New & Improved

cinderella family

You may or may not know that The Princess’s favorite princess is Cinderella.  Cinderella’s dress was the first princess dress she owned.  She has had Cinderella outfits over the years in various styles and sizes.  Cinderella was the first princess she met on her first visit to a park.  She has Cinderella mouse ears.  Her (not so) secret goal in life is to be Cinderella in a Disney Park.  We have seen many and varied versions of the Cinderella story, some Disney and some not.  It should come to know surprise that we saw Disney’s newest version of Cinderella in theaters the day it opened.

I have to say that I’m somewhat skeptical of all the “new” versions of the animated classics.  I tend to be skeptical of those things that are ‘new & improved’.  I blame New Coke.  Often the things that are ‘new’ only manage to do away with the things I like about a product.  Sometimes it’s best to just leave well enough alone.  I have yet to watch ‘Maleficent’ even though I own it.  And while I am impressed with the casting news announced for ‘Beauty and the Beast’, I am not excited.  However, the Princess had to see Cinderella so I went to see Cinderella.

The changes to Cinderella’s character were as expected.  There was a lot less of the ‘happy, singing servant girl’ and a lot more ‘I’ll put up with this because I’m a better person than you.”  Which I appreciate, I like that she is more self-determined.  I like that she is actively unhappy in the life that is forced upon her.  I like that she has an inner strength that shines through in spite of her circumstances.  But the change I really liked was giving The Prince some personality.

He always seemed like a bit of a doofus in the original version.  He danced with a girl for a couple of hours, fell madly in love, and refused to marry anyone else.  Very romantic.  Except in all that time he couldn’t be bothered to find out her name and then doesn’t even bother to go looking for her himself.  He sends off some Duke to bring back the first girl who fits the shoe, which apparently is the only way he can recognize her.  Not her face, her voice or even the way she dances just her shoe.  This is less romantic.  In the new version our Prince gets a name AND a personality.  He doesn’t just meet a pretty girl at a party; he actually stages the ball to find Cinderella.  He tries repeatedly to find out who she is.  And, most importantly, he doesn’t need the shoe to recognize her.  All of the things I dislike about the original Prince are fixed.  Hooray!

Now you might think that this would inspire me to crack open that case and watch ‘Maleficent’, but you would be wrong.  The disc still sits unopened on my shelf.  In spite of my enjoyment of the new and improved ‘Cinderella’, I am still not excited for the other movies.  A very large part of me finds this ironic.

As a pastor I often talk about change and actively bring change to my congregations.  Little things or big things, I tell my congregations that we need to be actively changing and growing and I believe it, until it’s time to change something that is important to me.  That’s when things get hard.  That’s when I no longer care about actively changing and growing.  I just what to do what I know and like.  It doesn’t matter that the last change was so successful and I enjoyed it.  I just want to hang onto the thing I love.  I know that makes me a hypocrite and it bothers me.

Maybe what really needs to be new and improved is me.  Maybe I should update my priorities so that it becomes easier to embrace change.  Maybe the next change will be something that meets my needs in an unexpected way.  Maybe just being willing to change is the change actually I need.

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