Thursday, October 27, 2011

#9: What it means to be [fun and fancy] free

Fun & Fancy Free, 1947
watched October 16, 2011
(c) Disney
First off, a shout out to my new friends, Christopher and Tiana, who saved me from having to cancel the viewing of Fun & Fancy Free because I hadn't reserved the DVD from the library early enough while I was on vacation. They own nearly all of the 51 Disney animated films and are way more Disnerdy than I am (they use the term "Disney Apologists" - haha). I don't know if I should be relieved or jealous. ;)

F&FF is a two-part series of shorts, the first called "Bongo" and the second an adaptation of "Jack & the Beanstalk", featuring Mickey as Jack, as well as Donald Duck and Goofy. Not sure yet if I'll get to "Mickey and the Beanstalk."

Bongo is a popular and successful circus bear that longs to live out in the wild. Although he appears to have a nice life in the circus, he is treated horribly by his owners. It's not as glamorous as one would think. One day, by a happy circumstance, he finds himself free of his cage and finally able to live as a wild bear. However, he quickly discovers that the outside world is much more overwhelming than he realized. He needs to find his own food and shelter, and there are many dangers that he never knew existed, including threatening bears who square dance. (OK. So the square dancing isn't so threatening. but I thought I'd mention it just because it was so random!)

I'm reminded of several Gospel narratives where Jesus reminds his followers that life with him is costly. (See Luke 9:23-25 for one example.) While Bongo longs to be free, he doesn't realize how hard it will be to fend for himself in the wild. In the same way a lot of people hope for eternal life, but fail to understand that the only way to get there is to follow Jesus, which includes "denying yourself and picking up your cross daily." The easy life of self-indulgence has to go away. Just as Bongo was a bit naive in thinking that once he stepped out of that cage everything would immediately be better - we must not think that becoming a Christian is a one-step action. It's a daily, moment by moment process, and it is not always simple.

Still, Bongo's longing for freedom resonates with me. Who wants to be stuck living in a cage, having to be a slave to something that doesn't even bring real pleasure? Being popular and successful in the circus may seem appealing at first, but not in comparison to the fresh air, the beauty of the mountains and trees, and living as you were created to be. So the solution isn't to turn back and stay in captivity. No, stepping outside was the right choice, and it's the best choice for us as well.

Life with Jesus is not perfect, in fact it is sometimes quite difficult. When one gives up a life of sin, pain, loss and failure are pretty much guaranteed. But it's totally worth it. With the rainy weather and dangerous enemy square-dancing bears, there are also blue skies, endless fields of flowers, and a place where you can love and be loved. With God we are truly free.

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