Disney’s Brave touched my heart like Frozen, but deeper. In Frozen we glimpse sacrificial love and our divine identity, but Brave touches something deeper: the reality of our love-hate relationship with God.
Merida, a fiery and fun-loving princess who wants to live on her own terms (who doens’t?) runs up against traditions that oppress her spirit. Her mother tries to prepare her for all the ways and responsibilities of a princess, including arranged marriage, but the pair are losing their minds and each other.
(spoiler alert!) In desperation, Merida buys a spell to change her mom’s mind, thus hopefully changing Merida’s fate, but through misunderstanding and spell shortcomings mom ends up changing into a Bear.
How is this glimpsing God, Jas?
Truth be told, I wasn’t looking for God. Just watching a flick with the kids. But when the feel-good ‘dramedy’ became thriller, it hit me.
Merida and mom (as Bear) were playfully enjoying salmon at the river, and then mom bear wandered off. We see her eyes change from loving and familiar, to cold and strange. We all realize–she’s really a Bear!!
It was unexpected and frightening. The mother-daughter connection completely vanished and in an instant real danger remained.
The urgency increases when we learn mom bear will remain a real bear if their bond isn’t properly mended.
The scenes when mom became I-don’t-know-you Bear were painful to watch. I thought about humanity’s relationship with God like a parent, our deep/core longing to be separate, even in a separate world from our parents, how we can’t always understand our parent’s motives or actions.
I only realized the deep desire for separation when my eldest shouted at me while walking together to the shops (him unwillingly). “Don’t walk with me!” “Ok, I’ll just be in the back..” “That’s the thing Mom–you’re ALWAYS there!”
(I wrote Totally Unsatisfied with God – How My Son’s Tantrum Revealed Heaven’s Painful Secret in response.)
If God was always “visibly” Present, would we really be free? If you go out with friends, but a parent is hanging around the corner, don’t you feel suffocated, distressed, confined?
We long to do our thing, our way. Baby birds are meant to leave the nest, right? Just check your belly button: that scar reminds us of our freedom & independence in this world.
But a baby in the womb can’t fathom the mother carrying it, despite being totally surrounded by her. From inside the womb, who could believe the mother is personal, has a heart and hopes?
For in *him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’ (Acts 17:28)
Sure, we’ve got ages of religion, hatred and absolute grief making it hard to hold on to notions of a “Good God,” but there’s hope, and hope is strong.
It’s what keeps Merida going despite seeing the ferocious bear: Mom is still in there…
In the end, Merida faces a real, murderous bear, and it is only her mother, in bear-form, that can save her. May we always keep hope that even when God or Goodness seem far away, that, like Merida’s mom prooved, there’s real Power in real Love.
Did you ever ‘buy a spell’ to change God? Ever feel like *He’s distant, strange and frightful? Or maybe you keep catching glimpses and find your heart full? Feel free to share in the comments below. <3
Other related posts:
–Present Yet Invisible, Keep Hope in Despair.
–3 Examples of God’s Gentleness to Help Break our God Hate
–Pearl and Mother of Pearl: You are God’s Magnum Opus
–God Does Dishes and the Laundry
Photo credits: All photos, excluding cover pics for certain blog posts of mine, come from Disney’s Brave.