Newton, Einstein, Eisenberg, Curie, Johnson, Leaky, Carter, St. Brendan, Columbus, Lewis, Armstrong; what have they in common? Whether inward, outward, down or up, from microscope to telescope, coracle to Apollo 11, something drove these history-makers, these explorers. Some might have said that their inspiration was pure curiosity and others would say that they felt an inspiration from God.
Captain Kirk, Jean Luc Picard, Moana, Elsa–television and movies are rife with inspiring characters compelled by passion or a force that could not be ignored, try as they might. I have written about the sequel Frozen 2 and one of the main characters, Anna. Now it is Elsa’s turn. Often a good person must struggle with wrong-doing or past mistakes. This struggle could become what defines them, or it could be the ashen rock-bottom from which a Phoenix rises.
In the original movie Elsa accidentally injures her little sister Anna by her powers to freeze things. During play she sends a freezing ray out to try to save Anna from falling but it hits Anna in her head instead, injuring her brain. She does not know how this power came to be, and since it potentially kills her sister her parents work with her to hide it for years. By the end of the movie she has accepted it and learned that love is the way to control her power; to overcome her fear and use it for good.
In the sequel, she and Anna are going to bed and remember their deceased parents who were lost in a shipwreck. They sing the lullaby their Mother sang to them as they were tucked into bed. Elsa awakens later that night to a beautiful voice singing to her. It pulls her to the window and to the sea like a siren song. Elsa sings “Into the Unknown,” its lyrics perhaps reminiscent to anyone who has been called to explore. Some may have resisted the call, like Elsa. Practicality, parents’ aspirations, responsibilities, lack of funds, complacency, procrastination, shame of selfishness, or fear naturally make us pause, putting the journey off for a time or entirely.
“I can hear you (but I won’t)
Some look for trouble while others don’t
There’s a thousand reasons I should go about my day
And ignore your whispers which I wish would go away, oh…
You’re not a voice, you’re just a ringing in my ear
And if I heard you (which I don’t) I’m spoken for I fear
Everyone I’ve ever loved is here within these walls
I’m sorry, secret siren, but I’m blocking out your calls
I’ve had my adventure, I don’t need something new
I’m afraid of what I’m risking if I follow you…
Into the unknown
Into the unknown, Into the unknown
(Oh) What do you want? ‘Cause you’ve been keeping me awake
Are you here to distract me so I make a big mistake?
Or are you someone out there who’s a little bit like me?
Who knows deep down I’m not where I’m meant to be?
Every day’s a little harder as I feel your power grow
Don’t you know there’s part of me that longs to go…
Into the unknown?
Into the unknown, Into the unknown
(Oh) Are you out there?
Do you know me?
Can you feel me?
Can you show me? Oh!”
Elsa has worked through the denial and acknowledges within herself that she wants to go. We each decide for ourselves, when faced with a call like this in our lives. Is this journey one I was meant to go on all along? Will it complete me? Will it help me to find others like me–or that others are like me? Is it just a desire or is it God?
“(Ah) Where are you going? Don’t leave me alone
How do I follow you”
Elsa goes–and she finds the answers to her questions. As a result, her sister Anna finds her own destiny, and humanity is saved because of it.
For interior quests and external, for researchers, archaeologists, theologians, parents, philanthropists, ordinary people…each of us has a unique call in this life. Elsa followed a spirit and found that she was part of that spirit, the force that animates the world. As much as it took a journey outward it completed the circle back, inwardly. Perhaps God uses ways which are individual to each of us to call us back to where we are meant to be–Immanuel. We realize that everything from that point on is different, changed for the good of ourselves and others.