One of the elders of the church, as a gift a few months back, gave our family tickets to the theater. We finally were able to make use of them and went to see the summer blockbuster, Toy Story 3. Don’t read on if you haven’t seen it.
The plot revolves around the beloved toys Woody, Buzz Lightyear, Jessie, Mr. and Mrs. Potatohead, etc. (of a now older teen Andy) having to face a future without Andy. What will it be, the attic in hopes Andy will have his own children one day, or the curb to go to the dump? A third option appears and they all opt to go to a daycare center (save Woody who remains devoted to Andy but ends up there part of the time anyway). At first, it seems like a dream come true to the toys with all the children but then the ugly truth emerges. There is a despot toy who runs the center like a prison, they are trapped in the room with toddlers who bust them up, and they have to figure a way out and how to get home.
Although it seems like a kids movie, I think this movie is really a message for the adults who inevitably end up watching it. Although the movie abounds with humor for the kids, in the end, I see it as a metaphor for us all. Baby boomers and Gen Xers grew up, like the toys in the story, in a pretty cool world. We now face futures (deficits, wars, the environment, job insecurity, etc.) that seem wrought with hard options (the attic or the curb?). Churches can feel this way too, particularly mainline churches. The best times can seem like they are all in the past.
With some powerful symbolism, salvation for the toys comes just when they decide to face a rather grim ending but to do it together. And what happens? Do they all end up together in the attic? Or prison in the daycare center? Is it the end of their existence? Or does Andy take them to college? No, instead a new future, an unexpected one, one that Woody had initially rejected earlier, ends up being the best for all.
Hope. The character Woody preaches hope to his fellow toys even when he has doubt. But for that hope to come to reality, Woody has to let go of his preconceived notions of the way he think things should work out. And when he does a new future emerges.
Maybe it is a message we can all take with us as we face our own futures.
I definitely recommend Toy Story 3 for young and old.
All the best,