I’m not sure how much the Disney film Beauty and The Beast shaped me growing up. I loved it as a kid, but I preferred Sleeping Beauty. For some reason the older I have gotten the more I have loved this dark fairytale. At first I related more with Bell and then I realized that I even related with The Beast. The more relationships and deep friendships I have been through the more I understand the depth of the allegory. Every one of us has a West Wing that we don’t want people to know about, but in order for any of us to find true love and to have a deep relationship our skeleton closets must be exposed. Every time I am still baffled by the beauty of this story. Only someone who truly loves you can expose your dark secrets and accept you. This story has come to mean more and more to me as my life continues. I just wonder how much it will mean to me in ten years.
One of my siblings bought this song when I was 13. I was going through those first phases of unrequited love, dabbling in something I’d always dreamed of but knew nothing about. I thought it was a sweet song, but perhaps a little twisted. The line that bothered me was, “I’ve had you so many times but somehow I want more.” A few years later my sister said something that completely changed my opinion of the song. “It’s like what Jesus says to us.” And all the lyrics suddenly fell into place. “I know that goodbye means nothing at all, comes back and makes me catch her every time she falls.” Of course Jesus has loved us so many times, had us cheat on him a thousand times and he still wants us. He knows “where you hide alone in your car, know all of the things that make you who you are.” Ever since I heard that interpretation of the song, though I doubt Adam Levine meant to write it that way, I’ve listened to this song as a love song from Christ. “Please don’t try so hard to say goodbye.”
Lord Of The Rings – Books by J. R. R. Tolkien – Films by Peter Jackson
I grew up listening to my sister read Lord of The Rings to me. When the movies first came out I was extremely excited but not allowed to watch them due to my young age. I begged my mother to let me see them, but she wouldn’t budge. When I turned ten I triumphantly watched all three. Something about their epic glory set my heart on fire. I’ve been enchanted by the mystery of the elves, and the wild adventure of the horsemen of Rohan. The story has shaped me in many ways that I still don’t understand, but I look forward to re-reading them and delving into what it is that inspires me so much.
Ella Enchanted – Gail Carson Levine
I first read Ella Enchanted when I was 15. I’d seen the movie a year before and enjoyed it, but everything changed when I read the original text. Instead of a silly chick-flick the story was a wonderful retelling of Cinderella. I immediately related with Ella on a thousand levels. I’ve never been in love with a prince or under an obedience curse, but I have been one of a strong conscience and brought up in a Christian home where disobedience was close to the ultimate sin. My philosophy was always “don’t ask, don’t tell.” If they hadn’t forbidden me to do it, I could just do it under the radar. If they ever did forbid anything I wouldn’t go against it. This was mostly about things like eating chocolate chips and being on the internet late at night, but it was a big deal for a kid. On a deeper level Ella’s determination to keep going against all odds inspired me to continue against the odds of life.
I feel I must first begin this paragraph by saying that I don’t think there is even and oboe in this song and whoever came up with such a name must not have been thinking. This song captures the essence of the classic and antique; something which has long enchanted me. I always feel like I am dancing in an old ballroom auditorium, wearing an opulent ball gown. It features classical piano and orchestra that seems to hint at something magnificent about to take place. Yet it ends with a rushing toward something, and a crying question. Is it something good? Or is it something horrible? With almost every good thing there is that breath before the plunge. Will this leap of faith bring you to glory or death? The ending of the song swirls with wonder. What will the answer be?
This movie came out around my seventeenth birthday and largely defined many events that took place in my life that year. I’d never seen a movie in which the heroine reminded me so much of myself. I’ve been known for having long golden hair, but even that was a drop in the bucket compared to how similar our personalities are. The storyline is very similar to that of Beauty and The Beast, featuring a girl who has longed to see the world finally going out into it. I’ve quite literally spent most of my life home schooled living on a mountain thirty minutes from town. While I’ve certainly had more socializing than Rapunzel, I do relate to her at times. When I was seventeen I certainly related a great deal. I was reaching that age when I began longing to spread my wings and find my own way in the world. That year I actually did travel away from home and branch out doing something I’d never done before. It was the complete experience of the starlit romantic night with the almost kiss. Differing from the movie though, there was no near death experience or romantic resolution. My love story has not reached its height or climax, but Rapunzel’s story has inspired me and still does inspire me to follow my dreams and to see the world.
Sex, God – Rob Bell
The title of this book is quite a misnomer for those who take the name as what to expect from the book. Rob Bell’s premise is that marriage is a picture of heaven and that there is an inseparable correlation between any connection we have with another human being and our connection with God. In this book he explores how humans relate to each other and how God relates to us. This book forever changed my opinion of human relationships. It was not so much that my mind made a huge leap, but this book helped consolidate a number of wandering thoughts in my mind and gave them the Biblical root they were seeking. Out of all these thoughts Rob Bell states something breath taking in the middle of the book. He reminds us that being loved, being in a relationship does not define our value. You are God’s creation and that above anything else defines your value. Because of that you are worth dying for.
My personality is a type that is friendly and happy when I’m around others. I try to make sure that everyone around me is enjoying himself or herself. Often I appear extremely joyful around others, and yet there is no part of me that is constantly perfectly happy. This song puts together so many of the prayers that I find myself saying to God at the end of the day. While I seem chipper and like my life is perfect around people I know that life is pain. I know that by my own power I can do nothing. I am no more than a wrecked ship on the shore of God’s mercy. I am a beggar at his door.
My sister purchased this song after I had been through a breakup. I was fighting to find a reason to live, a reason to keep going when I’d lost six months worth of dedication, planning, and dreaming up a future. She put it on my ipod and got me to listen to it when I woke up. I would stand in my closet drinking coffee and searching through my clothes listening to these words over and over. There’s a fresh feeling to this song, like a bucket of cold water in the face. It’s a bit sudden, shocking, but invigorating. The words to this song remind me that God is in control, that this is His world, His creation and that even if I’m in a horrible place He will redeem it. God is the one who is making all things new, even the hell of this fallen world.
I’ve never been one to love in a guarded fashion. If I love someone, I love without holding back. This song expresses the vulnerability and overwhelming nature of such a type of love. The kind of relationship that I look for is one on the deepest levels. This song conveys the closeness and the depth of such a love. To me, aside from Christ’s love, true love is the ultimate healing of hurts that we receive in this life. This song displays very much the way that I approach a relationship and what I look for in one.