivia's eloquence* Really, I think you're right. THAT is why everyone loves a rags-to-riches story. It's because it is our story, and we don't even deserve it.

    P.S. In case I forgot to mention it - I LOVED LOVED LOVED this :)

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    1. Daww, Rosie, STAHP. You're gonna make me cry :'D

      Ooh, good point! "She just LOVES LIFE." I hadn't even thought of it in that way yet, but you're so right! She doesn't let her situation stop her from embracing life. (Aww, thanks!) YES!

      EEEEEEEKKK I'M SO HAPPY YOU LIKED IT :)

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  10. That was a beautiful post. You never fail to amaze me. :)

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    1. Oh, garsh! Laura, you're too kind, really! :D

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  11. Lovely and powerful!

    Cinderella, rags-to-riches, is a wonderful allegory of Christ and His kindness to give "beauty for ashes". We've been made children of the King of Kings. This is the highest goal in life and has been given to use freely because of His awesome nature. :D

    A beautiful reminder.

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    1. Aww, thanks, Faith!

      Yes, sista! He's done so much for us.

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  12. I agree with your allegory about Cinderella/Jesus Christ – I'd heard it once before, but your post helped me to really grasp it. Thank you for this post!

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    1. I'm so glad, KB! Thank YOU for your comment, it means a lot!

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  13. Ohhh, this was so perfect! Grand job well done, Olivia.

    Ahh, dreaming. What would we do without it? I love how you said, "She daydreams a lot, and she lets herself! She knows it doesn't keep her from faithfully and thoroughly performing her duties, so where's the harm?" So true. I think dreaming is one of the loveliest things God gave us-he gifted us with imagination and ambition--and I believe he gave us stories as an outlet for that. It's certainly no accident-why else would He give people such a talent with the written word if He didn't want us to use it to write beautiful things-especially stories that glorify Him?

    I love heroines that "live inside their own world"....all the while still staying in touch with the "real" world. I think a healthy dose of each is the perfect combination. :)

    And ohhh! You last points! So beautiful. I love finding how stories mirror The Greatest Story (TRUE story!) and you wrote it so beautifully.

    I think this is one of my favorite Cinderella week posts so far!!

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    1. Thank you, Natalie!!!!!

      "It's certainly no accident-why else would He give people such a talent with the written word if He didn't want us to use it to write beautiful things-especially stories that glorify Him?" YES.

      Yes! I hadn't really stopped to think about it, but isn't it great when a heroine has a firm grip on reality, but isn't afraid to live in her own world once in a while?

      Awwww, THANKS SO MUCH. I so appreciate that :D

      *gasp* Really?! Oh my goodness! Natalie, that means so much to me! Thank you for telling me!

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  14. Great insights, Olivia! I know that I love Cinderella more than Sleeping Beauty and the Little Mermaid in particular because yes, she is a worth heroine. She's not just a pretty girl who's been cursed through no fault of her own, and neither is she a whiny princess who tries anything to get what is basically forbidden fruit. Both Cinderella and Snow White have been badly mistreated for most of their lives, and yet they remain kind and helpful and cheerful. Something to aspire to, for sure!

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    1. Thank you, Hamlette! YES, precisely. (I really dislike Ariel in Disney's cartoon. I actually like Hans Christian Anderson's original tale, but in the Disney movie, she's just…honestly, she's a bit of a brat.) I hadn't even thought of that in connection with Snow White; excellent point! They're great role models. Thanks for commenting! :)

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