Castles in the Sand

When the waters rise, will our castles remain?

My love for many things Disney has been well documented. While most people have seen classic Disney movies maybe a couple times in their lives and most recently many years ago, for me a “long time” between viewings consists of a few months or at most a year.

It was with this approach that I went to see “Beauty and the Beast” in a movie theater Sunday afternoon. I was excited for many reasons.

First, that is by far my favorite Disney movie for reasons I probably have explained numerous times and will do so again many times in the future.

Second, the theatrical re-release of Disney classics provides an opportunity for new generations to more fully experience the joy of a Disney childhood. A couple months ago I went with a group of guys to see “The Lion King” in 3D, and the movie theater was packed with ages ranging from little kids to adults like me. We were sharing a unique childhood connection, and I heard numerous kids leaving the theater after loving the movie. They had clearly just experienced it for the first time, while everyone my age was reliving that exact experience nearly 20 years later.

“Beauty and the Beast” hits an even more personal note for me because, as best as I can remember, it was the first movie I ever saw in a theater. Sunday marked the second time I’d seen it in a theater, and I am proud to say that this time I did not have to leave the auditorium after being frightened by the beast (I was four years old the last time, and the beast is really scary when he gets angry on the big screen…)

Since I often measure the passage of time in my life based on memorable sporting events or Disney (and more recently Pixar) movie releases, I thought about the interesting parallel between the two times I’d seen “Beauty and the Beast” in theaters, 20 years apart.

While it was the first movie (at least that I can remember) ever seeing in a theater, it was by no stretch my first Disney experience. I was pretty solidly obsessed with “The Little Mermaid” the first couple years of my life. Feel free to question my masculinity all you want. My mom has a classic picture somewhere of my Little Mermaid birthday cake when I turned three, with me standing next to it with probably the biggest grin you’ll ever see on a child’s face.

In the same way, Sunday’s viewing was not my first experience of this new phase of life, the one I disdainfully refer to as “adulthood.” But in many ways it will serve as a symbol of my transition from childhood. The new year of 2012 introduces my first full year of having a “real” job, a home of my own and a life 500 miles away from my family.

I am truly excited about this next step. God has blessed me in so many ways and provided far beyond any of my needs, and I am pretty much in a constant state of amazement at how perfectly He places things together. Eight months ago I hardly knew anything about Ashland, Ore., and now it really has become home in every way.

I see this as a great challenge. In my last post I wrote about Tim Tebow and the way God has provided him a platform and the ways he is using that platform to glorify God. I referenced three statements from Jesus’ words in the gospels, and I will use them again here:

“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matthew 6:33)

“From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked” (Luke 12:48)

“Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!” (Matthew 25:21)

I think these three verses sum up so well Jesus’ call in our lives. Seek God above all else; wisely use all that has been entrusted to you; share in your master’s happiness. I tend to view this as a circle (of life, perhaps?), where each step pushes us to the next and repeats as long as we walk on this earth.

Obviously when I wrote about this in regards to Tim Tebow it is fairly easy for us to see much that God has entrusted to him and the massive platform he has been handed. It would be comical for me to suggest that my platform is in any way similar in scope or structure. But that is the point of these verses: substance ignores appearance.

These three verses will serve as reminders for me going forward. I have been overwhelmingly blessed, and not for nothing. Complacency is not an option. Whether I like it or not (and in a lot of ways, I don’t), I must embrace my adulthood and accept that I have new opportunities and expectations.

“Beauty and the Beast” is a movie about maturity, learning to look past yourself and love others based on who they really are beyond mere appearances. My first experience of the movie was overwhelming and I was terrified.

I’m no longer that frightened (yet so adorable… Just another reason why it’s sad I had to grow up…) kid. It is time for me to put to use all the blessings God has placed before me. I guess it’s a matter of perspective, and in America we are taught that we never have enough. But I look at what I have and realize I have been given much, and that means that much will be demanded.

Although I do wish I could use antlers in all of my decorating. That would be swell.

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