Have Courage, Be Kind

It was heartening to take the girls to a movie with a message that was worth hearing. Cinderella was always going to be fun; you expect the sparkle (blue dress and crystal slipper), the loveliness of a girl unjustly made into a servant by unkind relatives, and the righting of that wrong when the (improbable but wonderful) Fairy Godmother appears. And the marrying of a Prince, who recognises true beauty when he sees it...

But this version of Cinderella sought to delve a little deeper. Was there something about Cinderella's character that warranted her eventual rise to attending the ball and marrying the prince?
Why yes, there was.

She had more kindness in her little finger, than most people possess in their whole body! Her dying mother tells her this and tells her that this quality holds power - power that Ella can use for good. Ella chooses to live with these qualities at the forefront of her mind and actions. And as her circumstances deteriorate, it is heartening to see that her spirit is not broken.

Ella even notices and cares for the smallest of the small, the mice who scurry around her shabby chic house (which incidentally, brought out lots of decorating ideas in me - now, just off to find a castle!) Even the mice deserve a teacup table and lacy cloth on which to eat their tidbits.

And just because hunting is what is always done, does not mean that is what always should be done! Yay, Cinderella is against the cruel hunting of the great stag, and not afraid to tell the dashing young man (who yes, is the prince) in the forest her opinion.

Cinderella has lived with great sorrow - the plethora of parents dying in this movie was a little shocking for my soft-hearted eight year old! But instead of becoming embittered, or nasty, or mean - like her stepmother (M'am) and stepsisters - Cinderella has chosen to see the good in the world, and in the people around her.

The difference between being beautiful on the inside (Cinderella) and having beauty on the outside while being ugly on the inside (the Stepmother and sisters) is a point well made. Somehow a little more pointed than the easy to dislike caricature of ugly stepsisters (both inside and out). And the point is again well made when we are introduced to the hideous hag (Helena Bonham Carter does this sooooooo well!!) who Cinderella, though shocked, is still instantly able to show kindness towards.

When the hag transforms into the Fairy Godmother, we see that Ella's kindness and courage has been rewarded, just at the time when faced with massive disappointment and rejection, Ella is questioning whether kindness and courage are worth the effort.

Reminded me how these qualities of kindness and courage are what followers of Jesus also aspire to. Jesus was the ultimate role model in showing kindness and love to the people the world loved the least. He accepted where others rejected and welcomed the unlovely into his arms.

And as Easter is upon us I'm in awe of the courage it must have taken for Jesus to obey his Heavenly Father and submit to such a cruel death. Yes it was to save the world, but did that make it any easier? It's a message worth telling, because it's about a love and courage that is life changing. And world changing. And I think our world needs to know. Don't you?



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