upon a time, as the story goes, there was a beautiful maiden, an absolute
She might be the daughter of a king or a common servant girl, but we know
she is a princess at heart. She is young with a youth that seems eternal.
Her flowing hair, her deep eyes, her luscious lips, her sculpted figure—she
makes the rose blush for shame, the Sun is pale compared to her light.
Her heart is golden, her love as true as an arrow. But this lovely maiden
is unattainable, the prisoner of an evil power who holds her captive in
a dark tower.
Only a champion may win her,
only the most valiant, daring and brave warrior has a chance of setting
her free. Against all hope he comes; with cunning and raw courage he lays
siege to the tower and the sinister
one who holds her. Much blood is shed on both sides; three times the knight
is thrown back, but three times he rises again. Eventually the sorcerer
is defeated; the dragon falls, the giant is slain.
The maiden is his; through
his valor he has
won her heart. On horseback they ride off to his cottage by a stream in
the woods for a rendezvous
that gives passion and romance new meaning.
Why is this story so deep
in our psyche? Every little girl knows the fable without ever being told.
She dreams one day her prince will come. Little boys rehearse their part
with wooden swords and cardboard shields. And one day the boy, now a young
man, realizes that he wants to be the one to win the beauty. Fairy tales,
literature, music and movies all borrow from this mythic
theme. Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Helen of Troy, Romeo and Juliet, Anthony
and Cleopatra, Arthur and Guinevere, Tristan and Isolde. From ancient fables
to the latest blockbuster, the theme of a strong man coming to rescue a
beautiful woman is universal to human nature. It is written in our hearts,
one of the core desires of every man and every woman.
I met Stasi in high school,
but it wasn't until late in college that our romance
began. Up till that point we were simply friends. When one of us came home
for the weekend, we'd give the other a call just to 'hang out', see a movie,
go to a party. Then one summer night something shifted. I dropped by to
see Stasi; she came sauntering down the hall barefoot, wearing a pair of
blue jeans and a white blouse with lace around the collar and the top buttons
undone. The Sun had lightened her hair and darkened her skin and how is
it I never realized she was the beautiful maiden before?
We kissed that night and
though I'd kissed a few girls in my time I had never tasted a kiss like
that. Needless to say, I was history. Our friendship had turned to love
without my really knowing how or why, only that I wanted to be with this
woman for the rest of my life.(*).
As far as Stasi was concerned, I was her knight.
Why is it that ten years
later I wondered if I even wanted to be married to her anymore? Divorce
was looking like a pretty decent option for the both of us. So many couples
wake one day to find they no longer love each other. Why do most of us
get lost somewhere between "once upon a time" and "happily ever after"?
Most passionate romances seem to end with evenings in front of the TV.
Why does the dream seem so unattainable, fading from view even as we discover
it for ourselves? Our culture has grown cynical about the fable. Don Henley
poisoned by these fairy tales.".There
are dozens of books out to refute the myth, books like Beyond Cinderella
and The Death of Cinderella.
No, we have not been poisoned
by fairy tales.(a
very few are good).and
they are not merely 'myths'. Far from it. The truth is, we have not taken
them seriously enough. As Roland Hein says."Myths
are stories which confront us with something transcendent and eternal".
In the case of our fair maiden,
we have overlooked two very crucial aspects to that myth. On the one hand,
none of us ever really believed the sorcerer was real. We thought we could
have the maiden without a fight. Honestly, most of us guys thought our
biggest battle was asking her out. And second,
we have not understood the tower and its relation to her wound, the damsel
is in distress. If masculinity has come under assault, femininity has been
brutalized. Eve is the crown of creation, remember? She embodies the exquisite
beauty and the exotic mystery of God in a way that nothing else in all
creation even comes close to. And so she is the special target of the Evil
One; he turns his most vicious malice against her. If he can destroy her
or keep her captive, he can ruin the story.
Every woman can tell you
about her wound, like Stasi. Some came with violence, others came with
neglect. Just as every little boy is asking one question, every little
girl is, as well. But her question isn't so much about her strength.
No, the deep cry of a little
girl's heart is, am I lovely? Every woman needs to know that she is exquisite
and exotic and
chosen. This is core to her identity, the way she bears the image of God.(what
does 'image of God' mean?). Will
you pursue me? Do you delight in me? Will you fight for me? And like every
little boy, she has taken a wound as well. The wound strikes right at the
core of her heart of beauty and leaves a devastating
message with it. No! You're not beautiful and no one will really fight
for you. Perhaps like your wound, hers almost always came from her father.
A little girl looks to her
father to know if she is lovely. The power he has to cripple or to bless
is just as significant to her as it is to his son. If he's a violent man
he may defile her verbally or sexually. The stories I've heard from women
who have been abused would tear your heart out.
First Janet, then Stasi:
Janet was molested by her
father when she was three; around the age of seven he showed her brothers
how to do it. The assault continued until she moved away to college. What
is a violated woman to think about her beauty? Am I lovely? The message
is, No ... you are dirty. Anything attractive about you is dark and evil.
The assault continues as she grows up, through violent men and passive
men. She may be stalked; she may be ignored. Either way, her heart is violated
and the message is driven farther in 'you are not desired, you will not
be protected, no one will fight for you'.