Rapunzel: Light for the Lost Princess

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A few weeks ago, I stumbled onto an online video of an event near Las Vegas. It looked kind of cool, so I decided to check it out. I figured I’d just watch for a minute or two, but I couldn’t look away for the entire seven-and-a-half minutes. Why? Sheer, wondrous beauty.

Check it out:

You know what that makes me think of, don’t you? An animated film from 2010.

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Once upon a time, a princess was stolen away and hidden in a tower. Her parents, the king and queen, suffered a horrible loss as the princess was stolen away, her light hoarded from a world that longed for her presence.

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But every year, on her birthday, she saw lights in the sky, and those lights drew her out of her tower. She found the means and determination to seek out the source of those lights, and it turned out to be a lovely little kingdom where, on her birthday, the entire population had come together for a festival of lights.

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The world beyond the tower was everything Rapunzel had dreamed of and more. But inside another tower – the royal palace – the scene looked very different.

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Why does the king mourn? Because he lost his child.

So every year, the king sends a light into the sky—an emblem to remember what was taken from him, a token of love for his daughter, a beacon so bright and beautiful that it calls out to the lost princess. And throughout the kingdom, everyone follows his lead and lifts their lanterns.

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They make the lights beautiful, not turning in a half-hearted response but carefully preparing something worthy of the occasion.

They make the day festive, honoring their king and their lost princess, not with a mournful dirge but with a holiday worth remembering.

They lift their lights together, combining a thousand beautiful notes into a symphony of astonishing brilliance.

The servants of the secret fire were gathered there
The embers of the ages like a living prayer
And all at once I saw the shadows flee
Shine your light on me
Be a light unto my path
And a lamp unto my feet

Somebody come and get me when I’m gone
Somebody come and get me when I’m gone

– ‘Shine Your Light on Me’ by Andrew Peterson

The stories are true. This is the power of redemption and restoration.

We are lost children, drawn by lights in the darkness.

We are citizens of a kingdom, unleashing the power of beauty into a dark night.

Flower, gleam and glow
Let your power shine
Make the clock reverse
Bring back what once was mine

Heal what has been hurt
Change the fates’ design
Save what has been lost
Bring back what once was mine

What once was mine

Tangled, 2010

 

Profile photo of Jonny Jimison

Jonny Jimison is a talented cartoonist and graphic novelist. In addition to a long history of web-based cartoons, he's the author of Dragon Lord Saga series of graphic novels, including Martin & Marco and The River Fox. Jonny lives and works in Jacksonville, Florida.


11 Comments

  1. Profile photo of Kyra Hinton

    Kyra Hinton

    @kyra-hinton

    Yes, yes, yes! I’ve taken many of those same screenshots (especially of the scene of the mourning King) because it has always screamed out so much of God’s love and longing for us. How incredibly encouraging to hear those same sentiments written from someone else’s hand and heart. Thank you, thank you.

  2. Profile photo of Kyra Hinton

    Kyra Hinton

    @kyra-hinton

    And also, I cried through reading this post. Similar emotions to a lost princess on a boat seeing lights rise from a distant, but not too far off, community.

  3. Profile photo of Miss Mary

    Miss Mary

    @missmary

    I Love these and really want to make them. Of course being me, I want to color them first, but I don’t know if that would weaken the structure, but I would love to try to use markers or something and get a bit of a stained glass effect from them when they are still pretty low. I have the instructions of how to do it in a book from my childhood (when I was not allowed to play with fire) and I wanted to do this then too.

    I do love how the lights are used in Tangled as memorial of both loss and beauty and a call that welcome still stands and hope remains.

  4. Profile photo of Jonny Jimison

    Jonny Jimison

    @jonnyjimison

    @kyra-hinton Thank you for sharing too! I love that stories and art can unite community in those shared reflections. Another moment that hits me hard is the ending when the princess is united with her family. The parents have earned their moment with their long-lost daughter, and Flynn is fine with that — but the queen reaches out her hand to invite this stranger, this thief, into the group hug. That is a beautiful moment.

  5. Profile photo of Jonny Jimison

    Jonny Jimison

    @jonnyjimison

    @missmary I’ve thought about hand-making them too, but I don’t know how that works with local laws involving fire and litter and whatnot – no telling where they’ll land. If you do manage to make one and send it into the sky, be sure to let us know how it went!

  6. Profile photo of Jonny Jimison

    Jonny Jimison

    @jonnyjimison

    @kenpriebe Great post! Thanks for sharing – I think your post and mine compliment one another well – I kept things deliberately concise, and you went in depth. I drew from Buechner as well, both for this post and the recent “Truth-Telling” post. I love the way he annunciates the role of fairy tales and truth!

  7. Profile photo of Miss Mary

    Miss Mary

    @missmary

    @jonnyjimison  I know that I can’t do it now since I am in an area currently in a drought and under a burn ban. Someday though I would love to… I have friends with lots of land that I could go launch it on, and there are ways to track it if I needed to retreive it (same things people do for model rocketry, though I don’t know details of that either).  I don’t know when or who else I will get to do it with me, but it is one of those things I hope to do someday. I think it ought to be done with lots of lights though and not just one so whenever I do it I will try to recruit some more people.

  8. Profile photo of Miss Mary

    Miss Mary

    @missmary

    @kenpriebe Thanks for the link. I really enjoyed reading that. I think I got some of that by instinct, but I certainly hadn’t caught all of it the time I watched Tangled.  It never ceases to amaze me how much every good story seems to point back the THE Story in some way or other, sometime big sometimes small.

  9. Profile photo of Kyra Hinton

    Kyra Hinton

    @kyra-hinton

    @jonnyjimison Oh yes! I love that. Such an example of race and coming Home! I love the scene where she starts the dance and the Kingdom joins in. They don’t know who she is, but just being herself she still was their princess. I love how she keeps leaving the dance to grab each individual and bring them in to join. Reminds me of “Circle Up” by Chris Rice.

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