I didn't think anything could bump The Iron Giant out of my favourite Disney slot ... but have you seen Moana?
I know I'm super late to the Moana party, but wow.
That scene at the end?
It gets me every time. I turn into a crying mess. (Which Sam adores - he loves when I cry over a movie, and he asks a million questions to untangle precisely why I'm tearing through the kleenex.)
If you who haven't yet seen it, here is a super-condensed summary. Moana is our heroine. She's the daughter of a chief on an island, and in order to save the island she has to voyage across the sea to restore the stolen heart of the goddess Te Fiti.
Her final and greatest obstacle is the lava monster, Te Ka, who lives on a reef surrounding the island of Te Fiti. When she overcomes and finally reaches Te Fiti, Moana is taken aback because ... Te Fiti is gone. She turns, bewildered, to look back at the raging lava monster, and suddenly sees that the heart (a stone with a spiral pattern) fits exactly into the seething lava chest of Te Ka.
Te Ka is who Te Fiti became without her heart. And I feel like I'm looking at a picture of humanity as God made us, and humanity as we are now.
At Moana's request, her friend the ocean separates and makes a path to Te Ka.
Te Ka, no longer impeded by the water, races across the ocean floor to kill Moana. She doesn't run or scream or hide - Moana holds the gleaming heart up high and walks toward Te Ka, singing, "I have crossed the horizon to find you. I know your name!"
The music is moving, beautiful, and the images are poetry. The lava monster, sheer rage, howling and snarling; Moana, full of hope and pity.
But the part that gets me isn't the incredible talent that was poured into the movie.
It's the familiarity of it.
This is my story. My story. I know that rage, that helpless wounded anger of being hurt, changed, into a person I don't want to be. My heart stolen, and being trapped in misery. Yeah. I feel you, Te Ka.
But even more - deeper, older - ... it's our story. We long for better. We ache to be restored, to be whole and pure and flowing with life. We want that Garden, where we walked with God and worked without impediment and rejoiced in love.
Moana keeps singing: "This does not define you. This is not who you are. You know who you are. Who you truly are."
We know this isn't right. Greed, arrogance, violence, ... they're not the way things have always been. They're monstrous and they hurt us because they ruin. There was better. Once we knew wholeness and life and joy. This is not who we are.
And Jesus crossed a horizon to find us. And Jesus knows our name (our names!). And Jesus came to restore - oh, not just one heart, but every heart. And He walked right up to the fierce lava monster and stretched out His hands and restored its heart.
And my heart.
And my heart.
Yeah. I love that story. My story.