Thursday, May 12, 2022

Lessons About Purpose From Moana: Part 4 - Sina

Today I want to talk about Moana's mother, Sina.  She represents one of three voices that Moana has heard her entire life.  As Moana grows up and tries to figure out who she is, there are 3 constants in her life.  Her mother, her father, and her grandmother.  These voices speak into her from the time she is very little, and continue speaking as she grows up and is being trained to become the next chief of her village.  It is interesting to me that three voices from the same family can give three very different messages about what Moana's purpose is.

Of the advice given, none of it is bad, per sae.  The choice will be up to her.  There isn't a clear cut right or wrong answer for her.  Her village DOES need her.  She will be their chief and what chief doesn't live among her people?

We don't actually see Sina too much in the movie.  She appears here and there and seems to be portrayed as the peacemaker in the family, and perhaps the voice of reason.  She may seem like she is playing both sides, always trying to convince Moana that her father just wants what is best for her and their people, but I don't see it that way at all.

I think that Sina wants Moana to stay on the island.  Sina wants Moana to listen to her father's wise counsel because she wants to protect Moana.  She knows there is an ocean out there, and she tries to help Moana see the reason behind WHY her father doesn't want her to go beyond their reef. She herself isn't sure whether it is better to stay on the island or go, but we are given enough indication to believe that she would have preferred Moana never set foot on the ocean.  And yet, when the time came to either stop Moana or encourage her to go, she had to make a choice.

There is this scene in the movie where Moana has decided to leave the village and try to seek help for their dying island across the great ocean.  As her grandmother lays ill, and at her urging, Moana rushes to back her bag.  As she is gathering her things, she senses something and looks up to find her mother standing in the doorway.  There is a look of "Uh oh, I'm caught." on Moana's face, as she wonders if Sina will try to stop her.  

And then, Sina does what Moana probably needed the most.  

She looks at Moana, full of compassion and understanding, and she stoops down next to her and helps her pack her bag.  

She is giving silent permission for Moana to go.  She doesn't want Moana to go.  She is fearful and doesn't know if she will ever see her daughter again.  But she also is hopeful that Moana can do something to save the village and their island.  She sends her out with hopeful expectation.  She is like the early churches who would send Paul and Barnabas and other missionaries off across the sea to foreign islands.  They would say goodbye to their beloved community and they would set sail across the ocean, trying to save those still drowning in the ocean.

I see this in myself as a parent.  When your kids become teenagers, they begin to try to figure out who they are.  It can be painful to watch them make choices that are different than what we would have made.  Something I am learning though is that my kids are not me, and they are most definitely growing up in a world that is far different than what I encountered at their age.  The simple truth is this: my kids will not do things the way I did.  The path they ultimately take to get to Jesus is not in my hands.  Kris and I planted as many seeds as we were capable of, and even when we didn't do it right, our intentions were always to honor God and raise our children up to know God, love Jesus, and to look to something beyond themselves.  

We may never see the fruition of the years of hard labor, trying to point them in the best direction possible.  Our children have to wrestle with the faith they saw modeled growing up, and learn to deconstruct and reconstruct it in a way that points them to Jesus.  Some may need quiet urging, and others may need the rug pulled out from under them.  Regardless, that part will likely not be my job, and so I have to let them go.  

I have to be like Sina, who knows there is risk in exploring the vastness of the sea, but encourages my children to go anyway, because perhaps it is out there that they will find out where their true purpose lies.  Maybe the sea will shape them into who they are meant to be.  

At the end of the movie, Sina and Tui are inspecting the plants.  They are both looking down when Sina senses something that makes her look towards the ocean.  On the horizon, she sees something and she takes off running.  Even though she had let Moana go, she never stopped waiting and hoping for Moana's return. She was always ready, which is why she sensed Moana, before she spotted her.  

Sina has within her what I want to tap into.  Because she is waiting with hopeful anticipation, her eyes and ears are always open.  She is waiting for the slightest rustling on the wind.  The smallest change in temperature or smell.  She is so ready for Moana to come home that while she can go about daily tasks, there is always a part of her waiting and hoping for Moana.

I want to be like that with the world around me.  I want to always be listening.  I want to do this because if I do, and someone around me starts to fall off of my boat, I can be so in tune that I notice it right away and can grab them before they go under.  Beyond that, I want to be so aware of what is going on around me and so full of hopeful expectation that I can sense people drowning in the water before I come upon them, so that I can offer them rescue sooner.  I want my heart to be so in tune with God and his purpose for my life that I can jump at a moment's notice into the water and go after the ones who can't reach my life raft.

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