I’m not a big t.v. watcher. I can name my faithful favorites on one hand: Scandal, Mary Mary, Chopped and Wheel of Fortune! Occasionally I’ll feast on HGTV or Cooking Channel. Other than that, if the t.v. is on in my house, it’s showing cartoons. And I must admit, I’ve learned more life lessons from watching cartoons that anything else I watch.
Po from Kung Fu Panda continues to be one of my favorites. The most unlikely (and un-liked) person–panda rather–in the entire village is chosen to be The Master Warrior. Reminds me of Bible stories like David being chosen as King of Israel, Gideon being chosen to defeat a massive army with only 300 men, Rahab the prostitute being spared from death in the victory over Jericho, little insignificant and unknown Mary to birth the Savior into the world. Talk about turning the world on its head! Just when we think we are so unfit to achieve something great, life has a way of showing us that we are the perfect person for the job!
After Po completes a grueling training to prove he can become The Master Warrior, a sequel is released in which Po is confronted by his unknown past. (If you haven’t seen the movie, sorry that I’m giving away all the details.) So Master Shifu (pronounced She-fu) wants to teach Po how to have inner peace. The meditative chant: Inner Peace, Inner Peace…Inner Inner Peace is repeated throughout the movie, with no luck in helping Po achieve any real peace within himself. It wasn’t until the climax and height of tension that Po realizes the secret to achieving real peace, and this is where I’m hit hard every time:
The Peacock, Po’s enemy says: “How did you do it? I scarred you for life. How did you achieve inner peace?”
Po responds: “Scars heal….what matters is what you choose to be.”
Peace, happiness, contentment, any of the things we desire in life, come only through our choosing–not by our circumstances. On most days, I think I have many reasons to be bitter: I lost my husband at the age of 24, I live 3 1/2 hours away from all my family, my most frequent places to visit are work, church and the grocery store. Unless I just specifically plan for something else, my “free time” is spent cleaning my house. So many scars…but like The Master Warrior points out to his perpetrator, I am not a victim unless I choose to be.
Please don’t think I am minimizing hardship. Despite how tragic my story may seem, there are many who face challenges even greater and much more present: rape, homelessness, sickness, joblessness and more plague the lives of too many around us. Too many that are closer than we realize. I know from experience that when you are in the middle of a hard time, you can’t always see that even in these circumstances, you still have a choice. Life will always be ready to inflict scars. Just don’t forget that scars really do heal: so what do you choose to be?
Let’s learn from that adorable cartoon panda, whose parents were killed and he ended up being raised by a duck in a noodle shop, that we can truly have Inner, Inner Peace. Challenge yourself to choose magnificence in the midst of your beautiful struggles. 🙂