Posted by: gaylejervis | April 4, 2011

DO YOU LIVE IN A FAIRY TALE?

Recently, I was conversing with a woman who commented,  “I’ve lived in a fairy tale world since my life has been so easy. I have always had lots of friends, boyfriends and then I married a good man, and have great children.”  She wasn’t apologetic about her circumstances, but she was concerned that she might not be growing spiritually without some adversity.  And yet, I have seen people who go through tough circumstances reject God rather than persevere in their faith.  I have seen these same circumstances reveal character that is actually rather nasty.  In short, these more difficult circumstances don’t guarantee spiritual growth.

When I got home and  reflected on our conversation, I couldn’t help wonder what fairy tales my friend was referring to.  Was it the three pigs where two of them got eaten by the big bad wolf?  Or was it Goldilocks where she barely escaped from the wrath of three very angry bears?   Or was it the dog in The Red Hen who didn’t get any bread from the Red Hen when he didn’t help her?  Or was it the Gingerbread Man who was killed by the cunning wolf who took it across the river? Or  was she thinking of Cinderella who was abused by her step mother and step sisters until  she was was rescued by the prince?

Perhaps my friend was more focused on the ending of these stories or was more focused on some of the more watered down Disney versions of such stories as The Three Little Pigs!

Actually, I think that my friend  is living a fairy tale because she also has made good decisions in the areas that she can control.   She is like the third pig who wisely  built his home so that the big bad wolf couldn’t blow it down!!   She rejects the personality of Goldilocks who carelessly “walked into danger”  when she entered the Three Bears’ house.  And she is most certainly not like the farm animals who wanted to eat the freshly baked loaf of bread even though they refused to help The Little Red Hen!  Therefore, my friend has managed to avoid many negative consequences!

I also suspect that for this woman, contentment plays a huge part in her happily ever after fairy tale.  I know that she is not rich – that she has had to be a good steward of her finances.  I know that she has lost her mother whom she adored – yet she has remained faithful to God.  I know her husband has been struggling these past four years with a health problem but she consistently prays for him. And yet she says she is living the fairy tale life.

Therefore, maybe it is possible to live the fairy tale life even as I live with chronic illness.  Much depends on which character I am imitating from these fairy tales!   I can’t afford to be like one of the first two pigs and be as reckless, irresponsible, impulsive, carefree, and short-sighted if I am going to defeat the ravenous effects of illness such as discouragement and despair.  In fact I must be as resourceful as the third pig in order to live well while chronically ill.  Perhaps, I need to   spend some time visualizing my wolf slipping down the chimney into a pot of scalding water!!

I could also be mentored by Red Riding Hood and develop my intuitiveness to know what treatment protocols are worth trying and what treatments are wrapped in “Grandma’s” clothing but are really the deceptive, cunning wolf.  And I certainly don’t want to be like the narcissistic Goldilocks who  was self-centered and inconsiderate walking into someone else’s home.  I don’t want to become so preoccupied with my illness that I become that self absorbed.

Too often I think that I must wait until I am healthy before I get to experience the happy ending of all fairy tales.  But of course, that is rather shortsighted!  My friend may not be experiencing out of control circumstances to challenge her fairy tale existence, but she is certainly practicing all the good qualities of the fairy tale characters.  And as long as I do the same, I too am participating in a fairy tale existence.

And yes, my life may be more like the original fairy tales  – ones that have lots of conflicts, detours and sometimes frightening consequences.  However, as each year passes and I am still chronically ill,  I comprehend more and more that happiness doesn’t necessarily come from eliminating my circumstances but rather from intentionally surrendering my circumstances to God and then deliberately choosing  positive attitudes toward my circumstances.  If I could become more proficient at that, my level of contentment would  inevitably increase, and then   I too could profess that I live in a fairy tale.  In the meantime, while I work toward that goal, it is comforting to know that on some magical day, I will be transported to a place even better than Disney’s fairy tale  world – where I will effortlessly live “happily ever after”.

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Responses

  1. Hi Gayle,

    My comments previously were that I so enjoyed reading your blog (and other ones as well). You are SUCH a gifted writer and it’s so cool how your are using your talent. I pray your writings will be a blessing and minister to many people!


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