Just about fourteen years ago I was a sophomore in college. The latest Pixar movie The Incredibles had just come out and I was eager to join the group of friends who were heading down to the Metro 4 Theater on State Street that evening to see it. I was bummed when I found out that a girl I liked wasn't going to come—some sort of Gospel Choir leadership meeting—and even more bummed when she expressed her own disappointment at missing this outing. I told her that I'd watch it again the next weekend if she'd like to come. So that next Saturday she and I boarded the Westmont shuttle—or as the carless kids called it, the Shame Shuttle—and passed some down time people watching on State Street. We watched The Incredibles and loved it: a well-told family drama about identity, desire, and authenticity, set within the thrilling context of the superhero genre, supported by incredible visuals and stylish music. That night we lay beneath the cloudy November sky on the soccer fields, our conversation swirling.
This evening I went to see The Incredibles II, the much anticipated sequel, and had the pleasure of going with that very same girl, who's obviously now a woman, my wife, and mother of my children. In the intervening fourteen years neither of us are quite the same. We've had our own adventures, told our own stories of identity, desire, and authenticity: home, work, schooling, learning, failing, choosing. No Shame Shuttle tonight, just our well-worn CRV, which has gotten us across the country and back, has been the site of some amazingly meaningful conversations, terribly growthful arguments, and currently has two children's car seats strapped into the back, littered with the detritus of childrearing. It's largely because of our two wee ones that this date marks the first time that my wife and I have been to a movie theater in over three years. It was a powerful experience. This sequel seems to have grown up along side us, exploring themes of parenthood, childhood, and vocation, touching upon multiple strands of human relationships, offering poignant probings of questions of power, of powerlessness, and of self. We're both rather shaken up. Wider perspective. Deeper echo.
I'm thankful for these memories and stories, these deep reminders of who I have been, sharpening my awareness of who I choose to be.