I watched this movie with my little guys on Sunday night.
"The best Disney movie yet," the reviews said. In addition, some of the boys' very favorite people have claimed this as their newest favorite flick. Well, by all means. Pop the popcorn. Let's snuggle in.
If you haven't seen it, it's the story of Rapunzel, with the classic Disney brilliance. She is born a beautiful princess, but on the day of her birth, a witch steals her out of her cradle in the castle, hungry and greedy for the power in her golden hair. She wisks her off to a tall tower, where Rapunzel spends the rest of her days, forbidden to leave.
As her 18th birthday draws near, Rapunzel wishes to leave, to see the world, to venture out, to know more. Her "mother," the evil witch who has betrayed her from the start, forbids her to leave. And so Rapunzel is left with only one option: to venture out on her own, to steal away, to see what this world might have for her.
I have to tell you... I identified with Rapunzel, more than a little.
As I watched, the parallels began to unfold in my mind.
Grief is my tower. Holding me captive.
Just as the witch fed lies to Rapunzel to keep her imprisoned, so does the Enemy plant lies within me to keep me from spreading my wings.
"You're not safe. You're not smart enough. You can't do it. Just stay inside. You're safe in this world of darkness. This is where you belong."
And yet I beg to leave. Not to leave Robb behind, but to embrace the joy and newness that might be waiting on the other side of this healing.
And everyday, Grief and I exchange a silent dialogue. "Can you set me free today? Can I take Robb in my heart and venture outside the tower?"
And often, Grief says no. And sometimes I give in. And I live in darkness of another day, the chains of withheld wishes and broken dreams, the belief that I'm really safest if I don't try anymore.
Still, on stronger days, I fight back. I say, "Not today. You don't win today. I'll take him in my heart, and I'll do this thing. Back off, you. Today, I say yes."
There is a scene in the movie, shortly after she leaves the tower, when adorable Rapunzel is torn between her conflicting emotions. "I'm freeee!... This is horrible! What was I thinking?! ... This is the Best Day Ever!... I'm a despicable person... I love today!..."
Back and forth she bounces, in her mind and on the screen.
I get this, too.
The conflicting emotions, the mess in my head: "Robb would want me to do this. But I'm doing it without him. But he would be proud of my courage. But I wish to tell him about it. But it feels good to make a decision, but he might have made it differently. But if I'm happy, then I'm not sad. And if I'm not sad, then maybe I'm forgetting. And if I'm forgetting, then I'm not faithful. And if I'm not faithful, I'm not keeping a promise. But it feels good to breathe fresh, clean, joyful air. But my heart burns within me. This is a beautiful day... oh my, what on earth was I thinking."
I get you, Rapunzel. I get you.
There is certainly no power in my goldilocks, but there is a stream of joy that runs within me, a city of God that brings gladness. And that, that right there, is what the Enemy wishes to hold captive. High in a tower. Locked up tight.
In the end of the movie (and I don't think I'm ruining it for you), she finds herself. She finds joy, she dances, she laughs, and she is reunited with those she had lost for so many years. She learns she was the lost princess, all along.
I'm not at the end of my story - far from it. But I'm in pursuit of myself, of the self God has for me - the glory he has for himself - in this journey of leaving the tower.
"Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair."
I believe today, I shall.
I promise to try.