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  • Brian Myers

I Can't Help Myself

Having developed an interest in fairies after borrowing a Tinkerbell movie from the library, my daughter asked to watch Strange Magic. While it's been a few years since we watched this movie, she had been periodically reminded of the movie when she heard one of its songs. In typical child style she decided to watch the movie on repeat and listen to the songs on repeat for several days in a row.

We recently listened to I Can't Help Myself from the movie's soundtrack.

Sugar pie, honey bunch You know that I love you I can't help myself I love you and nobody else

It's a catchy, familiar song and I sang along until my daughter had a question. "Daddy," she began and I could hear the concern in her voice before she even asked her question, "why doesn't she love anybody else?" Even at five years old she realized that something was not right about this love. She was concerned that the fairy may not love her sister.

Fortunately, in the movie this song was sung by a fairy under the influence of a love potion so the question was not difficult to answer. I explained that what this fairy felt was not real love, the potion made her feel fake love. The song gives us two reasons why this love must be fake. First, the fairy loves nobody else. When Jesus told us to "love one another as I have loved you," he did not mean that we should love one other but that we should love all others. While we will love some people differently, true love would never be so jealous or possessive as to prevent loving anybody else. Second, the fairy can't help herself. True love is never a compulsion, it must be freely given. Just as Jesus loves each of us freely, we are called to freely love one another. Clearly the 'love' caused by this love potion was fake.

How did my daughter know something was wrong? She has experienced authentic love in our domestic church. She knows that we love everyone in our family and we never love one family member to the exclusion of the others. Furthermore, she has seen other artistic representations of true love (see my reflection on Frozen for an example) and as a domestic church we have discussed the true aspects of love in those other movies. Strange Magic also goes on to explore other aspects of love, but the experience of this fairy intoxicated with a love potion is not true love.

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