Tuesday, January 11, 2011
The Shrek Principle
I love movies. We generally don't go to them, we usually buy them when they come out in DVD because it is cheaper for us to buy the movie than it is for us to go to the movie in the theatre. Oh well. This past weekend, we all sat around and watched Shrek. Now, I know that some of you like it, and some of you don't. I am not trying to get in a discussion about the good, the bad, and the inappropriate. Although, if you want to, that is perfectly find with me. I actually enjoyed this final episode a lot. Probably because it reminded me of some great principles to point out to my kids. In the last episode of Shrek, I found so many things that reminded me of life. Only in cartoon form. In this movie, there is a brand new and very wicked villian. His name is Rumpelstiltskin. This character misleads Shrek into signing away a day of his life. Consequently, he ended up unknowing signing away the day he was born. For lack of a better way to describe it, this character sends Shrek to an alternate dimension where the ogre never met Fiona, and all the major characters have a slightly different personality. Shrek was tired of family life and wishing for things to be different. He wanted things to go back to the way they were before he ever had children. He wants to be a "real ogre".
Shrek makes a terrible decision and signs a contract that takes away one day from his past. A day that he won't even remember, in exchange for one day of being a "real ogre". The entire movie is about Shrek's quest to get back the one thing that was most important and he had never even realized it before. That one thing was true love. It was Shrek's happily ever after. The movie continues with Shrek trying to get back everything that he had so casually thrown away. He might have been tricked, but he realized that it was his own fault. The movie ends with Shrek embracing his friends and family and holding a new found appreciation for everything he has. He starts living truly, his own "happily ever after".
I hope, if you do not appreciate this type of cartoon humor, that you will listen to the lesson of the movie. I have come to see the value in this tale. Life happens to all of us. It has it' ups and downs, gives and takes, joys and sorrows. Sometimes, it can be so hard! Sometimes, we can get so involved with the existing in it, that we forget to be involved in the living of it. We forget to look and find our own "happily ever afters". There was a time in my life, when I dreamed a different dream. I saw happily ever after as having a perfect family, all doing the correct things, serving in the perfect callings, having a husband who supported me and loved me, having a clean house, well-behaved kids who worshipped the ground I walked on (ok, that might be a slight exaggeration!), having people look up to me, being the very best friend, and never making any mistakes.
Times have changed. I have had to change my dreams into something a little more realistic. Don't get me wrong, I would love to have all those things, but I have realized that my "happily ever after" doesn't contain only dreams. It contains people that I love, who love me back and need me in their lives. It contains messy, busy, happy, working, bickering, arguing, and loving people. I did end up with a husband who supports me and loves me, and sometimes my kids even like me too. But when I think about a life without any of those hard things, I think that I would be missing out on the greatest blessings of all.
To me, the Shrek principle is looking around you and realizing what you HAVE. It is seeing your blessings for what they are. It is dealing with the mountain of diapers and laundry and realizing that you are not going to be in exactly this place forever. It is realizing that our greatest blessings can sometimes be our most difficult trials. Each of our "Happily Ever After's" will be unlike anyone else's. It doesn't do us any good to compare our own lives with those around us.
So, today, I am making a vow to appreciate my own life. To realize what I really have. To see all around me, those marvelous gifts that God has given me. My "Happily Ever After" has always been here. It was just up to me to open my eyes and see.