Admit it, you were dying to see Cinderella too! Last week I finally dragged my boyfriend to see Cinderella featuring some of the cast from Downton Abbey. (An all time favorite of mine! Who’s your favorite character?)
I went to see the movie with my boyfriend, who works in the media industry producing branded entertainment content. He commented after the movie how confusing it was to him because there wasn’t that usual ‘all hope is lost’ moment.
I think Cinderella understanding her own existence through the gift of self prevented us from grasping an ‘all hope is lost’ moment. While Cinderella was in a horrible circumstance she still knew who she was and no one could take that from her. By her gift of self in the simple acts of service to others she saw her value even when others didn’t.
While most of us don’t find ourselves in a Cinderella indentured servant like situation we still face challenges that are difficult to fight our way out of emotionally and sometimes physically.
In Cinderella’s character we are reminded of the need to find joy in the simplicity of life and in the struggles. Can we find joy and meaning in things no matter the circumstances?
There can be meaning to pain and suffering and in that we can find joy. This joy doesn’t demand we be able to bounce around singing songs but that we can be happy even in our darkest moments.
Some asked Cinderella why she didn’t leave her stepmother and stepsisters. Cinderella didn’t because she found meaning and joy in her self gift as she served and remained in her parent’s house.
This reminded me of something John Paul II said in Theology of the Body where he talks about living as a gift of self to others. He said, “the gift reveals, so to speak, a particular characteristic of personal existence, or even of the very essence of the person.” Theology of the Body 14:2
I believe Cinderella’s character shows that she came to know herself because she was able find self worth in her self gift. I’m certainly not encouraging anyone to stay in horrible circumstances but I do believe we can learn to find self worth and meaning no matter where we are in life. On the roller coaster of life there will be ups and downs, but can we find meaning to what we live?
Life may be a rollercoaster but you can still be intact. Your dignity is yours. Your gift of self is yours to be lived and given. No one can take that away unless you let them.