I have always liked animated Disney movies, and Cinderella is one that I have especially enjoyed for some reason. Maybe it is partially because I had Disney's Cinderella on one of those late 1960s era 45 RPM records that came with the little book. You may recall the ones that would say "Ding -- turn the page." I remember mine had a scratch on it near the end of the story: "That was all the Duke needed --- That was all the Duke needed --- That was..."
Since falling and breaking my foot last Sunday, I have spent a great deal of time sitting and watching a variety of movies. Yesterday, I watched Cinderella again with my youngest daughter.
During the scene when Cinderella and the Prince were dancing at the ball, I paid attention to the song's lyrics more than usual. In all fairness, the song was probably not written for deep contemplation; just for a fleeting scene in a movie. Even so, it made me wonder what we have been teaching children for decades. If you've watched Cinderella much, then you may remember the waltz written by Mack David, Jerry Livingston, and Al Hoffman, entitled "So This is Love."
There really aren't many lyrics.
So this is love. Really? So what exactly is love? Is love being dressed up beyond recognition and dancing for a few hours with a man who doesn't even know your name or anything about you? Is love going to a party and being the center attention when you're accustomed to being used, abused, and unappreciated at home? Is love escaping everyday life with a handsome stranger?
So this is love, mmmm; so this is loveSo this is what makes life divineI’m all aglow, mmmm; and now I knowThe key to all heaven is mineMy heart has wings, mmmm; and I can flyI’ll touch every star in the skySo this is the miracle that I’ve been dreaming ofMmmm, mmmm; so this is love
This is infatuation, perhaps, but this is not love. THIS is love:
- Working all day at your job and going home to work more by cooking, doing dishes and laundry, and taking care of kids because your spouse is sick or injured and unable to do so.
- Serving your spouse by cleaning up puke, changing bloody bandages, or helping them in and out of the tub because they are unable to do these kinds of things for themselves.
- Forgoing your own personal goals or dreams to support those of your spouse.
- Sticking with each other through the worse part of "for better or for worse," the poorer portion of "for richer or for poorer," and the sickness component of "in sickness and in health."
- Caring for a loved one who is terminally ill, even when it is difficult.
Obviously, these scenarios don't hold quite the dreamy, ethereal, romantic ideal of the waltz scene in Cinderella. She and the prince just gaze into each other's eyes for a few hours, get married, and then live happily ever after ---whatever that is. They have not battled anything together. They have not weathered any storms.
I don't want to lay all of the blame for the sad state of marriage in our country at Walt Disney's feet, but surely the "So This is Love"/"happily ever after" lies we have been buying for decades haven't helped.
Of course, we should know better than to expect Disney to accurately teach our children what love is or to expect a children's entertainment company to be able to say with certainty "This is Love." We have already been told what love is by one who knows:
"This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another" (1 John 4:10-11 NIV).
Or don't forget:
"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails" (1 Cor 13:4-8a NIV).
What examples do you have that define "So This is Love"?
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