I have recently been rewatching one of my favorite TV shows, Once Upon a Time. If you haven’t heard of it, I’ll give you a quick run-down. Fairytale characters live in a place called the Enchanted Forest. The Evil Queen casts a curse that brings them to a place without magic, our world. The characters are thrown into the modern world and their memories of the fairytale world are taken away. The only person that can break the curse is Emma, the daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming, who was sent to our world before the curse was enacted.
Throughout the series, Emma finds herself annoyed with her parents for always being able to find the good amid terrible things happening. Emma herself focused on the negatives. Snow White and Prince Charming focused on the good that was still happening. In years past, I have always sided with Emma. How could her parents still be so joyful?
Season 4 of the show introduces Princess Anna and Queen Elsa. Anna talks about how she has dealt with a lot of closed doors in her life. While Princess Anna was referring to being isolated from her sister, I felt connected to her, as I did with Emma. I, too, have had my fair share of closed doors in my face.
I went to college set on being a pediatric physical therapist. I was so excited to major in kinesiology. I quickly learned that kinesiology was in fact, not for me. Saddened and anxious, I closed this door, trying to find the next open one.
A relationship in my life ended abruptly. The door to a predictable future was slammed shut in my face. The world shut down in response to COVID-19, making it near impossible for me to finish my graduate program. Another door was closed against my wishes. My dream of becoming a Child Life Specialist and working with families during their hospital stay would never come true. A few months later I closed the door on teaching.
As I sat in my imaginary hallway, I felt similar feelings to Emma and Princess Anna. All I could focus on were all the closed doors of my life. What had I done wrong? Was this all my fault? Could I have worked harder? Am I a failure?
I was so caught up in my worries that I didn’t notice a new door start to crack open. Eventually I made my way to this open door, unsure of where it led. As I walked through, God’s familiar voice reassured me that everything was going to be okay.
Walking through this door was like finding the final piece of a puzzle and putting in place. I had finally found the right door. I could forget about everything else.
But the more time I spend in my new role, the more I realize I was wrong. I can’t just write off my closed doors. Good still came from those other journeys. Good existed in the hard times because of the people that crossed my path. Snow White and Prince Charming were right.
It is so easy to focus on the negatives, to look at everything that is going to wrong in our lives and in the world. With doing so, we miss out on all the ways God shows up. I met some of my closest friends through my kinesiology classes. The ending of a relationship helped me grow my independence and confidence. My Child Life program gave me tools and knowledge that allow me to work with kiddos and their families in any setting. Teaching brought me closer to my best friend and showed me how passionate I am about advocating for youth.
Rewatching Once Upon a Time was supposed to be a way for me to relax. Turns out, it’s been teaching me some important life lessons! Moving forward, I’m challenging myself to be more like Snow White, to focus on the good in my life. In doing so, I wonder how I can see more ways that God is working through and around me. Are you up for the challenge?