I’ve been watching ABC’s new television series Once Upon a Time this winter. The series chronicles the plight of a band of fairy tale characters that have been cursed by a wicked queen.
Her curse has thrust them from their fairy tale kingdom into our world, stripped them of their memories of their former lives, and damned them to a life without a ‘happily ever after’.
They wander through life having forgotten who they are.
Not surprisingly, their days lack direction, their relationships easily crumble, and their work is rarely satisfying. But still, they dare to hope that life will get better.
Little Red Riding Hood hopes for recognition at work; Prince Charming hopes to be united with his true love, Snow White; and Jiminy Cricket hopes to help people do the right thing. Hope swells and sustains them, for a time. But then the sharp thorns of injustice and human fallibility puncture their hope, leaving them deflated and disappointed.
I can’t help but remember the wise observation from Proverbs when I watch these fairy tale characters flounder:
“Hope deferred makes the heart sick."
I wish this heart sickness were confined to fairyland. It is disease that can consume and devour, with the power to wolf down joy and drain life of its appeal.
It makes hope feel like a not-so-great thing.
And yet the apostle Paul reminds us that there is a hope that does not disappoint: