JAN / FEB 2014: BY ELLA G
Some movies stick with you forever. You can see them in your sleep. The songs come back with barely a second thought. Take for instance one of my personal favorite Disney classics, The Lion King—I can’t go to the zoo without calling every lion I see Mufasa, Simba, or Nala. Warthogs are Pumba and meerkats… oh they are all Timon, just sayin’. All it takes is for the intro of Circle of Life to fill the air before I start singing the words. (It’s also at that point where I fantasize about holding my baby one day like they hold Simba on Pride Rock. Come on, you know what I’m talking about.) Can You Feel the Love Tonight is one of my all-time favorite songs. Hearing voices like Whoopie Goldberg and Jonathan Taylor Thomas takes me back and reminds me that I was a ‘90’s kid.
Disney movies are like comfort food. Recently, I was sick with the flu and all I wanted to do was watch these films. I think I have a refined palate, but on this day, only Disney animated movies would do. I believe that is the beauty of the animation, the songs and beloved characters. You never outgrow them. They take you to a happy place; they help you forget your worries for the rest of your days…
As we get older, things jump out at us. Elements we have known forever take on a different significance. Suddenly, we relate to a character, situation, or song lyric. This happened to me with a line Rafaki utters to Simba. Rafaki isn’t a main character and usually gets ignored, but I found myself dwelling on the bit of wisdom aimed at Simba, and it took me on a detour.
We all know the story well. Simba runs away from his past and inevitably winds up talking to Rafiki. The “crazy monkey” hits Simba with a stick. Simba gets mad. He asks what that was for, and Rafaki says it doesn’t matter; it’s in the past. Simba says it still hurts, to which Rafaki replies, “Oh yes, the past can hurt. But the way I see it, you can either run from it or learn from it.” Simba makes the decision to leave the past in the past. Which caused me to ponder: “what do I do?”
The innocence of youth vanishes at far too speedy a rate. No longer are we the children watching these films for the first time. Instead, we are now jaded by life. Life throws us curveballs and is messy. A lot of the time it hurts us. We bear our own scars. I know I do. I know who has hurt me and when. Sometimes, it can feel as if these memories are tattooed on my body. Whatever they are, it makes me scared to go back; to embrace my past and the people who have injured me; or to open myself up to potentially the same hurt again. Yet, Christ, in His goodness, reminds me that I need to have “no worries.” He has redeemed the past.
So there it is. Hakuna matata. To quote Timon and Pumba, “it means no worries for the rest of your days. It’s our problem free philosophy.” God doesn’t call me to perfection. I will make the same mistakes again and again. But He doesn’t want me worried about it. I’ll miss out on my full potential if I don’t let myself try again, or if I don’t face the past. Even if I don’t seek to do it over, if I never face it, how can I successfully move on?
Think how The Lion King would be if Simba decided not to go back to Pride Rock. He certainly wouldn’t wind up with Nala. Scar would continue to ravage the land. The hyenas would get even more out of hand. Zasu would probably end up being eaten. And there certainly wouldn’t be a sequel (which I don’t love, but that’s beside the point). Simba would regret his choice. There would always been a piece of him asking “what if?” and that is a phrase we never want to say.
But this is a Disney movie we’re talking about: Simba does go back. He defeats Scar and the truth wins out. And we watch Simba, in a cleansing rain, take cautiously optimistic steps up Pride Rock. I now view that rain as symbolic. It’s like Christ’s blood washing away our stains so that we may get our second chance. So that we can be in a state of hakuna matata. No worries whatsoever. The pain of the past can be left at the base of Pride Rock… or the foot of the Cross. We must learn and try to never do the sin again, but we don’t have to be defined by it anymore.
Simba learned that and I was reminded of that truth yet again. It just came in the form of an animated lion, a smelly warthog, the voice of Jeremy Irons, and a purple butted primate. ♥