I recently saw Toy Story 4, and it’s fabulous.  In the movie, Woody, Buzz Lightyear, and the rest of the toys go on a road trip with Bonnie and her family to rescue a new toy named Forky.  The adventure leads to an unexpected reunion for Woody and his long-lost friend Bo Peep.  Woody and Bo realize that they’ve both changed over the years, and have different ideas about what they want from their lives as toys.  Without giving away spoilers, there were a few themes that stood out for me.  Specifically, being lost and then found and what we see as the purpose of our lives.  You know, just some simple themes one often finds in animated children’s movies (thanks, Pixar!) 

Throughout the movie, one can see Woody struggling with the change in his role, from Andy’s favorite toy to a toy Bonnie doesn’t prioritize.  Those questions of changing roles and our life’s purpose can certainly resonate for adults.  Sometimes parents struggle with children growing up and moving out, facing the “empty nest” and wondering what’s next.  Sometimes people have new jobs or lose jobs, and begin to wonder if we live to work or work to live in our society.  Sometimes we face various losses, and our roles change because of those losses.  Sometimes we are the caregiver, and sometimes we are the person who needs to receive care from others.  Maybe we have an aging family member, and all of a sudden we find ourselves in the role of having to make major decisions about a loved one’s well-being (and maybe that loved one is feisty about that!)  

Various role changes can help us focus on our life’s purpose.  After all, some of the big questions Christianity and other World Religions seek to answer are–why are we here, what’s the meaning of it all, what’s the purpose of MY life?  To get into the UCC young clergy leadership program I’m part of I had to vocalize my answer to the question: “Share the core purpose of your life through one of these lenses: vision (why you do what you do), mission (what you do), or core values (how you do what you do).”  Though that question may seem daunting, it’s worth considering.  How would you answer this question?  Our answers can help us realize that each of us has a core purpose, whether we’ve considered this before or not.  And that purpose can anchor us through life’s inevitable storms and the changing roles we experience.  You, yes you, have a core purpose of your life—how amazing is that?!  (So I guess Toy Story 4 did get me really thinking this week!)  

Pastor Lauren

(This Week’s Thoughts 7.11.19)