I’m sitting here watching the most recent version of the Cinderella story. I have to say it is both beautiful and heart wrenching.
I always knew that Cinderella lost her parents. I always knew that her stepmother was mean and her stepsisters were a bit nasty but wow! This movie brings so much perspective to the reality of dear Ella’s plight as an orphaned girl left in the selfish and neglectful care of people who neither wanted her nor deserved her.
There’s a scene where she is thoroughly exhausted and broken. Tears streaming down her face, she leaves her house to ride her horse. She comes across a stag and although she is in the depths of heartache she shows great compassion. As her mother told her in her dying days: “Have courage and be kind”.
And so she finds courage despite her difficult circumstances and she shows kindness to her evil stepmother, her stepsisters, a frightened stag, even little mice. In her darkest moment, she still shows kindness to an absentminded old woman.
My dad’s birthday was Wednesday October 14th. He passed away nearly 5 years ago. In my heart I hold many memories. Some are so precious. Some are painful.
On his best days, my father knew no stranger and his deep belly laugh would turn heads.
Sadly on his darkest days, the very ones deserving of his greatest kindness were often the recipients of words and actions that cut deep leaving scars that continue to seek healing.
For me, it has been a constant battle to wade through the realities of my dad’s mental illness and the very real hurts that I experienced.
On the day my father passed away, my mom found a handwritten note posted in the bathroom with a quote from one of his favorite movies: “I choose to be pleasant”.
I may not have been able to fully experience on earth the daddy I hoped to have but I know that he wanted to be that person.
I can choose to be bitter or choose to honor the beauty that was his laugh, and hold with great fondness our mutual affection for Boston Creme Donuts and treasure his Donald Duck impression that would have kept my kids in stitches for days on end.
Life, indeed, is not always easy. And we all have a past that may not be as beautiful as we would care to admit.
The future, however, is full of promise…full of the most wonderful possibilities. I can love my children with reckless abandonment, I can join my husband on this grand adventure of marriage, I can suck the marrow out of every sunrise and sunset and have the courage to be the woman God has called me to be.
And that’s beautiful.