#FamilyFriday | Cinderella
First Impressions (Hers)
Okay, I'm not going to lie. My little girl heart was very excited to see the new Cinderella movie. My husband, who is so good to me, surprised me with a date night to see it. And I'm pretty sure I was more giddy than the row of 8 little girls sitting next to me... combined.
First of all, can I just say, the colors were amazing. Like, amazing. The whole movie was done so well. It was very well cast and the story was told (or retold, since this was a live-action version of the original 1950 cartoon) without leaving out any details. My absolute favorite detail was that they developed the character of the Prince and his relationship with Cinderella!
First Impressions (His)
Okay, I'm not going to lie either. I was excited to see this too. I'm a sucker for fantastic set design, and this is the best thing since Penelope. They put a lot into fleshing out some characters that were two-dimensional before (see what I did there?) and it's all in the details. When Cinderella makes her famous entrance to the ball, she's wringing her hands and scrunching her fingers. It transformed the character for me.
So here's some questions and quotes to get you rolling with your #ShabbatTableTalk.
If you have ever been to a Jewish wedding, you might notice that they break a lot of dishes. Why? One of the many reasons is to remind us that even if times of great rejoicing, we must not forget that hard times may come. It's not to make us depressed and pessimistic, but rather it causes us to appreciate these good times even more - and that same appreciation will carry us through the hard times too. Cinderella has an extraordinary ability to rejoice, even as she was being imprisoned in the attic. Can we do the same?
Do we focus on how bad things are, or how good they have the potential to be? If a problem comes up at work, do we immediately become negative, stressed, and worried - or, do we see it as an opportunity to grow, to become better at our job, and to positively affect our world? If our child has problems with another kid at school, can we use that opportunity to teach about loving your neighbor and helping your enemy?
This is for us parents to wrestle with. What beliefs do we hold onto that we do not want to pass on to our children? What have we inherited or accumulated along the journey that we realize has damaged us, and so we can guard our children from? Or which beliefs do we want to pass on to our children, but haven't yet? How can we do a better job at teaching them?
In Genesis, we read about how Joseph, the favored son of Jacob and Rachel, was taken away, thrown in a pit, sold into slavery, and imprisoned in Egypt. And yet, he says to his brothers, "And now do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life." If Joseph's brothers had not been so cruel, Joseph would not have ruled Egypt and would not have been in a position of power to save Israel. @@ When suffering comes, do we dare imagine that we are being put in a position to change the world? @@
Evil exists. There is a darkness in the land. The stepmother abuses Cinderella, the stepsisters fight and scream and lie and manipulate, and perhaps you can hardly blame them when you see their past. But we have a choice. God has set before us life, the ability to do good, and He has begged us to choose life. And just as evil spreads from generation to generation like a cancer, so does good. The kindness of Cinderella transformed her nation. What should be done? What has God asked us to do today?
Sometimes it's overwhelming. We look around at the needs in our community, and the task seems too much. But God hasn't asked us to fix everything - only to do what we can, with what we have, where we are. An opportunity to do good can seem to us like a small and insignificant thing, but it could change a person's life. Obedience to God, even if it's only the size of a mustard seed, can end up moving mountains. It's the kindness that is everything. Just as the fairy godmother wanted to see the kindness in Cinderella's heart, so too does God want to see the kindness in ours.
It's an interesting thing - God doesn't see forgiveness as optional. It's not a feeling. It's a choice. It's a very intentional act of erasing debts that are owed to you. And it's not a one-time thing, either. It's 70-times-7 times. In biblical metaphorical numerical jargon, that means, well, infinite times. That does not mean that we are called to be doormats; we must distance ourselves from toxic relationships. But it does mean that we cannot harbor hatred for something that was done to us. Because in the end, that hatred will destroy us, and that suffering will be far, far worse than the original misdeed. Cinderella suffered for a time, but she forgave, and was restored. The stepmother did not ever forgive, and her heart was eventually rotted through and through.
The recurring phrase throughout the movie. To be honest, we thought it was pretty corny at first. Really, have courage? When have I ever told myself, hey, you pantsy, have some courage. Rarely do we have the presence of mind to remind ourselves to have courage when we're in a situation where we need to be courageous. But how is that any different than the second part, be kind? God speaks in the same way. These noble characteristics like courage and kindness are not so unreachable. They are found in the simple tasks that God sets before us. In the difficult moment, do what you know to be right. If you see your enemy in trouble, care for them. Do not slander and gossip, but speak life. Be honest. Be gentle. Be kind. Cinderella chose to do those things even in the midst of awful mistreatment, and that was courageous.
Have you seen Cinderella? What did you take away from it? Let us know in the comments!