The Deception of Charm—and What to Make of Prince Charming

I’m not writing to throw sticks and stones or to sulk about how love can be a broken hallelujah. And I’m not even writing in hopes that you’ll pay attention to the neon “Caution” signs we tend to blatantly ignore, strung out along the highway of what we call life.

Frankly, I’m still trying to figure out if I’m a feminist or not, and what sort of advice is good medicine versus the kind of advice that just sticks a Band-Aid on something that needs stitching.

I’m writing because I think we live in a face-value world that overlooks deep, freshwater wells and forgets what icebergs look like underneath—and I think we can look at life, and live it, in a different way.

There are every-day examples upon examples to offer in support of this, and you know what they are. I don’t need to tell you.  You know the surface orientated world we live in and the language we speak. You hear it every day.

You hear it when we say things such as, “It’s not what you know; it’s who you know.” When you hear this, you know we’re not talking about the importance of knowing an individual. We’re talking about acquaintances that could potentially pass on some fluffy statements about us to help get us from point A to point B. Here, the journey of life and the individual in context are overlooked in exchange for a quick outcome.

We’re constantly in search of the outcomes—whatever the means it calls for, and I think we lose our individual substance this way. I think we lose a lot of it.

What looks pretty, successful and shiny can lure us into forgetting what matters, and often times, when we finally get there, that iceberg we’ve hit is a whole lot larger and life threatening than we thought.

In the short-span of life that I’ve lived, the people, theologies, institutions, programs, methods and situations that have often appeared the most promising to the majority—charming, in fact—have oddly proven to lack a lot of substance, character, truth, genuineness, sustainability and well, promise.

It’s a sad story our society is writing, and sometimes it seems to me that we’ll never be able to rewrite it.

Of course, the simple solution here is to just get out of it. Fall off the grid. Don’t trust anyone or anything. But then where does that lead us? Lying in bed all day underneath the covers with no hope for humanity?  Fearful of anything that involves living, breathing people?

This won’t do. This won’t do at all. But there are sincere, genuine (and hurt) people that will try to steer you in such a way. People who have gotten out of bed before to greet the day and everything that comes with it, only to be driven back beneath the covers with a fractured heart and a mind full of “good advice.” But that dark and dreary way is just how it sounds. Lifeless. Purposeful-less. Empty. And false.

In a way, choosing to lose hope and trust just presents you with yet another counterfeit way of “life.”  It’s a Band-Aid choice that never truly stops the bleeding that your heart was simply meant to do for the sake of love. (That glorious, heart-wrenching, maddening thing called love that for some tormenting reason we can’t live without.)

Simply put: Don’t set your hopes on the Prince Charmings, but don’t lose your hopes because of the Prince Charmings.

If you’re like me, you’ll have your bright days and your dark days with this. There will be days when you feel as if you have all your hopes, treasures and priorities set exactly as they should be, and days where you simultaneously feel as if you are not good enough and yet too much for surrounding people and this world in which we live.

Tricky is an understatement for describing how we discern what to desire and hope for.  I think this is where we watch, wait and listen. We take our time determining what we really want. We examine the fruits, we watch how the Prince Charming treats the commoners when no one is looking and we distinguish what’s being said from what’s actually happening.

And then we have faith.

We let go of the fleeting false hope in a façade and hold fast with all that is in us for what is true, what is good and what is lasting.

And once we’ve decided that this is what we will search for and long to know and what we will settle no less for, we will truly know it when we see it—and the Prince Charmings will cease to reign in our hearts.

I don’t think we’re meant to banish or bash the Prince Charmings of this life—the people, institutions, programs, etc. I just think we’re meant to find the strength of heart to desire something more.


About April Dray

Written word is my zeal. I love my cat and she tolerates me.
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