C.S. Lewis loved fairy tales. Not just because he was a writer who loved to study literature, but because he thought they were important. I’m sitting here watching the new TV show Once Upon a Time and I think I understand what he was getting at. I think they really are important. I think they’re meant to remind us that the life we’re living is a part of a much bigger story. A story of good versus evil, and whereas it’s important to understand that we’re not the main characters in the story, we are important. We’re the supporting cast…and in this story, for some reason, the Good Guy chose the supporting cast to be His army. So if the bad guy (and he’s really much worse than any bad guy ever written) wants to stay in the game, his only option is to take us all out. He already knows he’ll never win this thing, and he even knows that, for him, it’s going to end very very badly - but the darkness in him is so dark that he keeps fighting because his purpose in life is to steal, kill, and destroy. So…since he knows he can’t destroy his main nemesis, he goes after the army that he CAN destroy, and in hurting them, he can at least make the Good Guy suffer. Because the truth is that the Good Guy loves this ragtag army that He’s created. Loves them enough to join them in the thick of the battle and even die for them.
So if you’re fighting a war you know you’re going to lose, but you want to inflict as much pain as possible on your opponent, you figure out a plan that will have maximum impact; something that will take out the greatest number of your opponents in the worst way possible. I think that part of his brilliant plan (he’s bad but nobody ever said he was stupid) is to distract and confuse all the supporting characters, because if you can distract an entire army from the war in front of them, they lose.
In the show Once Upon a Time, the Evil Queen curses all the characters in the fairy tale and sends them to a town called Storybrooke where there are no happy endings and nobody can remember who they really are. Sounds vaguely familiar...no happy endings and we can’t remember who we really are. Actually it FEELS vaguely familiar, and as I watched the show I couldn’t help making some connections. Like maybe, in this world, part of the curse is simply that we forget how valuable we are and who we belong to. And maybe our lousy circumstances are only a desperate attempt to make us think that the Good Guy is really the bad guy and that He couldn’t possibly love us. What if the truth is that we're an important part of this battle and the easiest way to take us out of the fight is to get us so focused on ourselves and everything we hate about our lives that we're no longer any good to anyone? Or what if, for some of us, the mundane, boring, every-day stuff has made us so dull and hopeless we’ve forgotten that we’re supposed to be on the alert and battle-ready instead of numbing out in front of our computers or TVs? What if hopelessness, desperation and despair are the enemy’s most useful weapons? What if all it takes are a few little well placed lies, like land mines, and whole battalions or societies are wiped out? The “what ifs” keep coming as I process this show, and for you maybe a totally different set of “what ifs” come to mind, but I think it’s important that we follow these thoughts to the truth. And maybe along the way we’ll remember who we really are and get back into the fight, because the one thing I haven’t forgotten in the muddle that is my mind these days, is who wins this fight in the end…and whose team I’m actually on.