I don’t like the new Toy Story movies. Ok, I enjoy them as movies, but something about them just feels off to me. I finally hit the nail on the head a few weeks ago: Andy grew up. Ok, ok, I know, that’s the whole premise of the movies, but I didn’t realize that’s why they bothered me. Until Toy Story 3, I could dig in the basket underneath our tv, pull out the worn DVD case, and pop in one of Pixar’s earliest classics. I could enjoy a well-worn plot and hear the old familiar lines, “You are a Toy!” by Tim Allen and Tom Hanks. No matter how many times I watch the movie, they are frozen in time and I get lost in the comfortable entertainment.
But the new installments ripped away that comfortable feeling. In Toy Story 3, Andy grows up and gives his toys away… forcing me to recognize that I grew up and left my comfortable home, my parents, and lifestyle to forge a life of my own (soon joined with my sweet husband). At the time, I was excited, a little naive, and also a little… well… young. I couldn’t wait for the next life stage, forgetting to slow down and enjoy the one I was in.
In Toy Story 4, Woody realizes that he no longer is the beloved toy, and has to completely change his trajectory. (Spoiler alert!) He leaves the life he knows and forges a new one with Bo Peep.
I think my whole life I have had this false belief that my memories were not just memories, but bookmarks of time to which I can eventually return. I kept those bookmarks saved so that I can go back to those beautiful barefoot frisbee afternoons at college in the Triangle, back to summers at home with morning daycare and long afternoons on the beach, back to those first moments as a mom, a newborn snuggled to my chest with no other children demanding attention. Back to our wedding. Back to the best (and worst) times in life. I could just pull the worn DVD out of its case and relive it.
But I can’t. Life is linear. As much as we like to watch time travel shows and movies – it’s not reality.
Certain parts of linear time appeal, while others bring stinging tears: I’m ok with turning 30 but I’m not ok admitting that I won’t see beloved places and people again on earth. I love the ages that my children are now, but I miss their newborn smell and simpler days. I’m thankful for the wisdom that age has brought, but I’m embarrassed by the way I acted in my youth and I want to go back and fix it.
God is above time. God is not limited by time. And although I struggle with my humanity, it is comforting to know that I am held by a limitless being. That my sorrows over lost time and past time are held by the eternal one.
Christ beside me, Christ before me.
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Hebrews 13:8