Thursday, March 8, 2012

The King Has Returned

I know what some of you might be thinking. King returning? Oh, dear. He's doing a Return of the King post...
HA! Wrong.
So, I was recently watching Disney's epic "The Lion King" with my little brothers. And you know what I realized? This movie means more to society, specifically men, than we might first realize. Allow me to explain.
Men look up to their fathers. I know I did. My father has always been a model of a good man for me; a Mufasa, if you will. But what about when the father is taken out of the picture?
Simba looks up to his father, and honestly, Disney's portrayal of a good father/son relationship is quite poignant and moving. Even more so when his father is taken from him.
How many sons have grown up without a father? How many sons have suffered at the lack of a father-figure, a true man? And how many sons have run away from their true destiny to be true men, to be kings?
Simba runs away from his past, most noticeably, the loss of his father. The idea that it was his fault because he couldn't be man enough to protect and save his father. The lie that he is weak is fed to him in the worst way imaginable. And he believes it.
Many men of the world have run away from their problems. Men run away from their families, just as their fathers have run away from them. Men run away from the truth of human nature, specifically sexuality: that men are meant to be strong. But it is hard. No one said it would be easy. And so, men run. Oddly enough, they run away from their "problems" into the real problem: the lie that sex is for pleasure alone, and that it is easy.
Now, Simba certainly doesn't run to such an escape. In fact, his escape is simply a life of worry-free luxury, no responsibility. But isn't that what many men do with their sexuality? No responsibility?
Anyway, Simba is suddenly thrown into a change of heart when his heart is, indeed, captivated by Nala. As a true woman should, Nala encourages and even challenges Simba to take back his responsibility, his throne, his manhood.
Can we all admit for a second that the right woman can change everything? Their powers of attraction are unrivaled in the world of men, and so when used rightly, the right woman can take the right man down the right path in an extraordinary way.
And so, the change in Simba's heart is sparked. But he is still hesitant. There is still another wound that no woman can heal. Simba must confront his past and, in doing so, the loss of his father.
Even for men who have never lost their father, or who have been raised by great fathers, this idea is a constant. No one's father is perfect, and even though a father can show a son the door to true manhood, the son must open it.
And so, Simba opens it. After realizing that he is a reflection of his father, Simba realizes that in order to rightly respect his father, to continue the legacy of good men, Simba must return and confront his past.
Scar is, in many ways, the embodiment of every man's greatest fear: that there is some one greater than him. Simba believes that his father's death is his own fault, thus making Scar more worthy of the throne. It is only when he sees that Scar's "greatness" rests in lies that Simba realizes the lies he has followed are just as evil.
Men follow the lie that their sexuality is weak. Not nearly as great as the next man. Men forget their manhood. It is only those men who do confront it that know the truth. That they have remembered who they are. It is then that Simba realizes the truth in his father's words.

"You have forgotten me. You have forgotten who you are, and so forgotten me. Look inside yourself, Simba. You are more than what you have become. You must take your place in the circle of life. Remember who you are. You are my son, and the one, true king. Remember who you are."

If only more men heard these words from their fathers. Or from their Father.
After Simba defeats his past, defeats Scar, he assumes the throne on pride rock (to epic music, might I add.) Simba shows his glory by declaring to his pride that his glory, his "pride" (therein lies the irony) rests not in him, but in his father.
When will we men be able to show with true humility that our glory rests not in ourselves, but in Our Father?
I do believe that there are good men out there who have heard these words spoken by Our Father and have returned to themselves.
All men can learn a lesson from Simba. A true man, a true king, is only as much a man, as much a king, as he is ready to be a man for the right reasons. For love of people, for love of family, and for love of God.
Remember who you are.

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