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Hopeful Perspective

One of the things I’ve missed the most during this past year is going to the movies. Without fail, my family would all pile in the car and head to the theater to see the newest Disney film every June and November. It’s a tradition we all enjoy, so when it was announced that Soul would be available on Christmas day we knew we just had to watch it. It was so nice to be able to relax with my family and take back a little bit of our tradition, but I wasn’t prepared for how much this movie would speak to me.

There was one particular story the character Dorothea shared with Joe after a pivotal moment in the film. She said, “I heard this story about a fish. He swims up to an older fish and says, ‘I’m trying to find this thing they call the ocean.’

‘The ocean?’ the older fish says, ‘that’s what you’re in right now.’

 ‘This,’ says the young fish, ‘this is water. What I want is the ocean!’”

How many times have I been the “young fish” throughout my life? How many experiences or relationships have I been checked out when I should have been more present? I can’t tell you how many times during the month of December I heard people expressing their desire for 2020 to just be over already so 2021 can start. I couldn’t quite put into words why those statements bothered me so much until I watched that particular scene of the film.

By focusing on all the bad, you lose sight of the good. This last year was filled with answered prayer, compassion, resiliency and growth throughout the world. Yes, there has been pain and suffering, but we as a church are not left without hope – a hope which goes beyond a bad week, month, or even year. Proverbs 31:30 says this: “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” Yes, women are the specific target of this verse, but it kept repeating in my head when I was praying over this post. I feel it applies to our situation, as well. There are things of this world which will come and go. The physical things we love and enjoy, that we’re blessed with and help make life enjoyable, are all temporary. If we’re so blinded by our need to fill our lives with those things, we lose our ability to praise God for all the things He’s already given us. So don’t get stuck in a “young fish” mindset. Be the “older fish” that knows how to recognize the ocean from the water and praise.

- Serena Maerkl