iii) Marlin and Letting-go:
We looked at Marlin and Dory, their various disabilities, and how these are overcome by them in the movie; and even overmatched in Dory’s case
(See ii) ‘Dory and the Theology of Short-term Memory Loss’
We didn’t really touch on Marlin’s crippling disability, except to say how he overcame it; and yet the movie ‘Finding Nemo’ is as much the story of Marlin’s restoration, as it is the story of Nemo’s rescue.
Marlin’s is a journey of growth in character and towards mental wellbeing
Marlin’s central problem is that he is unable to just ‘let-go’. He has that sickness of attempting to hedge the future; he wants to make the future bulletproof. His energies for action are severely curtailed and diverted by his need into a neurosis about unseen, unseeable, and unforeseeable danger. Danger is apparent everywhere to his perception, except in that small place where he assuredly feels safe; be it his home dwelling, or his straitened view of what preserves life. His theme is thoroughly, ‘Fortress Mentality Me’
He’s had a terrible and shocking loss to violence of his wife and their children, excepting Nemo. So he is wounded; and has reason to be as he is; even though his outlook and behaviour are unreasonable when set against ‘normal’ outlooks and behaviours.
He’s on the edge. He is impatient, short-tempered, anxious, and dismissive. He sees nowhere to turn to for help, nor anyone to turn to for help. He is mentally purblind. His trauma subsists on a loss to his spirit. His whole being concentrates on preserving from danger his last and only child, Nemo.
His obsessive fear for Nemo’s welfare is a natural extension of his own Fortress Me Mentality. Plenty of obstacles for the movie to address then: and it addresses them by showing us how Marlin is led by the delightfully gracious Dory into a willingness and a bravery and a trust to just only ‘let-go’ – of his awful experience, the resultant trauma and pain; and all the consequent pathological disorders. So first up we claim that:
‘Letting go is liberation to the spirit’
What can Jesus say about this?
‘…. when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak’.
This is to his disciples, the twelve, concerning a time coming when they shall be facing interrogation by authority about their faith; a time at which in fact, their lives are likely to be on the line.
So, the disciples are merely to just ‘let-go’ of that nagging and persistent worm that eats our equanimity when we suffer severe testing, often of much lesser endurance than this..
It’s crucial to see Jesus saying to his disciples, ‘It shall be given you’ – and not ‘You will find something apposite to say when the moment arrives’. No, it’s not a mindless insubstantial reassurance fielded just to fob them off, satisfying their fears for the time being.
Instead his disciples are instructed that there shall be a Providential intervention of some kind in their behalf. It shall allow them to give an account of themselves and their faith; an appropriate account to the occasion.
They will not be let down unable to say anything to the purpose. The message is firm: don’t fret yourselves; don’t apply your mind exactingly to the problem situation; allow it freedom to lay itself open to what God shall provide to you, and promised Providential words will fall to your use. Thus,
‘Letting go allows general trust in things’
Because Marlin is not just liberated in the course events that occur on his journey seeking his son; but the journey is his path towards self-discovery.
Dory’s circumstances and behaviour manifest the pattern that releases him.
Marlin begins incredulous of Dory, that she should and could and does just spontaneously trust in such a motley range of sea creatures, to their dispositions, without any precautionary qualm.
Dory’s experiences are repeatedly genial and he shares them. They are the repeated lesson that vindicates her willingness to trust; and to allow herself to be seen as vulnerable; by others; about the future; for outcomes. They eventually work upon Marlin showing him the way. Once he has seen, he is freed immediately. Fortress Marlin’s is a ruin; vanished; he rests his burden on a trust by which to live his life.
‘Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? And one of them shall
not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs
of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not therefore, ye are
of more value than many sparrows’
Again Jesus addresses his disciples, this time sending them out ‘two and two’ into the cities of Judah preaching the Good News. In both addresses he encourages his disciples to eschew worry. He is concerned with Last Things: the death of a sparrow and being on trial for one’s life.
He is precise; even in the face of death we shall; ‘take no anxious thought how we present ourselves’, ‘God is with each sparrow that dies; we are worth many sparrows to him’.
Do not fear, not even in the extreme. Bear in mind that ‘every hair on your head is counted’.
This is an astounding expression of tender, attendant solace. Thus,
Letting go eases vexation of spirit
Relief is larger than their sharp adrenaline rush as Marlin and Dory shoot out of the whale’s spout to freedom. It’s greater than just physiological uplift upon duress overcome; for Marlin it’s cessation of chronic spiritual malaise.
It’s Marlin turning elatedly to the whale, thanking him, in ‘Whale’, while Dory looks far less excited. Marlin’s new acceptance that Dory can actually speak ‘Whale’ completes his wholehearted welcome embrace of her open person and gracious character. His model for life
Dory has little pride; her memory loss has humbled, if not humiliated her.
Marlin’s distrust of goodwill and co-operation from others looks like a function of his conceit; we certainly don’t like him when he is turning Dory away as a liability and a nuisance to him. He gives off that sense we recognise after nasty events happen to us, when self pity nurses our pride, and we just will not turn to others for comfort. We would rather feel hurt pointedly and alone.
And so we protract our own miseries.
Joy in release from vexation is revealed on our ‘letting-go’. Our selves, our worthy estimates of ourselves, and our reciprocal unworthy estimates of others, are overtaken. Letting-go is of self-image, self-illusion; the self- estimation that interferes with, does not tally with, how and who we are.
Letting-go, placing ourselves at the disposal of – whatever – a big event, other people, a vocational job, a great task, any of lots of things – it’s the first steps towards acknowledging God’s claim on us. Thus to lose ourselves is to find the path to God. To let-go is to invite in, surrendering ourselves is to welcome into our lives something greater.
To let–go, then, is the source of joy that affirms life
Nothing is of greater sublunary importance in the movie ‘Finding Nemo’ than its statement that; To serve; to relinquish self; to drop pretensions; to pick up others’ bills; to put other persons, other good things, before oneself and ones desire and place; is a liberation to joy in the spirit. This is Dory, who amongst them all, is in the Type of Christ
‘I am come that they might have life, and that they might
have it more abundantly.’
And a last word:
‘Letting go is not: ‘Que sera sera’
A great American religious poet wrote commending us to ask God:
‘Teach us to care and not to care
Teach us to sit still’