When you are looking for a good title for your blog, you usually want to find something that is really eye catching. Sometimes the actual course of my thoughts is so strange that I don’t even need to try and come up with something catchy. This is a good example.
This week I saw Toy Story 3 for the first time. And the second. And the third. And the fourth (if you have preschoolers than you understand this). And while I’m watching it, I’m thinking, this has got to be one of the saddest children’s movies of all time. Don’t get me wrong, I really liked the movie and I understand that it is the natural flow of the story line and the best possible ending for it. But, since when did kids movies have to play out their story lines to their inevitable ending. We never watch Cinderella and Prince Charming grow older and struggle with balance between work and castle life. We never know which one dies first and how it destroys the other one. We were all just satisfied with “happily ever after” and didn’t need reality to slip in and ruin the fairy tale. The unavoidable nature of growing older and changing, the sting of loss, and the depressing feeling of outliving your usefulness. Those are heavy concepts for a kids flick. It’s like a 2 hour animated mid-life crisis.
Again, I am not trying to bash the movie. I really liked it. I just wasn’t expecting it to depress me so much. I didn’t expect it to be about death. And I’m not talking about physical death (although, there are a lot of toys that aren’t around anymore in Andy’s room), that’s only one kind of death. Before we reach that point we have all died a million little deaths along the way. Every loss or change is the death of what was to make way for what will be. And we mourn the loss of life as we knew it. And we cry when we look at pictures of our children when they were babies, because they will never be babies again. We drive past the house we grew up in and feel the heaviness of the loss of our childhood, never to be relived again.
Gavin is already struggling with this reality. Every time we try to throw out some old toy he doesn’t play with anymore and he notices, he cries out “but I am never going to see it ever, ever again.” And all of a sudden the memory of that one car ride where he pulled out this happy meal toy and played with it, for the first and last time, overwhelms him with grief.
It seems like every good thing we have is also a stinging reminder of how temporary life is. It seems that whenever I am having a truly wonderful moment with my kids, a part of me is sad, thinking about how this will only last for a moment and then they will grow up. Change is inevitable and it always hurts. The more joy you get from something, the more painful the thought of losing it.
Can you believe that all of this morbid thought flowed out of watching Toy Story? Seriously, I need to work on being more optimistic. Well here’s the happy ending… In Christ death has no sting.
Those who are followers of Christ can look forward to a “new heaven” and a “new earth.” One that is free from the corruption and destruction of sin. And one that is completely free from the fear of death. Every kind of death, from the smallest to the greatest. We will live with an unchanging God in an unchanging kingdom. No more loss, no more loved ones moving on and away from our lives. And perhaps, no toys bagged up and thrown in the attic.
Heaven, among many things, will, in fact, be the death of death.