“Fairy tales say that apples were golden only to refresh the forgotten moment when we found that they were green. They make rivers run with wine only to make us remember, for one wild moment, that they run with water.” ~G.K. Chesterton
Stop right where you are and look around you. What do you see? Probably normal things like furniture, paper, trees, pencils, maybe even an animal or a child. Now, pick one of those things and look at it carefully, think about its usefulness or its beauty or its intrinsic value. How many times do you brush right past that object or person, without a second thought or glance. If you’re like me, you take everything in your life for granted—without slowing down enough to delight in all the colors and textures of life. We have grown old and tired and boring. It takes SO much to wow us, to impress us, to fill us with awe.
We have lost our sense of wonder and delight. We are dull and aloof about life; we are disinterested and indifferent or maybe our joy has been shrouded by the harshness of this life.
We have been robbed us of this child-like fascination with life in a million ways— tragedy, illness, job loss, family strife, depression, wealth, or maybe just the piling of a hundred humdrum days.
Life is every shade of complicated, no doubt. But, perhaps, part it of is that we have just grown dull. The days are strung together in monotone, the stresses and busyness of life leave us exhausted, and we have lost the nerve to believe that this day is full of all the hope and mystery of heaven. We’ve lost our curiosity and our imagination—which means we’re in danger of losing our capacity for empathy.
The cure is simple and starts in fairy land.
The capacity for wonder and delight can be recovered by admitting we’ve been wrong. We’ve take the world for granted. We’ve forgotten to be inspired by the apple. We’ve forgotten to be amazed that the sun rises every single morning. We’ve lost the will to see the miracles that surround us every day.
G.K. Chesterton would go a step farther and say that the cure is fairy tales, for they taught us something beautiful about the world.
Exactly what the fairy tale does is this: it accustoms us for a series of clear pictures to the idea that these limitless terrors had a limit, that these shapeless enemies have enemies in the knights of God, that there is something in the universe more mystical than darkness, and stronger than fear.”
He goes on to say that fairy tales don’t teach us evil, we’re fully aware of that already—they teach us that evil can be overcome. And the wonder and delight with which a child hears a fairy tale is the same wonder and delight with which we are to see the world. Yes, the world is harsh and full of disappointment, but don’t forget about the part in the story where the dragon slayer comes and saves fairy land. Open your eyes to the fairy tale all around you.
Day 9 Challenge: Think of a recent disappoint you’ve experienced. Maybe someone let you down or something you really wanted to happen didn’t. How did you respond to the disappointment? Did it make you want to give up or work harder. How could you turn that disappointment into an opportunity for growth. Next, think of the last time you did something as simple as sit down with your child to read a favorite fairy tale or watch the sunset or even star gaze with your favorite person? Take some time today to enjoy the miracles of everyday life. If you open your eyes to see them, they are everywhere.
Be sure to read Ruth’s corresponding post on Less Disappointment.