The ballroom hushes at the elegant entrance of the young lady and the swish of her electric blue dress. Around the room she twirls, her gilded curls whipping the air, the clink of her glass shoes echoing across the floor. As the prince lifts her up in time with the rhythmic waltz, her cheeks burn with the light of gratitude and wonder. Who is she to be singled out?
The Cinderella story is simple. It’s been told a hundred times, and it still rings true. The beauty of this story is that it can be everyone’s story. Its heroine is found hidden in the faces of a hundred unsung women, who are not too proud to avoid shaking in their skin a little in the presence of royalty. It’s the story of the everyday girl, the very un-heroine-like girl, the one who finds herself caught up in something very grand and wonders why.
The film that opened in theaters two weeks ago is a beautifully simplistic retelling of the story of Cinderella. She is charming in many ways. In the way her braided gold hair falls, in the way her blue silk shoes know how to dance, in the way she croons “Lavender blue, dilly-dilly.” But her real beauty lies deeper. We see it in the way her heart desires the well-being of her father, even when it hurts to see the memory of her mother fade. Her spirit is calm and patient, and her heart is still soft enough to forgive. Yet she’s not frail. She speaks truthfully with courage when she’s wronged but doesn’t dishonor people by calling them something that they’re not.
I wanted to write a few simple words to celebrate the Cinderellas I see around me every day – strong women whose lives are lived out of a place of inner peace that provides the way for bravery and sacrifice – sometimes so quiet that it’s almost invisible. But trust me, it’s not. These are ladies whose lives lighten the loads of others and whose words provide balms of healing. It’s their character and kindness of spirit that makes them beautiful, although each one was also created with uniquely pretty physical features. Most importantly, these ladies have the humility to see their weaknesses and know they are in need of rescue if they ever hope to enter the kingdom.
“To be seen as we truly are is the biggest risk we will ever take. Will we be enough as we really are?” (Cinderella, 2015)
And yes, they will enter the kingdom one day. Because who they really are is really enough. They will see the lights and feasting and dancing and fireworks and help lead the land with courage and kindness because their King has looked over their dirty faces and pronounced them “enough” – because he has a thing for forgetful, country girls who sometimes lose their shoes.
My ladies, you are seen and loved. I am honored to know you and call you my friends. Continue to have courage – and be kind!