Disney’s Brave touched my heart like Frozen, but deeper. In Frozen we glimpse our divine identity and sacrificial love, but Brave touches on the reality of our love-hate relationship with God. (Warning, spoiler alert.)
Fiery and fun-loving Merida wants to live on her own terms, like most of us, but cultural traditions oppress her spirit. Her mom tries to prep Merida for the way of a princess, including arranged marriage and great authority, but the mom and daughter are losing their minds and eachother.
In desperation, Merida buys a spell to change her mother (change mom’s mind, change my fate) but through misunderstanding and spell shortcomings, mom ends up changing into a bear.
How is this glimpsing God, Jasmine?
Truth be told, I wasn’t looking for it, just watching a flick with the kids and enjoying the mom/bear and daughter interactions. But in an instant, the feel-good dramatically changed when the mother, enjoying salmon at the river, suddenly became an actual bear!
It was unexpected and frightening, her eyes went from loving and familiar to cold and strange. The mother-daughter connection vanished and real danger remained.
The urgency increases as we learn mom will be a bear forever if their bond isn’t properly mended…
These scenes were painful to me and I found myself contemplating humanity’s relationship with God. In the post, Totally Unsatisfied with God.., I shared how my son’s remark during a temper tantrum revealed a deep longing of all of us to be absolutely separate, even in a separate world, from our parents.
If God was always visibly Present, would we really feel or be free? If I went out with friends, but a parent was always around the corner, I’d feel suffocated and distressed.
We long to do our thing, our way. And all birds are meant to leave the nest–just check your belly button, a scar indicating our freedom & independence in this world. We were all born to be free.
But a baby in the womb can hardly see or fathom the mother carrying him, despite being totally surrounded by her. Could anyone believe this mother is personal, with a heart and hopes? Or would we only feel flesh and blood around us?
What if God is as personal, dynamic, and complicated as this mom carrying a baby. Sure, we’ve got ages of religion, hatred and absolute grief making it hard to hold on to “Good God” sometimes. But that’s what hope does, right? Merida see’s that ferocious bear, but keeps hoping mom’s still in there…
In the end, Merida comes under attack by a real and murderous bear, and it is only her mother, in bear-form, that can save her. Her bear-form and power, coupled with her fierce heart to protect her child, dwarf the strength of the bear and warriors around her.
May we always keep hope, even when things look bad or we may feel God or Goodness is far, that there is Real Power in Real Love, and that everything will be ok in the end.
Did you ever ‘buy a spell’ to change God? Ever feel like God is a bear–distant, strange and frightful, or want desperately to find Him again? Or maybe you keep catching glimpses and find your heart full. Feel free to share in the comments below.
Photo credits: All photos, excluding cover pics for certain blog posts of mine, come from Disney’s Brave.