“I’ve been standing at the edge of the water
Long as I can remember
Never really knowing why”
Thus begins “How Far I’ll Go,” a song from Disney’s Moana, and my 2017 anthem.
It’s never even crossed my mind to choose a song as an anthem for a year that’s yet to unfold. But after I saw this movie late last year, this track stuck with me. The movie is obviously geared toward people much younger than I, yet this song meets me where I am.
I have some big things on my plate in 2017, one of which is running my first marathon in Chicago (start praying now, please). In a literal sense, covering a substantial distance is an element of the song. In a more meaningful way, the lyrics look at what our ultimate goal is—who am I meant to be, and am I doing what I should to become her?
For me, the “edge of the water” is where I am every day when I make the decision to follow Christ. There’s a whole lot of beautiful possibilities out there in front of me, but no guarantees of comfort or safety. I too, “wish I could be the perfect daughter,” but there are things in the world I cling to, the things I try to be, achieve, embody to be accepted in this world, rather than setting my sights on life with Christ.
And yet, “the light where the sky meets the sea . . . calls me.” There is a persistent draw to something beyond this world. Truly, “No one knows how far it goes.” If, like Moana, I chose to stick with status quo, with the people “on this island” who each have a role to play, I may be satisfied. But if I chose to follow Christ, I can do more than “lead with pride” and make my family strong in a worldly sense. I can lead them to Heaven. I can do my best to help us become saints, as we are all called to be.
The light of Christ is blinding, and it’s compelling. “No one knows” the depths of Christ’s mercy and grace. It’s a road worth following, one worth giving up what’s comfortable, easy, and good in itself. What more can I do? How much deeper can I go? What will I become if I truly surrender myself, my life, my work, my joys and sufferings to Christ?
It may not have been the writers’ intent to invoke the Holy Spirit, but I see the third person on the Trinity here:
“If the wind in my sail on the sea stays behind me
One day I’ll know
If I go there’s just no telling how far I’ll go”
If I go all in this year—and in every other year I am blessed to spend on this earth—then “One day I’ll know / How far I’ll go.” God willing, it will be to see Him face to face.
Copyright 2017 by Lindsay Schlegel