Fairy Tales and Nightmares

Laura Jean Truman 

“I’ll still see all the beauty and truth and wisdom and kindness in a fairy tale about how love can save us all. But it’s hard not to be sad, and angry, too, that we live in a world that still doesn’t believe that love can save us all.”

My roommate just told me, “The world is not as simple as you want to make it. It would be easier if it was black and white, like you think it is.” My therapist has echoed this sentiment to me a million times. One of the big wounds I carry from growing up in an Evangelical church is the tendency to fall into the dichotomy of black and white thinking.

Holding tension is SO HARD!

I read this beautiful quote by Laura Jean Truman and my heart ached.

When I was a little girl I would tell you I thought Fairy Tales were bull shit. Into late adolescents I contended I did not want a Fairy Tale. I did not need some “Prince Charming” to rescue me. I raged. But the truth was I desperately wanted a Savior because I was living in a nightmare. I certainly did not want it to be Prince Charming because Prince Charming was the one who was sexually abusing me.

“Love can save us all.”

Is this true? I so deeply want it to be.

I have disconnected myself from the Evangelical Church quite a bit. So much so that I often get caught off guard when people still echo sentiments that women are not fit for leadership or that they actually believe in a “Left Behind” apocalypse or when I get a disapproving look for being gay or dropping the Fuck bomb.

There are still things that haunt me from my Evangelical upbringing. Not knowing how to hold tension is one of those things.

I can no longer deny that I want to live in a Fairy Tale. My therapist also tells me that Fairy Tales do not exist and even if they did I would not want to live in one. The truth is life is a mixture of Fairy Tales and Nightmares and lots of other in betweens.

Can love save us all? I believe it can. What happens when it does not? I am learning to sit in the tension. What the Hell does that mean?

It means I hold things loosely. Another thing my Evangelical background rails against. I grew up with a fear of being a heretic and burned at the stake. That sounds dramatic, but heretic was a phrase that was used often. There became a point in my life where it became clear to me God was bigger and nicer than a being that would excommunicate you because you believed differently than he/she did.

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These are pictures my therapist drew for me. The top left are the colors that represent “bad.” The bottom are the colors that represent “good.” The top right are both colors together. When I was growing up in my nightmare I thought I wanted the bottom picture. As my therapist pointed out the best and most fulfilling picture is the top right. good and bad co-existing together. This is how I live in the tension of Love has saved us all, but not yet.

 

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