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What Shrek Taught Me

‘Do The Roar’ is one of my favourite film clips. It’s from Shrek Forever After: The Final Chapter, which is the fourth instalment in the Shrek Series. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve watched this little film clip. Shortly after the film first came out, one of my children saved this clip onto my mobile phone, so that I could watch it anytime I wanted!

In Shrek Forever After, the giant green ogre is married to Fiona and they have triplets called Fergus, Farkle and Felicia. However, Shrek has become increasingly unhappy with his lot in life. He misses the ‘good old days’ when he was a big bad ogre and the villagers were scared of him.

Things come to a head at the triplet’s birthday party, when everyone is pushing Shrek’s buttons and – to everyone’s delight – he does one of his famous ogre roars. However, this isn’t Shrek performing for the crowd, Shrek really has lost the plot and he ends up storming out of the birthday party in a fit of temper.

Unfortunately, Rumpelstiltskin is waiting in the wings, eager to take advantage of Shrek’s discontent. Rumpelstiltskin persuades Shrek to sign a contract that enables him to be a scary ogre for a day so that he can return to the ‘good old days’ when everyone was scared of him.

In the process, because Shrek hadn’t fully understood the ‘small print’ of the contract that he signed, he comes very close to losing his wife, his children and his home.

Once Shrek is in this position of believing that he has lost his family, he is absolutely devastated. He suddenly realises how much they all really mean to him. There are some fierce battles where Shrek gets help from Donkey and Puss in Boots. A series of events take place that enable Rumpelstiltskin’s contract to be broken. Eventually Shrek’s wife and family are fully restored to him.

Shrek gets a chance to return to the birthday party, but with his attitude to life completely changed.

With this change of attitude, Shrek carves out a different ending to his life story.

When I first watched this Shrek movie with my children in 2010, it instantly struck me how true to life the storyline is. We possess so much, yet we can so easily become absorbed in craving what we do not have.

In Hebrews 13:5 we are told

 Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said,

“Never will I leave you;
never will I forsake you.”

However, in Shrek’s case it wasn’t material possessions – or the lack thereof – that was causing his discontentment.

Shrek was looking back at his past life and mourning what he had lost. This was blinding him to the good things in his present life.

I can identify with that.

Grief and loss are a minefield. Grief has to be felt and tears need to be shed.

There’s hardly a day goes by that I don’t cry at some stage.

However, there’s a verse in the Bible that unnerves me.

It’s Genesis 37:35

All his sons and daughters came to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted. “No,” he said, “I will continue to mourn until I join my son in the grave.” So his father wept for him.

The part of the verse that worries me is that Jacob ‘refused to be comforted‘. I would never want anyone to say that I ‘refused to be comforted‘.

For me there exists a dichotomy. There is that part of me that is broken-hearted and yearns for Leah’s presence in our family, along with that other part of me that is so thankful for the many blessings that I experience on a daily basis – the presence of God in my life, a lovely family, wonderful friends, a beautiful house, a job that I really enjoy, relatively good health and much more besides. I’m thankful too, for the sixteen years that Leah graced our lives.

In September 2011, Leah accompanied her dad and me to a Stuart Townend concert. I love the depth of the lyrics of many of Stuart Townend’s songs. I especially like this one on thankfulness which Stuart co-wrote with Keith Getty.

My heart is filled with thankfulness
To Him who bore my pain;
Who plumbed the depths of my disgrace
And gave me life again.
Who crushed my curse of sinfulness,
And clothed me with His light,
And wrote His law of righteousness
With power upon my heart.

My heart is filled with thankfulness
To Him who walks beside;
Who floods my weaknesses with strength
And causes fears to fly;
Whose every promise is enough
For every step I take,
Sustaining me with arms of love
And crowning me with grace.

My heart is filled with thankfulness
To Him who reigns above;
Whose wisdom is my perfect peace,
Whose every thought is love.
For every day I have on earth
Is given by the King.
So I will give my life, my all,
To love and follow Him.

Vicky Whyte

Vicky lives in Northern Ireland with her husband and two younger children. All she ever wanted in life was to get married, have kids, serve Jesus and love other people. Just quietly and without too much excitement. Her favorite spare time activities are catching up with friends or getting lost in a good book. Then, in 2013, family life changed forever. Leah, the second eldest of their four children, was diagnosed with a rare genetic mutation and went through a bone marrow transplant. Nine months after her initial diagnosis, Leah developed a rare side effect of her treatment and died shortly after her 16th birthday. Devastated and heartbroken by her daughter's death, Vicky has found that blogging helps her to trace the rainbows through the rain and see God's hand in everything.

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