One little fish in a gigantic ocean. One remote possibility of hope in the midst of great dangers unknown. That’s the setting of the animated film Finding Nemo, a story of one father’s epic journey to search for his only son who was snatched just metres away from him. It’s a story of unparalleled courage, sheer determination and a celebration of the free spirit.
Finding Nemo struck a chord in me as I watched how the father, Marlin, overcame his crippling fear of the unknown to leave the safety and comfort of his home in the reefs. All that to search for the single reason for his existence – the child Nemo whom he had promised to take care of all his life. And his only companion – a forgetful but enthusiastic fish by the name of Dory. It was truly a momentous journey as the two friends braved the dangers of the deep – from members of the Sharks’ Anonymous Society to electrifying jellyfish and a flock of ravenous but extremely dim-witted seagulls. But the journey was all worthwhile as father and son finally reunited miles away from home; but not without scores of painful but enriching experiences on both sides.
Beyond the heart-warming story of a father’s deep love for his son, Finding Nemo was also to me a celebration of the ultimate quest in life – the search for God. In many ways, I’m reminded of what it means to look for God; to set aside all our crippling fears if only to find the one and only thing that matters in our lives – God. Yes, the journey may be arduous and in so many instances we can face the possibility of death, but the ultimate reward of finding the One we’re seeking is so joyful everything else pales in comparison.
Seeking God requires us to have unparalleled courage – to dare to break free from the comforts of our life to pursue what’s most important to us. It also requires sheer determination – to stick to our course no matter what adversaries we face, and even if we know the road is long or that there’s great dangers ahead. But in essence, seeking God is a celebration of the free spirit. When we finally find God, the joy we’ll experience is so immense because we know we’re made free from our past hurts and pains. That’s the power of God, to heal our deepest aches and pains and to set us free.
In Finding Nemo, Marlin single-mindedly hunted the oceans for his son Nemo, sparing no efforts in his task and pursuing him literally to another end of the earth. That’s also how our Heavenly Father, God, pursues us. He seeks us out time after time after time. On many occasions I’ve experienced that our God chooses to grab our attention through many instances in our lives, or through the Bible, or through the people around us. There are times when we simply don’t notice, or worse, ignore Him. But He will keep chasing us and will never give up just to be reunited with us.
In many ways, the Christian life is also one that is not about being alone. We need to have companions like Dory, who will go through life with us, bearing the scars of suffering in the process. In many ways my own life has been blessed by the presence of dear friends and buddies who have taken the time to walk life’s journey with me. They share my joys, but are also not afraid to share my struggles. Such are the companions in the journey of our lives, people who will help us in our quest of seeking God.
One crucial aspect of seeking God was illustrated extremely clearly in Finding Nemo. It occurred towards the end of the film when Dory was trapped by a fishing net along with scores of other fish. Nemo wanted so much to rescue Dory, but he was stopped by his father. Marlin had refused to let Nemo go because he feared he would lose his son. It was only after much persuasion that Marlin finally agreed to let his son go. Only then was Nemo able to swim to Dory and set her free. That’s so much like seeking God, when we have to really let go of all our fears. Only then can we truly experience freedom.
We’re only like one little fish in a gigantic ocean. But our Heavenly Father still chooses to go all out to find us. Yet in the end it is really up to us; we have to let go of our own fears and make that decision to know God personally. Only then can we experience the true freedom that such a choice yields. Only then can we swim freely in the gigantic ocean of life and find the only possibility of hope in a world that’s abound with dangers at every turn of the tide.
This article was written by Mark Lim Shan-Loong on 5th July 2003.
Words from the Heart