It only takes a moment to take a cinder girl out of a hovel. Just a moment – and LOVE.

 

Over, and over again; we see the mystery: We struggle in obscurity; we battle insignificance; we weary with the tedium of life’s load; we chafe under the tyranny, the insolence, the pride and bigotry around us. And then suddenly; marvelously, wonderfully, a light in our darkness; a warmth floods the caverns of our heart; someone, with eager expectation on his face, and arms wide open, stands in front of you. The mice have turned to horses; the pumpkin into an exquisite coach; the cinder dress into a beautiful gown; and in a moment; and because of love, we become “a new creature.” We thrill to the moment; the music plays and we… we could have danced all night.

 

And so the story is true – must be true; so many witnesses can’t be wrong. It happens to us; it happens to others; we witness it over, and over, and over again; so it really, really, REALLY must be true. Except; there must be something funny going on. My happiness barely made it through the night. The “moonlight kisses seem to cool in the warmth of the sun.” Did I invent a ‘lover’s dream? Did I make it up? Is it just a fairy tale after all?

 

No my friend; the story is true; all true; everything, that is, except the very last line. The line about “living happily ever after.” That last line needs a little more explaining; but wait; Let me start from the beginning and tell you how the real story of Cinderella, takes place.

 

Down the hill, across the river and the tracks, past the business section and the factories; on the far side of town, opposite from the palace; stands a simple hovel; it is where you live. Upstairs, in a corner of the attic is a room; your room, with your ‘own little corner and your own little chair.’ Your room also has a little window; a window that looks through a flowering tree beside the house; looks over the neat little flower beds and out beyond the pumpkin patch. In the flowering tree is a dainty little nest. In the nest there sits a dainty little blue bird. At four-thirty each and every morning the little blue bird hops to the edge of his nest; preens his feathers and polishes his beak, and then, cocking his head to one side, he starts warbling the sweetest little tune. (“Oh! That’s good,” you say. “Not so,” says I.)

 

At four-thirty, each and every morning, you wake up; you let out one tremendous yawn, you slip out from under the covers, your feet hit the cold, cold floor, you pick up your cinder dress and slip it over your shoulders, you wearily make your way downstairs to your life of servitude; at four-thirty, each and every morning.

 

And then the miracle takes place; ‘strangers and foreigners, those from the other side of town are ‘made nigh’ through the all-compassing love and grace of the prince. The slipper fits; the herald’s summons is urgent; the table is set and the orchestra is all tuned up; you have a moment, only a moment to pack your bags. What to take, what to leave behind? In that moment of sheer idiocy, the most familiar object in your room, somehow, winds up in your travel bag.

 

From the hovel to the palace; from loneliness and isolation, to closeness and fellowship; from ‘cruel bondage’ to ‘glorious liberty;’ your corner in the attic is replaced with the sumptuous quarters of the prince; the rough hewn floor gives way to shining ivory; instead of your own little chair, now there is an enormous padded recliner; and the little window in the wall has become a wide open bay window highlighting the large flower gardens beyond.

 

You have feasted; you have danced; and sometime in the morning you made your way to the wonderfully appointed bed of the prince. Everything has changed. “The old is gone the new has come.”

 

Nothing has changed!

 

Outside the large bay window stands a large flowering tree; in the tree is a dainty little nest; in the nest there sits a dainty little blue bird. At four-thirty each and every morning the little blue bird hops to the edge of his nest; preens his feathers and polishes his beak, and then, cocking his head to one side, he starts warbling the sweetest little tune. It is four-thirty in the morning of your nuptial night; your eyes fly wide open; you let out one tremendous yawn; not wanting to disturb the prince beside you, you slip out from under the covers; your feet hit the cold, cold floor; you shiver as an early morning breeze drifts across your shoulders; you dig around in your travel bag and come out with your cinder dress; you slip it on and quietly make your way to the ante-room. There, in the ante-room, stands the spent fireplace with its familiar tools. It is four-thirty in the morning – and nothing has changed.

 

It only takes a moment to take a cinder girl out of a hovel; living ‘ever after’ in the joyous liberty of the prince means unlearning some very conflicting habits; habits, that usually take a lot of time and effort to break.

 

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.   Galatians 5:1 (NIV)

 

 

Jonas J. Borntreger

6/15/2007

©2007jjb

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