Beautiful Circumstances

There’ll be another foodie post one of these days, hold on, I know the good stuff is slow in coming and I apologize.  For now some fairytale thoughts will have to suffice.  Let me know if you make anything tasty though!

Another wonderful Fall thing? Coffee by windows. I’m sitting at a campus café in the building where my sociology class is held, savoring some joybean juice and trying to convince my self that The Practical Skeptic is a more enjoyable read than Rose Daughter (it’s a re-telling of Beauty and the Beast by Robin McKinley).   It is not working, for nothing (especially a sociology textbook) will distract me from fantasizing the last few chapters of Beauty’s realization that she loves the Beast and all the spoilers that I will restrain from telling you.  Was kind of a slow book to get into but it may end up being my favorite re-telling yet.

Took this picture in another princess-walk around the arboretum a few days ago-as soon as I took it I realized it IS Beauty (the rose) and the Beast (the thorns)! Ok maybe not quite the first thing you’d think of but if you’ve got fairies on the brain then that’s what you’ll think of.  Indulge my fantastical whims here please.

*just looked outside and thought it was snowing-then realized it was a million tiny leaves being rushed past the window, Fall winds. J

Since about the 8th grade I’ve searched and read every re-telling of Beauty and the Beast I could get my hands on.  There aren’t too many, the titles I’ve read are:

Beastly by Alex Flinn (not my favorite, it’s a modern re-telling that had potential to be good but I think it ended up being a bit shallow and twisted into another watered-down teenage romance).

Beast by Donna Jo Napoli

This one was interesting because it takes place in the middle east and it’s told from the Beast’s perspective.

Beauty by Robin McKinley

McKinley’s first rendition of this tale, so far my favorite.  It’s the classic, what you’d imagine.

Rose Daughter also by Robin McKinley

The author’s second telling, it’s a little more complicated, with more details and side-plots, than Beauty is.  I like it because the reader gets to know the Beast a little more and there’s more interaction between him and Beauty.  Possibly my favorite version but that has yet to be confirmed because I’m trying to make this book last as long as possible since it is the last re-telling I know of.  Fact: I actually started reading this book about 5 years ago, and kept getting a few chapters then stopping and forgetting about it.  Every so often I’d re-discover it and pick up where I left off, then do the same thing, get distracted and stop reading.

Why the fascination with this particular tale?  The Disney songs of course! (I’m 90% kidding, the songs are pretty catchy don’t get me wrong 😉 it’s the actual fairy tale that has me.  Just can’t tire of it, and I like the concept in the story.  Seeing beauty in the un-beautiful, and learning to be O.K. with whatever situation you’ve landed in.  Maybe some people don’t take it that far, but I see that with Beauty’s circumstances.  In most versions I’ve read she is a character who, as a result of circumstances beyond her control, goes to an unfamiliar/undesirable isolated place to save another person.  Instead of sulking at her own misery (most of the time, depending on the version) she picks herself up by her bootstraps and decides to be content.  Note that I said she decides– aka: although her feelings are not enthusiastic about her new environment and situation in life, when, initially, it seems that she may be living the rest of her life in separation from her family and world-she makes the decision to not let that dictate the quality of that time in her life.  She decides to change her attitude and trust that her time is not worthless.  She finds purpose and enjoyent even from a bleak environment, in most cases it’s rose-gardening or exploring the castle and eventually befriending the Beast.

‘…I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.  I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.  I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.’ (Philippians 4:11-12)

Then, all of her efforts are magically not in vain and she finds herself breaking a spell, releasing those in captivity, finding true love, and showing an un-lovable person that they are indeed a treasure.  All because she trusted her life had purpose in the time and place she was in, and she could overcome feelings of despair at her circumstances, developing contentment.  Now that’s beautiful.

‘Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances…’ (1 Thessalonians 5:16-17)

I don’t know about you, but I certainly need the reminder to look at undesirable circumstances in a more ‘Beauty-like’ fashion. To see that the day you’ve been placed in is always purposeful, and to treat others as the beautiful creations they are.

“How you treat the creation reflects how you feel about the creator.”–Rob Bell

‘Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; by sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble’ (1 Peter 3:8)

Possibly my favorite rose picture, almost looks a little burnt but in a pretty way.  Roses are pretty even when they’re dying, they adapt well to their seasons-like Beauty!

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3 thoughts on “Beautiful Circumstances

  1. theblueberrydays

    I was hesitante to include anything from him here, unfortunately he still scares me 😉 but I like this quote a lot so I guess he won this round.

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