Courageous Kindness

cinderella-movie-2015As a little girl, I never liked Cinderella. She was too quiet, soft and subservient. She wasn’t feisty, passionate and adventurous like Belle or Jasmine or Ariel.

Cinderella-dadI always wanted Cinderella to stand up to her stepmother and stepsisters. I never understood why she was such a doormat, blindly tied to a promise to her dead parents who, at the time they asked it of her, had no knowledge of how her situation would develop and change after they were gone. Cinderella seemed foolhardy to me, incapable of adapting to the dynamic nature of her situation.

cinderella-headshotBut I recently watched the new Cinderella movie, and it landed differently with me than the animated film I grew up with. In this new, live actor film, Cinderella inspired me. Her story stirred me and actually moved me to tears. “Have courage, and be kind,” she repeated to herself over and over again, through the death of a mother, death of a father, servitude to her stepsisters and incomprehensible cruelty by her stepmother.

Cinderella-ragsAs an adult watching the movie of Cinderella, I am struck by her response to suffering – intense, terrible suffering. Cinderella didn’t pretend everything was okay, mindlessly skipping through a field of wildflowers and humming with bluebirds while her so-called family abused her. No, we saw Cinderella hurt, frustrated and broken. We watched Cinderella struggle and almost fail to keep her courage and kindness as the pains of life continued to roll in.

cinderella_horseBut Cinderella resolved to keep her heart soft; chose not to betray her true self to the all-too-easy bitterness and anger over circumstances beyond her control. Cinderella also chose kindness – and not just kindness, but courage as well. She chose to be strong and gentle; noble and compassionate; brave and tenderhearted.

The complements of courage and kindness united in the person of Cinderella are a strikingly beautiful portrait that remind me of another story: one of a God who is both all-powerful and loves without reservation. Power belongs to God, and Loving-kindness is Yours, O Lord.” -Psalm 62:11-12

There is power in courageous kindness. Some might even call it magic.

Cinderella-dress-transformation

Authentically Aurora

London: Motherland of Magic

HP WorldAshley and I have gone to Harry Potter World every year for the past three years – without small children in tow as an excuse for our unbridled enthusiasm. We unreservedly embrace our inner nerdiness. Especially since, with the coinage of the term “hipster”, nerdy is the new cool. I didn’t have it so good in junior high. But I digress…

Last year, I wore this shirt around Universal Studios all day:

Harry Potter Grumpy CatAshley was still willing to be seen with me and even take pictures with me. I am sure there is now no doubt as to why she is my best friend.

This year, we decided to change it up and go directly to London, Motherland of Magic. United Airlines will serve as our portkey to the UK.

Ashley and I are convinced that the only reason we remain stuck as Muggles is that Voldemort was in power during each of our 11th birthdays, so we never received our Hogwarts letters. We’re headed to the heart of magic to see the Headmaster himself about either adult admission or use of a Time Turner. The official Pottermore quiz has already declared that I am, without a doubt, intended for Gryffindor.

While we’re in London, we will surely stop by Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes. When I was in elementary school, my mom wouldn’t let me have the Sonic Sleuth Bionic Ear (something about eavesdropping being rude?), so I was thinking about getting a magical Extendable Ear – that is, until my full physical earlier this week.

The technician administering the hearing test had a look of awe on his face when I exited the hearing machine. “Wow. That is the best hearing test result I have ever seen!” He looked at me in wonderment. “What do you do again?”

So. Extendable Ears? Not needed. Born with ’em! But I could be talked into picking up one of those love potions…

amortentia

Authentically Aurora