Last night I saw Toy Story 3. It was a wonderful movie. I laughed; I cried; I was entertained.
The movie has a rather sentimental touch to it. Andy has grown up and is preparing to leave for college. The end of the movie impacted me deeply. It was about growing up and moving on. It showed the value and significance of childhood as a whole. As Andy struggled to let go of his toys, as a viewer I struggled with my own attachments to childhood - a time when life was very different from now.
I cannot say that my childhood was carefree. Even as a child I was burdened with worries (it's just part of my personality). However, childhood was a time of freedom. Not only were my days filled with time to freely play and enjoy the beauty of life, but also my heart was filled with the freedom to love joyfully, fully, and unashamedly. I could appreciate the simple things. I rejoiced in the goodness of the world around me. I played, learned, and grew with an innocence that made my approach to life then differ from my approach now.
At the end of Toy Story 3, Andy passes on the secret of childhood itself. He helps another to more fully embrace its simplicity and grandness. He rediscovered in himself (and helped us discover, too) the joy and the freedom to live and to love that childhood is blessed to understand.
P.S. There is a great lesson to be learned from the toys themselves. They struggle to know their real purpose, to love unselfishly, and to sacrifice everything for each other and, together, for Andy. They see that their purpose is to be there for a child, whenever that child needs them. They recognize that their existence is not for themselves; they have a greater purpose. Though they do not live that perfectly, they strive for it constantly. The cling to each other to defend it. And in the end, they are rewarded for it.