Sunday, March 15, 2015

Cinderella

I had the privilege of seeing Cinderella Saturday as a part of a new movement in the Birmingham area to bring more sensory friendly films to families with special needs. First, what is a sensory film? A sensory film is one in which the sound is a little softer and the lights are not turned all the way off. It allows for us sensory seekers to get up and move and engage more as needed. Now, why Cinderella on a post about my journey through theology which has its ups and downs? Because Cinderella is what some may call redemptive. Be brave and stay strong and courageous. God tells His people this a lot in the scriptures. He tells us to be brave and fight for justice in this world. What is justice when it comes to human relations? Justice is standing up against any and all oppression, whether it is someone who is abused because they are different or because their life circumstances are worse than someone else's. Justice stands up and advocates for the least of these, many of whom do not have the voice to do so themselves. One of our moments to stand up for justice is when we see that someone is being mistreated. Do we turn our backs on them for fear of what might happen to us or do we say, "hey, that's not right! Now stop!" And stand with the one being oppressed? One of my favorite news stories that has recirculated this past week is about the cheerleader with Down syndrome, who when bullied, had the entire team quit playing and rally around her. 

Another lesson presented in Cinderella is that of hardship. Here, we have a young girl who faced hardship. First, the death of her mother, then her father, then an abusive stepmother. I love the presentation of the stepmother in this presentation of Cinderella though. She was essentially misunderstood because she faced her own hardships as well. Although I still hate that Cinderella was mistreated while the daughters were treated like queens in the home. But in the face of hardship, what did Conderella do? This is what stands out a lot as well.

Fairy godmothers. Oh, how I wish! There is not a fairy godmother in real life nor is God is some "sky fairy." God allows us to go through hard things in life and sometimes it is to strengthen us and prepare us for bigger things. Like when He totally breaks us and then speaks to us in scriptures in order for us to turn around and teach others through what we have learned. Some people will not take too kindly to this, but others will have AHA! moments. I am now an advocate for others, who like me, face hardships because of their differences. And one of my opportunities is this week as I travel to meet with some state leaders to discuss issues that we face, especially in adulthood. 

The most beautiful element to me in the whole Cinderella film? Not the blue ball gown which was stunning, but the moment when as she was walking out the door of the home she had grown up in, she turned around to face her stepmother who was on the staircase to say, "I forgive you" and the stepmother then basically collapses on the stairs. That was also the most powerful moment. It was the moment that defined whether Cinderella would live in bitterness as she moved to the next chapter in her life or whether she would be able to put everything behind her. It is a moment I long for with each and every person and circumstance in life and it is one that I have not arrived at just yet. I expect there will be remnants that will creep back up and stab me in my heart. And as I work through those remnants, I will be faced with bittersweet choices and opportunities. I will find during those moments that either people will be supportive or they will be spiteful. But in that scene, I saw God as He relates to His children. God turning to us and saying, "I forgive you dear child. Now what will you do with that?" 

Oh, God, as I, and many others, have our Cinderella moments in life, work through us and help us, strengthen us, help us overcome, no, not overcome, help us rose above the hardships that life presents us. For only through You and Your love and. Your tender mercy, do we even stand a chance at standing up against the injustices that keep being tossed in our directions. Thank You for using a film to help teach a hard lesson. In Jesus' Name, Amen!

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