Friday, October 11, 2013

The Lesson From Rafiki

Being the father of one son and two daughters, I’ve watched my share of Disney movies.  Still do, actually.  One of my all-time favorites was one of the older ones, Dumbo.  I’ve watched that one over and over, like I did with Mary Poppins and several others. 

Wil never had one favorite.  He sort of liked them all, especially the comedies because he loves to laugh.  Emily’s favorite is Mulan.  It fits her.  It’s the story of a girl hero in a man’s world, with a love story woven in.  My little romantic.  (I think you can see my smile and hear my sigh, can’t you?)  Hannah’s favorite is The Little Mermaid.   It fits Hannah because it’s a story of a girl who follows her heart and pursues her dreams, trying desperately not to disappoint her dad.  (Yeah, another smile and another sigh!)

But there is yet another, Lion King, I’d like to write about.  Specifically, The Lesson From Rafiki. 

I was reminded of it earlier this week when we had an assembly for the kids at my school.  The presenter mentioned it to the kids and a light bulb went on in my head.  It reminded me of one of the themes I’ve presented often in my posts.

Remember the scene when Simba, the young son of Mufasa, was feeling sorry for himself?  Rafiki bopped him on the head with his staff.  Simba said, “Ouch! What was that for?”  Rafiki mumbles, “Don’t worry about it.  It’s in the past.”  Simba complains, “Well, the past hurt.”  Rafiki answers, “You have two choices.  You can learn from it or run from it.”

The Lesson From Rafiki . . . learn from your past or run from it.

Yes, sometimes the past hurts.  One’s past can hurt a great deal.  I don’t want to minimize that because I’ve worked with kids and adults whose lives were anything but painful, ugly and grotesque. 

I get that because I’ve seen it.  To some degree, I’ve felt it.  

But sometimes, though, "remembering" the past can be distorted.  Sometimes "remembering" the past can be much worse than what it actually was.  Sometimes "remembering" the past, well, colors it to our way of thinking and what we actually "remember" about our past is actually rather fictional.

Recently, I wrote a post titled No Excuses!  In it, I wrote about two young men who rose above their pasts.  They rose above the pain and the life they were born into.  They made a choice and that choice wasn’t to let the past ruin their future.

You know, we all make mistakes.  We’ve all made mistakes.  Some big, some small.  We’ve tripped and we’ve stumbled.  And for the most part, we’ve picked ourselves up, dusted ourselves off, and we’ve moved on. 

That’s one choice.

One can spend so much time living in the past . . . and blaming the past . . . that one forgets to live in the present.  We play ‘ain’t it awful!’  We point fingers, and generally, never at ourselves.  Because we spend so much time wallowing in our past misery, an unbiased, objective observer might wonder if we enjoy it so much that we don’t ever want to leave it.

Hmmm . . .

And if we are that controlled by the past, if we dwell in the past, and if we don’t live in the present, we have no future.  None.

That’s the other choice.

The Lesson From Rafiki . . . learn from your past or run from it.  And I believe that if we run from our past, we end up actually never leaving it.  We actually end up living in the past instead of running from it.

So really, when you think about it, it’s not much of a choice.  Actually, no choice at all.  Something to think about . . . 

Live Your Life, and Make A Difference!

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Thank you for your comment. I welcome your thought. Joe