Disney’s Brave touched my heart like Frozen, but more deeply. 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 life on her own terms, like the rest of us. But rules and traditions oppress her spirit. Mom does her best to prep Merida for the way of princesses before her, aka arranged marriage and great authority, but the two are losing their minds, and eachother.
In desperation, Merida buys a spell to change her mother–change mom’s mind thus change Merida’s fate– but through misunderstanding and spell shortcomings, mom ends up “changing” into a bear.
How is any of this glimpsing God, Jasmine?
Truth be told, I wasn’t looking for it. I was just watching a tale of mom-bear and daughter going through comic difficulties. But in an instant, the feel-good feeling dramatically changed. While enjoying salmon at the river, we witnesses mom change from mom-in-bear-body, to Actual Bear. (!) It was sudden, frightening, and her eyes went from loving and familiar to cold and strange. The mother-daughter connection vanished and there was only danger.
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, away from our parents.
If God was always visibly Present, would we really feel free? Would we really 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 birds are meant to leave the nest. Just check your belly button–we’re all born to be free.
But can a baby in the womb see or fathom the mother carrying him, despite being totally surrounded by her? Could we believe this mother is personal, with a heart and hopes? Or do we only feel the 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 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 king 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, or want desperately to find Him again? Or maybe you keep catching glimpses and find your heart full. Feel free to share.
Photo credits: All photos, excluding cover pics for certain blog posts of mine, come from Disney’s Brave.