At our house, my husband Ted is at a disadvantage. And I’m not referring to the fact that he’s the sole male in a family of five females.
(After all, he attests — and I concur — that he’s man enough to handle being outnumbered.)
Nope, rather it’s because when it comes to Disney’s animated masterpiece Frozen, he’s clueless. You see, he hasn’t seen the film.
Our daughters and I, on the other hand, have seen it four times … and counting.
Which leaves Ted immersed in a household of Frozen-obsessed girls. And, here he is, oblivious of the film’s intricacies as he holds out for its release on Blu-ray.
“Do you want to build a snowman?” one daughter belts out … almost hourly.
“Let it go! Let it go! The cold never bothered me anyway!” another performs in her best diva voice as she throws her toddler tiara across the living room.
“But put me in summer and I’ll be a … happy snowman!” a third recites, her amused giggles following.
And the fourth, well, she’s directing them all in their own way-off-Broadway retelling of this tale of two sisters.
Yep, at our small castle it’s Frozen 14/7. But only because the other 10 hours a day, our daughters sleep.
If I were Ted, I’d be going a bit “cray cray” by now. Especially since it isn’t merely our girls who love this film. Their mama does too.
Indeed, for me, Frozen has become deeply personal.
This story of sisters Anna and Elsa is one I can relate to. It isn’t because like controlled and fearful Elsa I’ve unintentionally created an eternal winter before fleeing to some lone mountain. Or like spunky and free-spirited Anna, I’ve set off on some epic adventure to restore summer. That would just be silly. I live in Georgia. Here, the cold does bother us.
It’s because after my third screening, I was hit with a hard reality. As much as I wanted to be like Anna, I identified more closely with Elsa.
You could say, I got her. I understood where she was coming from. Like Elsa, I too let fear guide me and my decisions. Not always, but often enough. Like Elsa, sometimes I too fail to embrace the truth that “perfect love casts out all fear.” And like Elsa, I’ve discovered that living in fear doesn’t make for a joyful existence.
I want to let it go.
So what can I do?
Interestingly enough, my answer doesn’t lie in Frozen, but in its distant relative, The Snow Queen.
A few weeks ago, I decided to read this Hans Christian Anderson classic to our daughters. It’s the work that not only inspired Disney’s Frozen, but also the White Witch and Edmund in C.S. Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.
The characters in this story, first published in 1845, don’t directly parallel Disney’s adaptation. Andersen’s is the telling of playmates Kai and Gerda. After shrapnel from a hobgoblin’s evil mirror finds its way into Kai’s heart, the little boy’s sensitivity begins to harden and his heart to freeze. It isn’t long before he’s been kidnapped by the Snow Queen and taken to live in her palace. Young Gerda sets out on a long, dangerous journey to rescue her friend.
What’s compelling, for those of us who know the ending to Frozen, is that in this original tale it isn’t merely true love that thaws a frozen heart, but also faith. Not faith in ourselves or even others, but faith in God.
This is illustrated beautifully late in the book as little Gerda faces the Snow Queen’s army of snowflakes. As they march toward Gerda with the goal of keeping her away from Kai, she begins to recite the Lord’s Prayer. An amazing thing happens:
And the cold was so great that her breath froze as it came out of her mouth, and she could see it like a cloud of smoke in front of her. It grew thicker and thicker, till it formed itself into bright little angels, who grew bigger and bigger when they touched the ground. They all wore helmets and carried shields and spears in their hands. More and more of them appeared, and when Gerda had finished her prayer she was surrounded by a whole legion. They pierced the snowflakes with their spears and shivered them into a hundred pieces, and little Gerda walked fearlessly and undauntedly through them.
As Gerda faces danger, she doesn’t grip tightly to or indulge fear. Instead, she relies on God and confesses each reliance out loud. She seeks Him. Her trust in Someone bigger than herself allows her to walk “fearlessly and undauntedly.”
The same can be true for me.
When I choose to speak God’s truth and His Word to myself, He becomes bigger and my fear smaller. This doesn’t mean my struggle with it will immediately disappear; that the cold storm will suddenly cease. What it does mean is that I can slowly, but surely let it go as I rely on Him. As I trust in Someone bigger than myself.
So unlike Elsa, it isn’t simply true love that will set me free. It’s also faith.
I’m guessing it’ll be months before Ted finally laughs at the antics of a snowman who loves summer. Or feels misty eyed at the distance between sisters. Maybe even half a year. But when he does, he’ll have his girls on every side.
Those clueless days of his will be over. And, I even suspect, he’ll be the one singing this time.
“People smell better than reindeers…”