Twice I’ve posted, suggesting that we each see ourselves as a part of a story and asking readers to consider what the story is that they see themselves as a part of. The story we see ourselves in, and our role in that story, to a large extent determines how we approach much of life. In this post, I want to start establishing some concrete ideas of who we are, but at the same time I will invite you to reflect on where you’re at. Feel free to comment below, if you’d like. Let’s begin with some fairy tales – they’re well-known stories that we are (generally) familiar with, and thus provide a common frame of reference. I’ll be referring to them as told by Disney, as these are the versions I’m most familiar with currently (having four young children at home).
So think of Sleeping Beauty. Who do you most relate to, in this story? The king or queen who have such high hopes for their child – who do whatever they can to protect her? The fairies who are a blessing wherever they go? The princess who is under a curse and falls into a deep sleep? The citizens who are part of someone else’s story, but who suffer the same sleep as the princess? Maleficent, who is easily upset and ready to pronounce judgment and damnation and curse over the source of her distress? The prince (Philip, in this case) who risks everything to be with the princess – captured by the enemy, graced from above, slays the dragon, plants that kiss of true love on the princess’ lips?
You’ll notice that I have kept asking, in the titles to these posts, who “we” are, not who “you” are. In the posts I keep asking about you personally. But ultimately we want to arrive at a shared story of who we are. As a community, made up of multiple individuals, we need a shared story – but shared stories always begin with individual ones, which are (in turn) informed by the shared stories. So who do you most relate to, in Sleeping Beauty?
Maybe you don’t see yourself as the one you wish you did. Maybe you aspire to one of the characters that you feel like you least resemble, at this point. Consider God’s story: the story of the Bible is not the story of humans chasing after God, but the story of God deeply loving humanity and doing all, giving all, to unite them to Him. How does that story sit on Sleeping Beauty?
Ultimately, I think we end up with this: humanity is the princess (Aurora, or Briar Rose) who is cursed in her infancy – cursed with death. Yet this curse is transformed into the potential of life, when true love’s kiss will lift the spell. Satan is Maleficent, who would have us die rather than live; who thinks more highly of herself than she ought, and takes offense at the king’s celebration. Jesus is Prince Philip, who comes seeking his beloved and is captured by the evil one, sitting in a prison that cannot contain him for a time, he bursts forth and destroys death and gives new life to his princess – breaking the curse (of sin) that she’s been under since infancy.
You’re the princess. Do you see yourself in that story?