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The Lion King

Well I figured it was time to talk about my all-time favorite animated movie. There are so many great aspects of this movie but I am only going to talk about two of them. If you have seen the movie you will understand this very well. If you have not seen the movie I’m wondering what planet you live on. If you’re an adult without kids and haven’t seen it make sure you do. The great thing about animated movies is many of them speak to adults as much as they do to the children, and many of those messages can be discussed. In fact, I used more excerpts from the Lion King than any other movie when I taught Christian formation to my students.
The first thing to discuss is the circle of life. It is the song that opens the movie, and all I can say, is that first 4 min. is exactly how you should open a movie. The concept is quite simple; every second a new life begins and one ends. The pride land seems to be in perfect balance in the movie as all the animals prepare to meet newly born Simba their future King. Simba is like any other child growing up playing with his friends and learning everything he can from his father.  Like any child, Simba puts his father on a pedestal as this strong, brave figure that can never be harmed and that will be around forever. When his father dies he feels lost, hopeless, and blames himself for his death. Later on he is challenged to return and take his place as the rightful King. It is at this point in the movie where Simba finally begins to understand the circle of life. As he peers into a pond he soon sees the reflection of his father. He realizes that although his father is not there, he lives within him. What an important lesson for him to learn, ultimately allowing him to remember who he is, and allowing him to go back and continue his destiny as King.Even though I lost my father, I know he lives within me and I felt him right beside me during my journey in Italy. There are also many gestures, looks, and mannerisms I do that are right from my father.
The next thing from this movie to discuss should come as no surprise to many of you who know me. Hakuna Matata has become my catch phrase in how I live my life. In Swahili it means “no worries”. It is a way of life that has allowed me to stay focused on what is truly important. I like anyone still have worries; however they do not consume me. My personality prior to my diagnosis had a lot of Hakuna Matata in it already. But during times of crisis people tend to gravitate even further to who they are. This lifestyle allowed Simba a chance to escape and grow up until he understood who he really was, and then he was able to face reality. I am facing my reality much the same way.  After going through denial, anger, and acceptance, this way of life, or spirit as I sometimes say, has allowed me to face my struggles in the way that works best for me.
The lion King is a wonderful movie with many more messages that could be explored but these two really stand out to me. And if you haven’t done so, go see the Broadway production; you will be amazed.

Hakuna Matata!!


One response to “The Lion King

  1. Laura Griffin ⋅

    Hi Jim,

    We just read this in our art therapy group on Thursday pm. We do an annual play each year and did Lion King in 2000. We agree with your two comments on “The Circle of Life” and “Hakuna Matata” as ways to live our lives. We also saw your YouTube “The New Normal.” We’re so glad you’re coming to speak to us tomorrow! You are our hero!!

    Laura & the Thursday pm Art Therapy group: Mark, Nick, Ryan, Mai Yang, Mike, David & Steve.

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