As I said in another blog, I’ve been reading Orthodoxy by G.K. Chesterton. I’m quite taken with his reasoning and his illustrations. I want to share an excerpt from the chapter entitled Ethics of Elfland. He’s discussing the ethical lessons he learned from fairy tales as a young child, which seemed more reasonable to him than any wisdom found in the “modern” books he read in his adult years. He’s responding to the modern notions of rebellion for the sake of rebellion– the casting off of all forms of restraint for the sake of personal “liberty”.
This is the tone of fairy tales, and it is certainly not lawlessness or even liberty… Fairy godmothers seem…strict… Cinderella received a coach out of Wonderland and a coachman out of nowhere, but she received a command–that she should be back by twelve. Also, she had a glass slipper; and it cannot be a coincidence that glass is so common a substance in folklore. …
For this thin glitter of glass everywhere is the expression of the fact happiness is bright but brittle… I felt and feel that life is as bright as a diamond but as brittle as a window-pane…Strike a glass, and it will not endure an instant; simply do not strike it, and it will endure a thousand years. Such, it seemed, was the joy of man… on earth; the happiness depended on not doing something which you could at any moment do and which, very often, it was not obvious why you should not do it. Now, the point here is that to me this did not seem unjust.
If Cinderella says, “How is it that I must leave the ball at twelve?” her godmother might answer, “How is it that you are going there till twelve?”
For this reason… I did not feel disposed to resist any rule merely because it was mysterious.
Now, Chesterton is loquacious, so this is a very short version of his lessons from the nursery but I feel it is profound in its simplicity. And, the truth shared is powerful! When God told Adam and Eve to refrain from eating the fruit of one tree so that they might live, it may have seemed mysterious to them, but it was for their good. And, every instruction that has come to us from God since that time has also been for our good. When we resist His instructions and break His “glass” commandments, we shatter our own hopes of happiness. Look around. Look within.
Rebels are losers! Choose life!
- The Fairy Tale Detectives (allisonsbookbag.wordpress.com)