Wednesday, November 7, 2012

On Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarves

Oh my! This movie was a big surprise to me. First, in the opening credits it said that it was based on the Grimms' version of the fairy tale, unlike Cinderella which said it was based on Perrault's. This is an important difference in how the fairy tales are told; had Cinderella been based on the Grimms' version, her stepsisters would have been cutting off parts of their feet in order to fit them in the glass slippers (no, really; if you didn't know that, I apologize for the gross detail). So, I was surprised by that. And then as I was watching it, it was so creepy!! The magic mirror? The forest? The order to cut out the princess's heart and bring it to the queen in a box? The apple..."her breath will still, her blood congeal" in "the Sleeping Death" made in a laboratory where there are skulls and stuff? Honestly, I would have found it terrifying when I was little.

Also, I had heard "Someday my Prince will come" criticized as an attitude, but in the actual context, which I was unclear on before, it didn't seem like such a bad thing. As long as we all just accept that falling in love at first duet is a standard issue fairy-tale suspension-of-disbelief thing that need not resemble real life, that is. Other than that, well, she was singing about an actual specific prince that she had met, who had declared his love to her in a serious way, who was actually riding around seeking to be reunited with her. And, she was not idle, even as she was singing the song, but was actively making life brighter for those who were actually around her and were helping her.

I enjoyed the dwarves and how sweet and funny they were, especially Grumpy. Animated proof, if you will, that one must sometimes look beyond the obvious to see what people are really like. He was grumpy, he seemed mean and unfriendly, but he was a big softy underneath all that.

And Snow White said her prayers before she went to bed.

Godly Sorrow

"For even if I made you grieve with my letter, I do not regret it—though I did regret it, for I see that that letter grieved you, though only for a while. As it is, I rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because you were grieved into repenting. For you felt a godly grief, so that you suffered no loss through us. For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death."

The difference between a godly sorrow and a worldly sorrow is important. I have heard it described as the difference between being sorry you did something wrong and being sorry about getting caught or receiving consequences, but in my experience there is more to the story than that.

When I do something wrong, or, more often, when I omit doing something that I should do, or I live in a way that is less than full and complete, when I fail to try my best, I often feel genuinely sorrowful or regretful or guilty about it, but in a completely unhelpful way. When I feel down on myself or useless or discouraged in a way that only leads me to go further down the same path, it's not a godly sorrow. If I feel bad about being unproductive and it makes me procrastinate even more, it really is the action (or lack of action) that I feel bad about, not the consequences, but instead of motivating me those feelings are de-motivating me, making me retreat further and further from the real world and the things that I should be doing and facing and thinking about and deciding and pursuing.

So when I think about the difference between a godly sorrow and a worldly sorrow I think of what direction it propels someone in--towards salvation without regret, or towards death?

A godly sorrow about a situation, an action, an inaction, an attitude, or a habit leads to genuine attempts to remedy what is wrong, genuine turning away from the wrong or harmful things, and to genuine prayer for divine assistance towards looking at one's life in the right way.

If I have a prayer right now, it is that God give me a godly sorrow about my fears and inactions, so that I may be empowered to fight them instead of allowing them to increase their hold on me.