Our daughter and granddaughter share our home with us and we live in a popular type of home called a split foyer that has two complete living areas upstairs and downstairs. It is what makes our arrangement work. While passing through their area on my way to the laundry room the other evening, I was asked by my granddaughter if I wanted to sit and watch a movie with them. I had so many things to do that my first inclination was to thank her and gently decline her offer. But I decided to sit for a moment and watch a small bit of the movie.
Maleficent was the chosen movie for the night. I wasn't particularly thrilled with the thought of watching a "kid" movie, but it grabbed me from the beginning and 90 minutes or so later, I was so glad I had been invited and had decided to stay.
The storyline was a departure from the traditional Sleeping Beauty story. Told from Aurora's point of view, we discover a different side to Maleficent. If you haven't seen it, stop now because there are some spoilers here. Maleficent is not quite as evil as we have been led to believe. Instead she is a woman hurt and destroyed by someone she loved and who she thought loved her. Betrayed and devastated she uses rage and revenge as her defenses. Bitterness takes root and as an act of revenge she uses her words to curse an innocent child.....the offspring of the one who hurt her so badly.
The original fairytale insists that true loves first kiss will break the curse placed on Aurora, but in this version it is simply love that sets them all free. Maleficent reverts back to her true self slowly as she watches the child she cursed grow and play, day after day and year after year. And as her defenses crumble, her heart is once gain endowed with generosity and love. But she finds that words spoken cannot be taken back.
It was at this point in the movie that I was deeply moved because I know I have been in that situation many times as so many of us have. We have spoken words that came from a place of anger, jealousy, hatred or fear. We have said things that cannot be unheard or unspoken. The hearer has been injured by the curses spoken and the person speaking is injured as well. Sometimes it even feels good to get the last word or even a jab at someone who has betrayed us or caused us harm. But the curse cannot be revoked and the wounds must heal if possible. Once the emotion driven situation has returned to normal and we realize what we have done, it takes so much to apologize and try to reverse the damage caused by thoughtlessly spoken words.
As most fairy tales do, this story ended well. Maleficent's curse was eventually broken by true love. A love that seeks the best for others and has forgiveness at the core. It is a wise person who knows how to keep a guard at their mouth and think before they speak, but if the damage has been done confession is good for the soul and forgiveness heals the forgiven and the one extending grace.
But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger....
May we live by this rule!