Who would’ve thought a movie about an overweight Panda and a vengeful peacock would give me goosebumps? I couldn’t wait to get home to my laptop and type away about the lessons I learned. Seriously, from start to finish I was endowed with little nuggets of wisdom. And if you would give me a few minutes of your time I’d like to share my insights with you.
Lesson 1: God’s will, will be done.
Like Moses, the panda–Po is his name–was the chosen one. He didn’t even know he was chosen; he was selected long before he was born. But there was this peacock who knew from an oracle that a panda would finally seal his fate. So what did Shen the peacock do? He had his minions kill all the pandas in China. Po, however, was put in a basket full of radishes and left at the doorstep of a goose who raised him as his own. Po was an unlikely hero. He wasn’t muscular or smart; in fact he was overweight and unintelligent. He was an ordinary old panda. But God uses the ordinary, and no matter what anybody says, no one can stop God’s will for your life, not even cocky little peacocks.
Lesson 2: A Pretty Plume won’t make you happy.
Peacocks are some of the most beautiful birds on the planet. Myth has it that when they spread their tails, one can become hypnotized by the gorgeous designs of their feathers. Funny things is, peacocks can’t fly. God gave them all of that beauty only to have them strut around on the ground. The very thing that makes the peacock pretty is what holds them down. Shen the peacock had a gorgeous plume, but he still wasn’t happy. Because he wasn’t happy, he spent his entire life trying to make everyone miserable. When he meets Po the Panda he is in awe of how peaceful he is. Po has nothing going for him. He is fat, unrefined, a little slow in understanding, and an orphan. Yet he was comfortable with himself and had inner peace. As Master Shifu in the movie stated, “Remember…anything is possible if you have inner peace.” This confused Shen and so he hated Po even more.
Lesson 3: “You gotta let go of the stuff from the past, because it doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters is what you choose now.
Shen (the peacock) asked the Panda how he did it. Shen reminded Po that he’d killed his parents and almost killed him. “How do you still manage to have inner peace?” Po told the peacock he had to let go of the past and choose right then to move forward. He reminded Shen that wounds heal, even though scars never do–they just fade. The point here is that holding on to pain from the past keeps you from obtaining inner peace. Weight and sin from the past holds us back. It clogs up our spirits and doesn’t leave room for inner peace to reside. We have to choose now to embrace inner peace and let go of the things that hold us down.
Lesson 4: Having it all means absolutely nothing
Shen had it all. His mother and father were rulers of the land. He was rich. He was smart. He was a pretty peacock with brilliant feathers, but he was empty. He wanted more. It wasn’t good enough that his parents ruled China. He wanted China all to himself, and wanted it even more furiously when his parents sent him away because of his volatile disobedience. Po (the panda) on the other hand, had absolutely nothing. He was poor. He was abandoned and raised by a goofy old goose who owned a restaurant that served tofu. Po was obese and clumsy. No one thought he’d amount to much except maybe a good noodle maker. But in this story the first became last and the last first. Po is the hero. He saves China, and discovers inner peace by embracing his destiny. Even though Shen had everything, he still ended up with nothing.
Lesson 5: Good gifted friends are good gifts
Po had a group of friends that never let him down. They accepted him for who he was and helped him develop his weaknesses into something he could use. They held him accountable for his mistakes, but they didn’t dog him out because of his shortcomings. All of Po’s friends were super duper Kung Fu fighters, but they were all skilled in unique areas. What was neat about this group was they all appreciated each others gifts. They weren’t jealous of one another, and once they pulled all those gifts together they made an unstoppable team. Need I say more?
So there you have it. My little family excursion to the movies turned out to be a blessings disguised as a big old fat Panda. If you want to watch a movie that uplifts your spirit and teaches life lessons at the same time, I think you should give it a try. There are so many teachable moments that are illuminated and valuable lessons that are right on track with the principles by which we as Christians order our lives. And even if you don’t get the chance to see the movie, I hope the lessons outlined above give you a little encouragement to stay the course.
Kung Fu Fighting,