“Say goodbye to the pain of the past,
You don’t have to feel it anymore…
Love is an open door.”
Any of you that have not been living under a rock since November 2013 are more than likely now singing the rest of the chorus to this song in your head. But for those of you who have been living under a rock for the last five and a half years, this song is from Disney’s “Frozen” – which is only, like, my favorite movie of all time. The best movie of all time? No, probably not. But my favorite? You better believe it.
Shortly after the movie came out in theaters, I was in one of my eating disorder support groups, and we all started talking about the movie. One individual mentioned how it has so many themes of recovery, particularly eating disorder recovery. The phrase “conceal, don’t feel” comes up early in the movie and then stays throughout most of the film. That alone is a huge parallel to how so many cases of depression and eating disorders develop. Elsa eventually learns to thaw all of the ice with love, and so many of us who suffer from the demons of depression can learn to overcome those demons by learning how to love ourselves.
That’s a little bit of how the movie first became significant in my life, and, well… the rest is history. A Disney movie with amazing music, fun characters, AND huge relevance to the struggles that I was facing? Of course it’s going to become a favorite. And with how much success the film had in our culture, loving it and embracing the story became far too easy.
So, back to the song. In the movie, the song is a cute and sappy love song that – at first glance – is absolutely adorable. However, by the end of the movie, the viewer learns that Prince Hans is really the bad guy. At that point, many may feel unsure about the song. Yes it’s cute and adorable and all, but – a song with the villain? Really? How can you enjoy it in the same way as the first time you heard it? Well, I thought the same thing myself… until I saw the live production in Disney’s California Adventure.
You can ask the girls I was with the first time I saw it, but that day last June… I cried so, so hard. It was so unexpected. I was watching the live production, having already shed a tear or two while Elsa sang “Let it Go”, and it got to the very end. And right as the show is about to end, the now deceased parents appear in a tower to the right of the stage. Some slow music starts, and they sing as a duet the simple words… “Say goodbye to the pain of the past, you don’t have to feel it anymore…” And just as soon as they appear they are gone again. But, the sisters then look to each other, and start up the reprise of “Love is an Open Door”. And – that’s how the DCA live production ends. Putting the most beautiful spin on what is truly a profound concept.
Since seeing the show for the first time, I’ve been able to see it quite a few times (woohoo for being an annual passholder!!). And while sometimes I’m crying my eyes out and other times it’s just a watery eye, EVERY SINGLE TIME I have seen it I have been brought to tears. I remember one of the more recent times I made it almost all the way through… I didn’t cry during “Let it Go”, and I didn’t cry during any of the other usual culprits. But then it got to that final moment… and I lost it.
See, especially recently, that phrase and concept has taken on new meaning for me. Love is an open door… yes, it really is. Loving of others to build and strengthen relationships. Self love to build up my own self confidence. So many wonderful things to learn from just a few words. Earlier in the week, though, I was pondering this phrase. And with Easter being now just a couple of hours away (at the time a few days), my mind started getting creative. My first thought was using the spin of “Love is an open tomb”. We all know that God is love, and that the cross and the empty tomb is the ultimate display of love. But I thought to myself, no, that’s not quite it… love is not just an open tomb. Love is an EMPTY tomb.
Jesus died on the cross for us – all of us. That is a truth that I have been working so very hard to internalize and live under in the recent weeks. It’s been close to two months now since I began to see and learn the answers to the question of “why” my depression and suffering for so much of my life. And what is that answer? Well, the short version… my depression has a much larger spiritual component than I ever imagined possible. And that spiritual component is a very deeply rooted shame. Not just the kind of shame that makes it hard to talk to Jesus… no, the kind of shame that pushes a person into such a deep depression that they contemplate taking their own life nearly every day. The kind of shame that puts a person so far into the dark and so far into isolation that they believe they’re not even worthy of their next breath. Expanding on that is for another time, but… that’s a glimpse.
My mind then began to tie all of this together. A quote from a movie that means so much, and from a perspective and lesson from the story (not in the movie – much more in the DCA production) that has impacted my life so incredibly much. But taking that quote and applying it not only to the Easter story we are all about to celebrate, but to what I am learning daily in my life. To realize that love, the perfect love that casts out all fear, is not just an open door. Ultimately, that love is an open tomb.
And finally – let’s look at the phrases leading up to that final “love is an open door”.
“Say goodbye to the pain of the past, you don’t have to feel it anymore…”
Jesus conquered the grave and left that tomb empty so that one day we really won’t have to feel that pain anymore. Yes there is still pain on this earth (believe me when I say that I still experience that in ways far too real and far too intense on the daily), but even through the pain on this earth… because of the empty tomb, we know He is with us. So no, we may not say goodbye to pain completely until we enter Heaven, but we do know this – Jesus promises that our pain and our struggles will not be in vain. So while we may still be feeling it, we know that He will use it to bring some good.
I so totally love it when God gives us things like this… “nuggets”, as I will sometimes say. And I love when He uses things that can seem so insignificant, especially when compared to our faith… things like Disney movies. But in reality, I will take ANYTHING that God can use to speak to me. So often He speaks in ways and through things when we least expect it. And why does He do that? Well, I’ll say it one more time…
“Love is an empty tomb.”
He is risen, He is risen indeed. Alleluia.