“When it comes to fixing our biggest problems, Emma, there are no shortcuts.”
– Archie, Once Upon a Time
Season 6, Episode 1, “The Saviour”
When Archie, aka Jiminy Cricket, says this to the main character, Emma, he’s referring in the immediate sense to her emotional and psychological issues. She’s been closed off for so much of her life, but now she’s learned to open herself up to love and joy. That’s a good thing but, downside, she’s also feeling the weight and the hurt that comes with so much fighting. Working out how to deal with that can take time and practice. It can’t be done with, as she half-quips, some kind of pill.
It’s very true, and it applies to so much more then just what Emma was going through right at that moment. When we have issues to work out with ourselves, it takes time and effort. When we have issues to work out with our family and friends, it takes time and effort. When we have issues to work out with our community… it takes time and effort. When we need to heal from pain and trauma… it takes time and effort.
So much in life goes wrong because people are trying to take some shortcut: drugs, alcohol, pleasure, etc. But all that does is bog us down in trying to avoid our misery rather than dealing with it head on. Instead of escaping it, we are trapped in it. The only way out is through. It takes time, and it can feel like the most grueling death march in the history of the world, but it’s the only way. When we try to take the shortcut, we end up taking the longer way, and how’s that for a bitter irony?
Of course, what we see on TV and read in books, those are exaggerations. They have magic or superpowers or some other such that they can use, to try and deal with their problems, and the results are every bit as damaging as one could expect. Heck, sometimes the world-shattering plot practically hinges on that one action. I could list at least half a dozen examples off that off the top of my head. Yet still, in real life, people think they can somehow avoid their problems, or medicate them, and the results can be every bit as devastating for us as they are for our heroes on the screen. Even more so, because what happens to us is actually real.
Our problems are real, our pain is real… but our healing is real too. We can deal with our problems, if we take the time and effort.