Saturday, June 14, 2008

Kung Fu Panda

Back in the early 90s, a period in which I was struggling heavily with my lack of religious faith, I had a dream. I don't seem to have dreams very often, and this one was a doozy. It was so detailed and so important to me that I've never forgotten it.

(What's this have to do with Kung Fu Panda, you ask? Bear with me, please. It'll come.)

In my dream, I awoke from my sleep in what appeared to be a paradise. It wasn't the Heaven of the Bible I recall reading about; there were no mansions, or streets of gold. It was mostly green pastures, rolling hills and a deep, blue sky. But I recall knowing, just by instinct, that it was a special place.

So special, in fact, that I began looking around for God.

"Welcome back," The Voice said. "It's been a long time."

The Voice wasn't the Burning Bush voice from the flick The Ten Commandments. It wasn't a booming, paternal voice at all. In fact, it might have been less a voice than simply an understanding of the message that was being conveyed.

"Yeah, well, it's been a long time since I believed in you." My answer wasn't smart-ass. It was sincere. As we walked through the pastures we didn't speak for a long time. I recall craning my neck around several times, trying to get a glimpse of The Voice. I never did. The Voice always seemed just out of sight.

"You make it too hard to believe in you," I said.

"No, you make it too hard," The Voice replied. "Here, let me show you."

In my dream, The Voice handed me a large, hard-bound book. It was really huge, and heavy. "It's a book of knowledge," it said, "and it might help."

I struggled to open the book cover, but finally pushed the cover open. Inside, was one fragile page of paper, on which looked like one sentence written in Hebrew. I read it, and instantly understood.

It was the meaning of life.

"That's too simple," I said.

The Voice responded with a bit of a laugh. "That's the beauty of it, Marc. It' s so simple, anyone can do it. Like I said, it's you that makes it too hard."

I recall thinking in my dream that I needed to remember what I learned from the book when I awoke. It was at that moment that I did wake up, and although I could recall every other small detail of the dream, the message I'd learned from the book was lost.

Try as I might, I couldn't remember a damn thing I'd read.

Oh, yeah...Kung Fu Panda.

Incredible animation, and terrific voice work by the actors. In fact, the voice acting is by far the most impressive feature of this movie.

The best part of the movie, though?

Three-quarters of the way through the flick, I was reminded of what I'd read in that book. When Po (the Panda) unrolled the scroll to read what was to be his destiny, I realized the message he received and the message from my dream were the same.

We make our own destiny, and shouldn't rely on superstition to map out a destiny for us.

It really is that simple.


Read Me said...

Other than the consistent themes of food and violence, Kung Fu Panda did have that you-are-the-master-of-your-destiny message going for it, I agree. I was wondering why no one tried to read that dragon artwork on the back of the scroll. I'm thinking the hidden message was in there. The other thing that occurred to me was that perhaps the panda and the kitty cat couldn't read it because they weren't the true dragon warriors. That Dustin Hoffman creature probably should have tried to read it.
My favorite line was from the turtle: "Yesterday is history; tomorrow is a mystery; today is a gift. That's why it's called the present."

The Film Geek said...

Ah, yes, Read Me. You are all too correct. Food and violence were heavy themes. Some of the picture was even rather dark.

It's funny: I thought the same thing, about the backside of the scroll! :)

Jackie said...

A great philospher once said, "I like to think I'm a master of my own destiny."

I believe it was Friedrich Nietzsche, but it may have been Randal Graves. Either way, I'm all in.

And I love the pic!!!

The Film Geek said...

Thanks, Jackie. The kids wanted to act out their favorite Kung Fu Panda charactors. But I think my son may be checking his watch.

fishing guy said...

TFG: That is one great picture and I think your son was doing the wax on wax off protective move. You have a great looking family.
The post was interesting and I enjoyed the story.