After doing some thinking about what I wrote last time, I decided that my last post needed a follow-up. A sequel. I was just a tad bit judgmental, and it’s time for me to right my wrong.
I realize that the victim of my judgment was a fictional character. I realize that writing another post about Finding Nemo may be overkill. Even with these realizations, I am moving forward.
As a tribute to a character that I have grown to appreciate. Marlin.
I promise this isn’t the beginning of a long string of Blog posts about my psychoanalysis of fictional Pixar characters. There will not be a prequel, or a threequel, or anything else like that. It stops here.
Marlin is the epitome of the overprotective “helicopter parent”. His life is ruled by his fears. If there was ever a candidate for some anti-anxiety meds, it’s this guy.
He cannot move forward in his life because he is plagued by his past. And consequently, he cannot let his son move forward in his life either.
The movie starts with a scene where we see a care-free Marlin having fun with a wife that he obviously adores. They are about to have a family. They are coming up with names for their children, and dreaming of their seemingly bright future.
It is during this moment of great joy that something horrific happens. Marlin’s wife is brutally murdered while she is trying to protect her children. Marlin, in the process of trying to save her, is knocked unconscious. He wakes to discover his wife and all of his children, but one, are dead. He promises in this moment to never let anything happen to his one remaining child.
Fast forward a few years and we see a completely different Marlin. A Marlin who is consumed with anxiety. His son, who we learn was born with a birth defect, is grown and about to go to school for the first time.
Fast forward a little bit more and we watch as Marlin’s son is kidnapped. Again, Marlin is powerless and unable to stop this atrocity from happening. He watches and can do nothing.
This fish is anxious, but it makes sense. Doesn’t it? He has been through an incredible amount of pain and suffering in a short period of time. His wife and children were murdered. His son has been stolen from him. The entire movie is about him trying to find his kidnapped son, while encountering one dangerous situation after another. This is a petri dish for anxiety.
There is a reason he behaves the way he does.
Until we know somebody’s story, we may not know why they behave the way that they do. Like Marlin, there is probably a reason. A reason that they are angry. Or scared. Or sad. Or anxious. Or over-protective.
It isn’t our job to judge. Judgment does not help a situation. Instead of offering judgement, offer love. Offer encouragement. Offer to meet people in their pain and suffering. Offer to love them where they are.
That is what Dory does for Marlin. We all need a little Dory in our lives. Someone who helps us to move forward when we are afraid of what lies ahead.
And it always helps when we are able to recognize when somebody has been through a lot in life. It is helpful when we can come along side them, while allowing them the time and space to heal.
I went through a period of time in my life, years ago, when it was hard for me to move forward from my past. I was afraid that if people knew who I was, or the choices that I had made, that they could not possibly love or accept me.
Over the course of time, God has taken away those fears. I have come to realize that His love for me never changes. I have also come to realize that not everyone will like me. Some people may judge me for past choices I have made, and that is Ok. I am not ruled by the fear of what people may think of me. I am no longer consumed by my past. It is a part of me. It is a part of my story. It does not define me.
We all have a story.
We all have bad things happen in our lives. We all make bad choices. It is part of living in this fallen world.
The next time I encounter someone who seems a little bunched up and Marlin-like, I hope I remember to offer them a smile and a word of encouragement. I hope I remember to say a little prayer for them. I hope I remember that I have not walked a day in their shoes and have no idea what they have been through, or may be going through. I hope I can be like Dory and encourage them to just keep swimming. I hope I can remember that there is often a reason that people behave the way that they do. I hope I will always love people in their Marlin-moments. Because that is how I would want to be treated. And my next one may be right around the corner.