Wednesday, December 12, 2007


Dreaming in a Postmodern World

Can a storybook romance survive in our real world?

In the cynical, postmodern world of today, the skeptics would say "no, it can't." Real life seems to indicate that "happily ever after" is an impossible, foolish dream. Prince Charming does not fall out of the tree into your lap, and true love is not something that happens overnight.

In a sense, the skeptics are right. But Enchanted, the newest fairy tale movie from Disney, shows us that in the postmodern age, we might need to redefine what we mean by a storybook romance.

In this story, Giselle (Amy Adams) is sent to a very modern New York City from her cartoon paradise. Her prince (James Marsden) chases after her, but finds her too late; she is already smitten with newfound love Robert (Patrick Dempsey), who also happens to be engaged to a lovely, real-life New York woman (Idina Menzel).

What makes Enchanted more than a fairy tale is that Giselle and the Prince must let go of certain fairy tale misconceptions (that true love requires work and mutuality instead of being an overnight sensation; that evil henchmen aren't just evil, they might also be misunderstood or neglected; or that anger and frustration aren't just emotions experienced by the "bad guys" but that we all have good and bad moments throughout our lives).

On the other hand, Robert (and other "real world" characters) learn some valuable lessons: that chivalry and romance is still honorable in our world; that we must let go of our insecurities to truly experience life and love; and most importantly, that we cannot be afraid to dream.

In a cynical world, dreaming is considered foolish. But we must remember that the world is built on dreamers. From Joseph with his coat in the Hebrew Scriptures to Joseph with his child Jesus in the New Testament, from the dreams of Columbus to Martin Luther King Jr., we are inspired to follow and look up to the dreamers of history.

Whether we dream big or small, whether we dream of career or marriage, or whether we dream about our destiny or a peaceful destiny for the whole world, we should not be afraid to dream.

"Ask and it will be given to you," said Jesus, "Seek and you will find." (Matt. 7:7).

If you call it praying, or if you call it dreaming, or both, Jesus tells us to do it no matter what the odds might be. Perhaps our answers and our dreams won't look exactly as we envisioned them (for Giselle in Enchanted, she dreamed about true love's kiss, but it wasn't from the prince she thought it would be from). We also have to be humble enough to accept the fulfillment of our dreams as God intends it to be.

Enchanted challenges us to live our lives with one foot planted in reality and one foot on the clouds. With reliance on God to answer our dreams and prayers, we can always be assured that, one way or another, we will live "happily ever after."

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