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Thursday, December 30, 2010

At Last I See the Light

Today I saw Disney's Tangled for the second time. Not only do I have to give it tremendous credit for being just as amazing as the classic Disney films, but it is so full of symbolism and meaning that not mentioning it would just be a shame.

A major symbol of the movie is the sun, shown all over Rapunzel's home kingdom. It is the symbol that ultimately "sheds light" on her true identity as a princess. But by far one of the best scenes of the movie is when Rapunzel and Eugene are in a boat waiting to see the lanterns that are lit every year to beckon the lost princess home.

Rapunzel, who has spent her whole life locked away in a tower has dreamed of nothing more than this moment, to see the lights rise into the sky. As they're waiting for the lanterns to be lit, she asks Eugene what she's supposed to do after her dream is complete. What's left after that? He responds, "That's the beauty of it. You get to go find a new dream."

And then the lights lift into the sky and the two sing this beautiful song.

As I watched today, I couldn't help but feel connected to all of this, to the whole power of the movie.

Rapunzel, who has lived her life bound by the tight rules of the old woman who kidnapped her as a baby and posed as her mother, has a really difficult time sneaking out of the tower to go see these lanterns. She has a huge internal battle as she tries to reconcile the rules that she has been taught define good and bad and the incredible joy she feels out in the world pursuing her dream. Eventually she continues on her journey, ending up at last in the boat with the dreamy Eugene as the lights rise majestically into the air.

To go after her dream she had to disobey the very rules that established the world she lived in. And while it wasn't easy, something pushed her onward. And in the end that dream and the journey to it brought her joy beyond comparison.

I often feel the same way. In order to have what my heart desires I have to defy some rules that once defined my world. The conflict that ate at me when I first chose my current path was terrible. But now, on this end, I find so much joy. And I feel so much more complete because of my journey.

One last aspect that I love in this movie is the celebration of individuality within it. Perhaps it was something that I personally got out of the movie, but I find it valuable nonetheless. Through the whole film we see how much joy Rapunzel gets out of being her true self. As the city prepares for the festival of the lanterns Rapunzel dances all around the square, simply loving being alive. I personally think that the symbol of the sun, which is also seen through the power of Rapunzel's hair, is used to express that inner beauty and show its true potential.

And so it is with us. Each of us has within us that light of individuality, that part of us that makes us unique. And as we share that with the world it fills the world with light. Light that is empowering, light that is humbling, and light that heals broken hearts.

This part of the movie hits me so strongly, because I feel like light has been coming back into my life throughout the past year. It has been an incredible journey, just as Rapunzel's was. And just like Rapunzel, I had a companion on my journey that really made all the difference.

And so, here's to you, the one who helped me to see the light.


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