With expectations for a fairy tale wedding and a not so fairy tale election, it seems appropriate to share the following reflection with you. It comes from the marriage devotional Ann and I co-authored, Happy Together: Daily Insights for Families from Scripture, and published two years ago.
Eventually, we will get the government we choose, and therefore deserve. But we trust and pray that William and Kate will fare better than Will’s parents.
Politics and Cinderella
King David had to balance politics and love; he was king and husband and both positions had their challenges. The history of politics after all is a sordid tale—of the power hungry manipulating nations for their own benefit and adulation; of dictators forcing ruthless rule over exploited people; of conquest and war as a means of extending rulers’ influence.
In contrast to this, the first love Michal had for David and his remarkable relationship with God is closer to the love story of Cinderella and seems very different from the politics David needed to practise.
Yet there may be more of a common thread to both politics and our favourite love stories like Cinderella than it appears. Behind those stories lurks the idea that “Once upon a time . . . happily ever after,” reflects a perfection of love and living that our hearts yearn for and our best experiences imply.
Political theorist John von Heyking has written a book entitled, Augustine and Politics as Longing in the World. The title evokes a sense that, despite its excesses, even politics arises from the notion that there is an ideal to strive for beyond the ravages of earthly life—a thirsty longing that wrenches our hearts but is never fully satisfied. As maidens dream of perfect love, so men envision the ideal society and strive for it.
I’m sure most politicians start off with the desire to better their communities, but easily get caught up in the subterfuge, manipulation and compromise that ambition seems to require, which undermines their good intentions. If we could read the rest of the story of Cinderella and her prince, it seems probable we might find a degeneration of their love into self-serving manipulation.
But neither of these evidences of fallen human nature should blind us to the desire God has placed in our hearts for the perfection that is only to be found in Him. If the yearning of the human soul is only complete in God, then the best that marriage can provide is found in Him also.