Dory suffers from short-term memory loss and is not afraid to admit it. She accepts it, faces it, does not let it hold her back. She is a model of resiliency and authenticity!
Hank is a crabby octopus cares only for himself until he is transformed by the love and acceptance of Dory and becomes part of her community.
Baily, a beluga whale, suffers from low self-esteem about his sonar abilities and Destiny, a whale shark, is nearly blind. They help each other and overcome their anxieties. It is friendship and true community at it’s best.
Marlin, Nemos’ dad says something he wishes he hadn’t, suffers guilt and is forgiven.
Nemo, in true “a child shall lead them” fashion encourages his dad to search for his friend and help her.
Jenny and Charlie, Dory’s parents, struggle with how much freedom to give to their child and how to best equip her for the real world. This is every parents struggle and so lovingly portray
These are great characters and there are many teachable moments in the film, but the scene that touched me most deeply was one where Dory is worried that her parents no longer care for her or have stopped looking for her after she became lost several years earlier. She discovers a shell path and remembers that shells were the way her parents would mark the path to get her home safely. She follows the shell path and it leads her home.
Then, the camera pulls back and shows us the house, in the middle of the screen, with shell paths coming it from it in every direction calling Dory home and helping her find her way. It creates a sun shape with every ray placed there to help Dory find her way back home.
As a minister, I could not help but associate the shells in the movie with the baptism shells used in baptism. I thought of my own children and my grandchildren’s baptisms. I thought of the many children I have baptized or have been present when they were baptized. And, in the middle of a Disney movie, I prayed. I prayed that the children that are baptized into our family of faith, know that, no matter how far they roam, God will always be waiting for them to return home. I prayed that the things we have taught them, the way we have treated them, will be a path of shells to lead them home. And I prayed that we would not let one of our little ones be forgotten, but seek for them when they get lost.
My deepest desire is that all who are lost, lonely and feeling unloved would know that God waits, not to judge or condemn, but to welcome them home.
And that is why I prayed in the middle of a Disney movie.