Spiritual Thoughts on Once Upon a Time, Season 1
As Once Upon a Time expands the fairy tale world, it explores the most fundamental questions asked by humanity. As the theme of “True Love” recurs frequently, Once Upon a Time gives the definitive answer to the question: “Is there love at first sight?” (Whether or not they intended this answer, I don’t know.) But, the answer is a resounding “Yes!” Well, sometimes.
Really, love at first sight? I mean, there can be physical attraction at first sight. Even infatuation at first sight. But love? Yes! We see it in the story of Prince Charming and Snow White. While Prince Charming, alternatively known as David, travels in a stagecoach, a bandit robs from him. The latter turns out to be Snow White, believing the stolen jewels belong to the Evil Queen. The prince later finds her to demand back his possessions. After she tricks and evades him, the Queen’s soldiers find her. Just as they close in to kill her, David appears and fights them off. She is shocked at his kindness towards her, saving her after she had stolen from him:
Snow White: “You… you saved me.”
David: “Seemed like the honorable thing to do”.1
“Seemed like the honorable thing to do.” Let’s consider other equally valid responses: “Seemed like the right thing to do” or “seemed like the loving thing to do.” Don’t you see it? It was love at first sight!
Allow me to explain. Prince Charming’s commitment to do the right thing results in treating and viewing others with love. Because he loves people, he loves Snow at first sight. It flows from his character, not the actions or personality of the other individual. Ok, this might not be romantic love at first sight. But it is love. If you are a loving person, a truly loving person, you love everyone at first sight.
Loving After First Sight
Now, Snow does not love David at first sight. Rather preoccupied by her own welfare (which was admittedly in grave danger), she chooses to steal from him. She begins to love only when she sees his heart towards her. After he is captured while allowing her to escape, bridge trolls draw near to kill David. She comes to rescue him, showing her love in return.
Unfortunately, Prince Charming must win her heart a second time.2 When it seems that they cannot be together, Snow takes a potion to remove all memory and love for him. But it actually takes all her love away, period. Filled with vengeance, she attains a magical arrow to kill the Evil Queen. Unknown to her, if she succeeds, she will become as evil as the Queen. David knows this and cannot let it happen. He finds her again:
David: “You love me, and I love you.”
Snow: “Words. Words. Words. That’s all love is. And unfortunately for you, words don’t mean anything to me. You know what does mean something to me? Taking action, and that’s exactly what I’m going to do.”3
Later, David jumps in front of the arrow, sacrificing his life not just for her physical welfare, but for her spiritual welfare. “I would rather die than let you fill your heart with darkness.” Won again by his sacrificial love, she again loves him and everyone. (And as far as I can tell, true love’s kiss reverses the fatality of the arrow shot.)
You were Loved at First Sight
It is God who loves us at first sight. The Apostle John, one of Jesus’s closest followers wrote that “God is love” (1 John 4:8,16).4 Whoever He sees, He loves. In fact, He’s loved us before we even existed. “Before the foundation of the world,” he chose to make people holy and blameless out of His love for us (Ephesians 4:1). I guess we were loved before first sight!
In the same letter, John also wrote: “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins” (1 John 4:10). We are like Snow White, certainly more concerned about ourselves than our Creator. Our affection must be won. So God loves us first and initiates the pursuit. Many turn to Christ when they simply realize how much God loves them, and the story of Jesus’s sacrificial death becomes more than a story. Some of my fondest memories are the moments when I began to glimpse how much God loves me and others.
Also like Snow, we have a tendency to forget. For this reason, it is good to make note of God’s faithfulness in our lives and to regularly remind ourselves of His love. Thankfully though, like Prince Charming, God continues to pursue us regardless, intervening in our lives again and again. Also like the Prince, I have found Him to be utterly committed to my spiritual growth, working in my life to make me love like He does.
So, let us be like Snow White. As God has loved us sacrificially, may we love Him and others in the same way. In case we forget, we can remind ourselves of the times that God (and others) have shown us love. And if we do not feel that we have experienced His love, we can ask Him to reveal Himself to to us, so that we would know that His love is more than “words, words, words.”
And finally, let us be like Prince Charming. What if you resolved to show love to the next person you see, whether a friend or a stranger? Let’s love others at first sight.