As a child, I remember hearing an older man tell his sweet wife, "Honey, I love you enough to wrestle a bear for you. The only problem is, there aren't any bears in our neighborhood."
We all laughed, but I've never forgotten his comment or the earnestness of his desire to prove his love.
Stories like "The Chronicles of Narnia" or "The Secret Garden" become classics because of our human hunger for their magic. Our minds love to escape to great lands and our hearts swell with the tales of noble feats. Then we close the book and look at a pile of dirty dishes.
It can feel like all of the heroic, powerful ways to "prove" our love, to live courageously, to write a grand life story are things of the past or of fantasy lands. There are so few (as in no!) continents left to conquer, so few knights charging about on horses, so few bears to wrestle.
And yet ....When you look with different eyes, you see that all of the great themes of love, passion, pain, anger, fear, courage still play out around us every day. They just look very very different.
* Instead of fearing poisonous snakes, we may recoil from a nasty political debate.
* Instead of weeping over the death of a warrior prince, we grieve the plight of a refugee child.
* Instead of huddling under blankets while enemies circle our tent, we lie awake in the night worrying about bills.
* Instead of fleeing a plague, we hold a loved one's hand during chemo.
* Instead of discovering a new land, we pursue a dream filled with scary unknowns
* Instead of wrestling a bear, we battle negative influences in our teenager's life. (I think a bear might be friendlier!)
Our battles are less with monsters and dragons and more with our own minds and hearts. But that does not make them any less significant!
Our stories are no less brave or beautiful.
All great stories are born in struggle. Without hard, dangerous, heart-breaking moments, there are no heroes. We do not need to escape to some fantasy world to experience the magic our hearts long for.
Indeed, THIS world is filled with the stuff of the best tales ever written.
When we look at our own lives through the magic of story, we can see the sunlight slanting through our window as mystical. The mundane routine of our days carries the same potential for deeper meaning. Our fears and obstacles offer the opportunity for our own hero's journey.
My daily life requires the same courage, the same heart, and the same love as a fairytale heroine galloping through a thicket with hair streaming behind. Don't be fooled by these sweatpants and this frazzled ponytail.
Through every moment where I choose to see beauty, to face my own dangers, and to love well, I am writing my own enchanted story.