Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Lessons About Purpose From Moana: Part 3 - Hei Hei the Rooster & The Ancestors of Montunui

In this post, I am going to look at two different entities: Hei Hei the Rooster, and the ancestors of Montunui.  There isn't a real connection I want to draw between both.  It's just that there isn't AS much to say about them individually, so it seemed logical to combine them into one post.

Let's start with Hei Hei the Rooster.  Every good animated movie has to have some silly animal sidekick, and Moana did not disappoint in this regard.  From the beginning, Hei Hei is problematic.  He can't seem to rooster the way all the other roosters rooster.  He just doesn't get it right.  He marches to the beat of his own drum.  And yet, Moana is always looking out for him, and always pointing him in the right direction.  She often has to put him back on course, as he gets so sidetracked while he is on mission.  Look, I have never had to deal with ADHD long term.  So I can't say that I truly understand what every single day would look like.  All I can say is that Gabapentin has made me feel as if I have ADHD and I can see this in Hei Hei.  He is always ready to go on the journey, but the distractions all around him often lure him down other paths.

Can anyone relate to that?

There's something else about Hei Hei.  He accidentally winds up on this journey across the ocean with Moana, and when he looks out and sees the ocean all around him, he just starts screaming.  

Can anyone else relate to THAT?

All Hei Hei sees is the water.  But Moana reassures Hei Hei.  She tells him that the ocean is a friend.  And instead of questioning, Hei Hei just blindly believes that what Moana is saying is true.  He looks at the water, and he just dives right in.  Moana actually has to go after him, because he doesn't realize he can't swim.  She rescues him and puts him back on the boat.  And then the minute she looks away, he tries to go right back to the ocean.  There is something about the ocean that calls to Hei Hei.  It's almost like something that is built deep inside of him.  He can't help but dive in.

Faith has always been very hard, and yet very easy for me.  It is easy in that I don't need to do a lot of research or study or debate to believe that Jesus died to save me.  I have never doubted God or who Jesus is.

And if the ocean depths are representative of all that God is, then I am Hei Hei, in that I want to just dive in.  Oftentimes, I just jump into things without looking.  How I manage my emotions is a good picture of this.  I am very reactive with my emotions.  In the moment, if something happens, I don't stop and think.  I don't breathe.  I'm already 10 steps into the world's worst scenario in my mind before I realize what is happening and have to fight to bring myself back down to reality.

If you get to know me even a little, you will learn that I am excited about Heaven.  I cannot wait to leave this broken, always-hurting body and be united with Christ.  The quiet faith of my parents planted a seed in my heart, and the age old hymns which have a habit of pointing to Heaven, watered it.  My life experiences, my choices, and my pain--physical and emotional--have left me with an intense longing for that Home across the horizon.

I love the way The Message version translates Revelation 21:4:

I heard a voice thunder from the Thone: "Look!  Look!  God has moved into the neighborhood, making his home with men and women! They're his people, he's their God.  He'll wipe every tear from their eyes.  Death is gone for good--tears gone, crying gone, pain gone--all the first order of things gone."  The Enthroned continued, "Look!  I am making everything new.  Write it all down--each word dependable and accurate."

I just believe that.  One day, there will be a home for me in Heaven, and God will take away all of my pain.  But sometimes, I get ahead of myself, just like Hei Hei.  Sometimes I want to run right to Heaven and I tell God, "I'm ready now.  I think it's time to go home"  But each time, he has to remind me that He still has a plan for me here, and I have work to do.  Sometimes when I veer off course, I am gently restored back to my purpose.  And other times, I need to be forcefully put into a safe place so that I can breathe and be patient with myself and God's purpose for my life.

This leads me (not too smoothly) into talking about the ancestors of Montunui.  Moana's ancestors didn't always stay in their village.  In fact, we find out that Maui (the demigod who started all of the problems) used to pull up islands from the ocean and Moana's ancestors would voyage and discover those islands.  

There was a time when their entire purpose was to read the sky and sail the oceans.  They knew how to read the stars, and they knew who they were, and how to get back home.  They always kept their home island in their minds, and in doing so, they always knew the way home.  It didn't matter whether they were voyaging towards their forever home on that distant horizon, or if they were discovering other islands and creating villages along the way.

The bottom line is this:  they KNEW the way.  They were able to sail the ocean, between their two homes, and they knew the way to get to both.  While they were alive, they discovered villages throughout the ocean and went back home to refresh and be around their community.  But then after a time of rest, they would voyage again, aiming to discover the farthest horizon.  

There used to be a time where Moana's ancestors and the village of Montunui freely gave of their time and energy to sail the ocean and search for more islands.  It was just what they did.  They didn't stay within the shelter of their own village, safe on their own island.  They realized that the world was bigger than their village, and there was life to discover out there.  And while they did not plunge headlong into a dangerous and vast ocean the way Hei Hei might, they still obediently sought out new islands.  And they KNEW how to do it.  They had generation upon generation who were taught to sail.  But somewhere along the way, Moana's ancestors lost sight of their original purpose.  They allowed the things of the world to distract them and pull them away from what they were designed to do.  They closed themselves off, content to stay in their village, and slowly, each generation forgot, until only the oldest generation still remembers the truth.

It can no longer be good enough to stay in our village.  Our purpose has to be beyond ourselves.  We have to stop trying to hide in our own villages and calling it good enough. We need to realize that there is an ocean full of people out there who have been hurt by the world, and in some cases, by  the very village we are content to stay inside.

Maybe it's time for someone to stand up and say, "I was called to something bigger than what is inside of this village.  My purpose is to voyage beyond my own village and seek out other islands.  I have a hope to offer to a broken and hurting world."

It's a bit terrifying and I have no idea what the future will hold, but I want to be one that stands up and says, "The ocean is calling me.  I will go."  And I want to continue to dive headlong, like Hei Hei, towards Heaven, and trust God to put me back on course when I lose sight of what my true purpose is while I am here on earth.

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