I went to see Finding Dory yesterday and I loved it. Of course it may be because I’m a huge Ellen Degeneres fan. Somehow she manages to make her character so real that I laughed and cried throughout the movie. I also happen to think that Pixar is one of the most magical places on earth and makes some of the best movies there are. I was lucky enough to get a behind the scenes tour of the headquarters in Emmeryville about four years ago from one of the programmers. He was kind enough to show us how a film is made from beginning to end. I nearly applaud each time I see his name in the credits. I feel as though I personally know a celebrity.
The story of Finding Dory is so wonderful on a number of levels. I won’t give anything away because I hate spoilers, but I love its central theme of family. We each have many families in life. There is the one into which we are born which is where hopefully we first learn the meaning of love and acceptance. I’ve been quite fortunate in that regard. Both my mom and dad made me feel quite special. They gave me a foundation of confidence and a sense of security but there have been so many others who have been important in making me the person that I am.
My extended family of grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins always made me feel exceptionally safe, especially after a girl at school reminded me that if my mother ever died I would be an orphan. She asserted that I would have to go away to a foster home and maybe even be split up from my brothers. I had no doubt that someone among my relatives would rescue the three of us and provide us with a home. I never once worried about being lost and alone. I have always been grateful for them and I have hundreds of memories of great times with them.
Over the years I have developed such strong relationships with certain friends that they have come to feel like family as well. I often joke that I have a couple of extra daughters, little girls who spent so much time inside my home when they were growing up that I know them almost as well as my own children. I love them and I believe that they love me back. I would run to help them if they were ever in need and I know from experience that they will be around for me. In fact, they already have done incredible thing for me on numerous occasions.
I also have a huge family of former students who make me feel as though I am the real-life old woman who lives in a shoe. I have so many children, all of whom are now adults and doing well. I’d like to think that I had at least a small part in helping them to become the exceptional people that they are. I’m lucky enough to get to see many of them from time to time and share in the milestones of their lives. I’ve enjoyed graduations, weddings and births. Since life is never without its sorrows I’ve also experienced times of intense sorrow when they have been hurt and I’ve been devastated when they died far too soon. I worry about them and celebrate when they find love or success just as a mom would with her own brood.
I’ve also made developed close friendships along the way with people who are so wonderful that they have become as important to me as blood relatives. They often say that the beauty of friends is that we get to choose them. They are the people who are our kindred spirits. We feel as though we were meant to be with them through some cosmic force. No matter how often we see them we seem to be able to read their minds. We pick up our relationship again and again as though we had been together only minutes before. They make us laugh and listen patiently as we voice our cares and woes. Whatever we need they seem to be willing to give at just the right moment when.
Finding Dory is also about the special talents that each of us possess. It demonstrates that it is not our in our flaws that we are defined but by our unique characteristics. Each of us has something wonderful to offer the world. By joining together and respecting one another we become capable of accomplishing anything.
Again and again I have found that I am never alone even when I am in the most despair. There is always someone somewhere who will answer my cries for help. The world can seem frightening and cold hearted at times but I find that there is much more good than evil, much more love than hate.
I think that we are in a particularly difficult moment in history and it would be easy to feel alone, isolated and angry. Instead Dory, a little blue fish with a short term memory problem, shows us that we have many friends and different kinds of family who will be with us as we find our way. Because of them life is unforgettably wonderful and full of many happy surprises.