Too often, modern movies train kids to pay lip service to a very mealy-mouthed kind of alternate wish fulfillment. The theme goes like this: here is a very special girl, who doesn’t quite fit in. She runs into some kind of trouble, almost screws things up, but eventually shows some moxie, and things turn out well.
But here’s the important part: the heroine (it’s usually a heroine, not a hero) doesn’t get what she wanted originally, but she gains something much, much better—usually some vague understanding that she, just by being who she is, is already in possession of the finest of gifts—the gift of herself.
And the moral of this story is . . . nothing.
She got me thinking about happy endings and why they are necessary for children. Another thing that’s wrong with “you had your heart’s desire all along” is that our heart’s deepest desire is for heaven. As St. Augustine said, we are restless until we rest in God.
It seems to me that fairy tales whet children’s appetite for something more, something better, a world more beautiful than this one. Of course, we’re supposed to want something more. If we resign ourselves to be happy with what we have, we’ll never strive to get to heaven, we’ll never look for God.
All of us are crippled and we are not ok in our deformity. We need a healer. Desperately. Christ came to heal us. Fairy tale happy endings point to the great happy ending that we should all be striving for.