Cinderella

 Annie Leibovitz, Courage, Kindness, Gary, Davis, Clueless, Christianity            If you have not seen the 2015 version of Charles Perrault’s book, Cinderella, you need to drag your family to see it as a super family outing. It is amazing. And if you don’t fall head over heels for Lily James there is something wrong with you. ‘Nough said.

The most amazing thing about the production are the two themes that screen writer Chris Weitz has chosen to emphasize— courage and kindness.  These two tracks run throughout the movie as Cinderella tries to cope with the death of her mother, and then her father. Her evil step-mother, played brilliantly by Cate Blanchett, is ‘Ella’s constant nemesis; she remorselessly tries to belittle Ella and turn her into the family servant-girl. Nonetheless, Ella is resilient, and rebuffs her step-mother’s assaults with a silent (mostly) inner determination. In the end, Cinderella marries the Prince and they move into the castle and turn her former domain into a homeless shelter for wayward girls…, or, something like that.  Just go see it.

As for Cinderella’s two guiding principles, bequeathed to her by her dying mother, we would all do well to incorporate them into our own life-principles— courage and kindness. There is so much pain and suffering in our world at present that those who exhibit courage are the ones who will press beyond the hurt and overcome life’s daily adversity. This courage is not just those living in Iraq or Syria, the Ukraine or Libya; many of us in more stable society also suffer from broken lives, broken promises, deaths, and betrayals. We have a choice set before us—  to give into the painful experiences and live a beleaguered life, fraught with disappointment and depression, OR, to face our fears and circumstances with that inner strength we didn’t know we had. That’s courage.

Then there is kindness. Many Christians can muster the wherewithal to become courageous: but to remain imbued with kindness toward others, that comes from a totally different source of strength. Maintaining an active position of kindness in life is no simple task. There are so many things, and people, who can unnerve us, rattle us, and piss us off that we find it almost impossible to be kind to everybody; maybe some, but not to all. Frankly, some people are just plain unlovable; others aren’t worth the effort, let alone treating kindly. But aren’t they exactly the people Christ has called us to love? Aren’t they exactly the kinds of people who need it most?

Just to reinforce this point, you will only need courage when you face genuine adversity. If you remain in a place of safety it is unlikely that you will ever need to call upon Christ for courage. If you surround yourself with people who are nice to be around, you will never need to exhibit true kindness to those less likable, let alone to the mean and difficult to be around.

So, please, let’s not hide in safe, clean castles (or churches) while the world outside is in such filth and pain. We can do so much if we put our hearts and minds to the task. “And lo, I am with you always… .”

For what it’s worth,

  Gary

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