Kung Fu Lessons

My second time at Kung Fu Panda, I actually took notes. To those who know me, this will not seem unusual. I take notes at my kids’ field trips to the Indianapolis Rowing Center and the Newport Aquarium. I take notes in meetings and at church. But at a movie aimed for children?

Yes, indeed. The first viewing struck me as predictable but I was keenly aware of the little morsels of wisdom or interesting lines delivered by the animal characters.

One of my favorites came from the wise, old tortoise who gently ruled the Valley of Peace. “One oftens meets his destiny on the road he takes to avoid it.”

I’m not much into destiny. I believe that my “destiny” is actually part of a plan that God has for my life. But I have to agree with the tortoise that sometimes when I take a road that I think will lead to happiness and purpose, I find myself in pain and despair. Yet it is on this very road of pain and despair that I find my life and my purpose.

I also love the line, which I think is on my quote page, I think. You’ll have to go to my quote page to see the actual quote from Master Oogway. Not his original, but a great one nonetheless.

Okay, then there’s the whole notion of finding your destiny when you let go of the illusion that you are in control. See my posts on 05/04/08 and more recently the one on 06/26/08. Oogway tells Master Shifu that he cannot control the peach tree no matter how hard he tries. He can’t control if it grows fruit or not, nor when it might bear its fruit. Master Shifu, much like me, argues with Oogway that he can take the seed of the peach and control where he grows a tree though. Yes, but if you want an apple tree, no matter how much you want it, it will still grow a peach tree. Some things will just happen because that is what or who they were meant to be.

Such as Po the big Panda who is named the Dragon Warrior, the highly esteemed position for the best of the best in Kung Fu. The problem is… no one thinks he is worthy. Clearly, he’s not the best. Not even close. He’s a big, fat, slow, clumsy Panda. But he loves Kung Fu and he will not quit. He says if he quits trying to become the Dragon Warrior, then he goes back to being “me” and he doesn’t want to be “me” any longer.

He asks Master Shifu how he is going change him, how he’s going to make this fat Panda that he is into the Dragon WArrior? Master Shifu says: “You have to trust me, your Master, as I trust my Master” (Oogway). Reminds me of how Jesus tells us to follow him as he follows his Father. But do we believe that even Jesus can change us? Sometimes I doubt because I believe I am just a big, fat Panda with no talent, especially talent like a Dragon Warrior!

Later in the movie a sweet conversation takes place between Po and his father, a noodle maker. His father decides to tell Po that when he makes his special noodles that everyone loves, he has no secret ingredient. Po, the Panda, is astounded. How could his father, after all these years of hiding the secret ingredient, have no secret ingredient at all?

The point, his father says, is that if you believe something is special, then it will be special. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to get where this is going. Po starts to believe in his potential to truly BE not only the Dragon Warrior but HIMSELF.

I don’t necessarily think that if I simply believe I am something that I will be that. But I will take the idea that if I believe and trust God to help me be who I am meant to be, he will be faithful. I do my job – staying present in my journey – and he will do his job to lead me… and run the Universe.

I won’t ruin the rest of the movie, but let me just say that Po learns some serious Kung Fu moves. You Go Po!

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