Contrary to popular belief, fairy godmothers are not trademarked by Disney. They do not always run around singing ‘bippity-boppity-boo!’ In fact, they may be closer than we expect…
A ‘fairy godmother’ is a type of character which charges into a dismal situation, waves their magic wand and fixes everything before disappearing in a cloud of fairy dust.
They exist outside of Cinderella – and in fact, are often viewed negatively by film critics. A ‘fairy godmother’, like a ‘deus ex machina’ can be a lazy way of resolving the characters’ problems and ensuring a happy ending by the two hour mark.
That said, how many of us would love a ‘fairy godmother’ in our own lives? A magic solution to all our stresses? Yes please!
Often as Watchers, we are tempted to try and fulfill the role of a ‘fairy godmother’ in our Loved One’s life.
What does being a ‘fairy godmother’ look like?
- we spend a lot of time and energy hunting for solutions to all sorts of problems, even those labelled ‘impossible’, rather than being a sympathetic ear
- We feel it’s up to us to intervene and ‘fix things’
- If our Loved One isn’t happy we feel guilty
- We begin to feel that if only we could do ‘this’ or ‘that’ we could make our Loved One happy
- We choose the happiness of our friend or family member over all else. We prefer to keep the peace, rather than challenge it, we prefer to pat them on the head rather than cry beside them.
Why is it wrong?
- It’s not so much wrong as futile. We are not magic, we don’t have wands, and we can’t always fix every situation.
- We’re not God. We don’t have the full picture, and so we don’t have the right to intervene in someone else’s life
- We’re not trusting God and His plans
- We’re elevating ‘happiness’ and ‘healing’ above all else – we’re reducing the complexity of the situation
- we’re carrying a burden we are not designed for. It’s not our role to ensure happiness of another
- Loving someone does not always look like ‘popping in’ with a cheery expression and ‘popping back out again.’
How does it happen?
- We love our ill friend and want to see them healed – and we want to fix their illness and make them better
- We want our Loved One to be happy
- We want life to be simpler
- We want a happy ending in our own timing
- We think we know exactly what parts of life need to be ‘fixed’ and which need to be left alone
- We are seeking an easier level of commitment: ‘jumping in’ and fixing what we can in a situation feel safer than settling down for the long haul
Some truths about fairy godmother?
- We haven’t been given a ‘fairy godmother’ – we have been given God himself, instead. It is His role to bring happiness, not ours.
- It’s tempting to choose to flit in and out of other people’s lives. There’s freedom and job-satisfaction in being a fairy godmother. The harder task, however, is to settle down beside someone and love them day in and day out.
- There’s nothing wrong in doing things to ensure someone else’s happiness. Yet there’s a fine line between ‘solving’ and ‘meddling’.
- We all want instantaneous fixes, a ‘wave of a wand’ healings – but God is playing a longer game. We need to acknowledge this.
- ‘Happiness’ is always bought at a price, and it can only be bought by the individual. You can’t buy or ensure someone else’s happiness.
What can we do?
- Ask yourself why you feel bad when your Loved One is unhappy. Is it because you empathise with them, or because you feel like you’ve failed them?
- How far will you go to make certain that your Loved One is happy? Are you listening to them? Are you listening to God?
- Before we play fairy godmother, let’s kneel before God and give the outcome into His hands
Strive to be the type of fairy godmother who is a steady constant, not a fluttering presence.
There’s often room for a sudden reversal of fortunes or a big surprise, but there is ALWAYS room for a comforting arm and a solid presence.
By all means plan a surprise, fix things in your power, chase away the darkness. All of these things are part of our calling as Watchers, but they are only part. They are our privilege, not our burden. After all, we are Watchers, not fairy god mothers.
// Are you ever tempted to be a fairy godmother? Have you ever done so with mixed motives?
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