Yesterday, my 9-year-old daughter McKinley & I went to see the new Cinderella movie in the theater by our house. I'll be honest. I wasn't 100% looking forward to it. I've seen different variations of the story of Cinderella like, 423 times. But, she wanted to see it and she earned this date, so off we went. And anyway, dates are more about being with my child and less about the actual activity.
But again, I'll be honest. I didn't absolutely love the show. It might not have helped that this theater had technical glitches, including the screen blacking out and a really fuzzy, crackling speaker. But other than that, I just like the cartoon version better. I miss the songs. And there are things that can be done with animation that you just can't really do with real-life people.
Still, similar to reading the same scripture like, 423 times, you can still come away with something different, something you needed to understand at that moment in your life. And there was definitely something that I needed to understand at this moment in my life. While the moral of the story - to "have courage & be kind," was important and ties into my realization, it wasn't what I walked away with.
McKinley and I talked about how much grief Cinderella had been through in her life - losing her mother and then her father. And then losing her material possessions and her comforts. She had been through so much and could have easily turned hard-hearted and bitter. Then we talked about the stepmother. In this version of Cinderella, she is a widow to begin with, and then loses another husband. The lesson was a simple, but powerful one for me: I have the choice to be Cinderella or be the stepmother. Both had immense grief. One chose to let it soften her and help her to see how precious and treasured life is and the other let it harden her and help her to make everyone else's life miserable because hers was miserable.
As I've pondered this question, I realize how often I have chosen to be the stepmother.
It's true. Oh, I will have friends and family that will try to stop me and tell me that it's not true, but the reality of grief is that even those closest to us don't see quite the depth of this deep hurt & how it affects us. Affects ME. I have Cinderella moments. I do. But more often I am the stepmother.I nstead of finding joy in seeing my friend's & family's children (especially boys) that are close to Link's age grow up, my heart frequently hardens, constricts, and I usually have to walk away so the bitterness doesn't completely take over. It's hard. But it's also a choice. I believe I need to take more accountability for my thoughts and feelings. Admittedly, they come without me choosing them, but I DO have a choice with what to do with them. And I want to be more like Cinderella - choosing the good. Choosing kindess. Many times it takes courage TO BE kind. Especially when we feel so wronged. So cheated.
I'm going to make the choice more often to be better instead of bitter.