August is holiday time where I live. The schools are closed and life moves to a different rhythm. 9am Wednesday morning saw me taking my seat in the cinema. Seeing a film on a big screen before midday on a weekday morning counts as a winning activity in my book. I love films and I love having my senses overwhelmed by a big screen cinema experience. I was there to see a pretty important film, something which I’ve been waiting to see for quite a while….. I was in the very select audience of 12 waiting to see the third film in the epic, live changing movie franchise which is Kung Fu panda. It probably looked as though I was there because of my children’s desire to see the movie, but actually it was all my doing.
I love Po, the dumpling eating, generally enthusiastic but off-message, kung fu, dragon warrior panda. If you’re not familiar with the films he is the surprise heir to the ‘Dragon Warrior’ title. He is pretty sure it’s all a mistake, as is everyone else. It seems that it is up to him to save all of China from all sorts of evils. Po is under the tutelage of Master Oogway ( a turtle) who has learned to live in a contented and therefore powerful state, and who believes Po can attain the same.
There are no coincidences in Kung Fu Panda. Everything is termed ‘a message from the Universe’. There are constant references to a higher consciousness and Po slowly but surely learns the lessons the universe wants to teach him and discovers both contentment and the power to help others. Along the way he is given encouragement and teaching from his Kung Fu master Shifu.
If you only do what you can do, you will never be more than you are
Last night was the heavenly spectacle of the Perseid meteor shower. I lay in my garden staring at the sky hoping to see some bright lights sparking across the night sky. A little like the cinema, I find stargazing an extraordinary and overwhelming sensory experience. As I look I see more and more stars and planets, and become aware of the smells of the plants and grass, and the sounds of the darkness. For the past few years every time I’ve looked at the stars I’ve been conscious of a memory of another occasion when I looked at the stars in the company of someone else. Last night I tried to set that memory aside. I let my mind stay fully present. I thought about the God who put the stars in the sky. The creator of the universe. I wondered what messages from the universe there were for me in the sky as I watched.
I reflected on a God who enjoys my company. I was stargazing in God’s company. I wasn’t alone. I felt loved and known and each time I saw a bright light shoot across the sky it was like a gift; a message. As I lay watching the sky, the old memories tried to crowd into my mind. I realised that I was lying with my hands clenched across my chest. I was remembering the feel of another’s hand in mine. I’ve been trying to let go for so long. But last night I knew that the God who made the universe could be trusted with all that I need to hand over. I loosened my fists. I let my hands relax to my sides. I gave it up to the stars – the old hurts, the sadness, the bitterness, the frustration, the memories of the loneliness which had wracked me at that time in my life. I let it go. The feelings, the memories, they mixed with the lights and the darkness, and the stars continued to shoot across the sky.
If you only do what you can do, you will never be more than you are now
I know that memories create chains that keep me pinned to my past. I want to be more than I am now, but I find it hard to believe that I can do more than I can do. I have been so sure that I can’t find release from my past, and yet, when I listen and look I find that I’m being offered the keys.
So last night I heard the messages from the God of the universe. I believed the promise that all things can be made new. I want to keep giving over my memories to the God who puts on meteor showers for my enjoyment. I want to become so immersed in all that is good and beautiful in my life now that the past doesn’t have a hold on me.
If a dumpling loving panda can do it with the help of an aged turtle, I’m pretty sure I can give it a go with the God of the universe.