Since last summer I’ve been showing my girls some of my favorite childhood movies. They’ve loved Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, Parent Trap, and Flight of the Navigator — but they did not see the appeal of The Princess Bride. Weirdos.
(Or, FINE, as we say in our house ad nauseum because it comes up all the dang time, different people like different things.)
Based on their mixed reviews of a few of my favorites (and their insistence on complaining about approximately 80 percent of the music I like), I was nervous to show them Hook. I’m not sure why this particular movie captured my heart so completely, but it did. I watched it dozens of times when I was a kid and was surprised to realize how many years it had been since I’d seen it. (Enough that it turns out my copy of the movie was on VHS, which did us little good in the year 2019.)
I won’t prolong the suspense. My girls loved Hook, maybe as much as I did. (My youngest shouted, “Let’s watch it again!” as soon as the credits rolled.) And though decades have passed since I first watched Robin Williams remember that he was actually a grown-up Peter Pan, I adored the movie just as much as I did as a teenager. Some of those old favorites don’t hold up; Hook does.
My absolute favorite part of Hook is the scene where the Lost Boys try to figure out if this big, fat grown-up man could possibly be their missing, beloved Peter Pan. As the boys flip back and forth from Peter’s side to Rufio’s (insert moment of silence for Rufio…), one little boy reaches up to inspect Peter’s face.
He stares into Peter’s eyes and pulls at his skin, smooshing his face one way and then another. Then, his eyes sparkle and his face lights up and he says, “Oh, there you are, Peter!”
I’m not sure why this resonated with me nearly 30 years ago. Back then I hadn’t spent years accumulating pounds and wrinkles and baggage of my own. I hadn’t forgotten who I was. But maybe even then, I longed for someone to see me — really see me — and know exactly who I was, even if I wasn’t sure myself.
But now that I resemble a middle-aged Peter Banning much more than Peter Pan, that longing meant I was gulping sobs and swiping a rush of tears as I watched that scene with my kids. To have someone take the time to look at me, to have someone care enough to look past the surface?
Past the age and the wrinkles?
Past the pounds and the problems?
Past the baggage and all the grown-up experiences and exhaustion?
That would be…well, I’m not sure how that would be. What would someone find if they looked past that? Do I even remember who I was before I grew up? Do I still have magic? Can I even use it anymore?
What would the Lost Boys see if they pushed aside your age and baggage, your stress and sleepless nights, your wins and losses and struggles and successes? Who were you before you grew up? Did you have magic back then? (You did.) Could you possibly still have that magic now? (It’s possible!)
If I could smoosh your face and gaze awkwardly into your eyes right now, I totally would. And I’d let you do the same to me. Because while I don’t think we should abandon all responsibilities and life experience and lessons learned, remembering who we are underneath all that seems like it could be life-changing. Because while we might not be trapped in Neverland while our kids are held hostage by Captain Hook, forgetting the truth of who we are is its own kind of danger.
Do you remember? Do you remember that you have magic? That adventure is something to chase instead of prevent at all costs? Do you remember that you can do the impossible if you have the right mindset (aka, think your happy thoughts)? Do you know that you are wonderfully created to do amazing things, to lead the lost and protect the weak and the small, to fly?!?
It’s true. It might seem as fantastical as bedtime stories and fairytales. But it’s true. And I am confident remembering who we were, embracing our magic, and living the adventures God has planned for us will change our lives and maybe even the world.
So, let’s ask ourselves (in lieu of the face-smooshing), Who am I underneath it all? Who was I before I grew up? What kind of magic did I have, and how can I get it back?
What would the Lost Boys see if they smooshed your face?
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