By the end of “Finding Dory”, the latest wildly successful, hilarious, and heartbreaking Pixar movie, it starts to become clear that the forgetful blue tang’s memory is stronger than she realizes.
Throughout the film Dory is sparked by flashbacks of her childhood and the brief time she spent with her loving parents before she was fatefully separated from them.
It’s not clear exactly what type of condition causes Dory’s forgetfulness. She claims to have short-term memory loss, but I’m not sure a marine biologist or any other underwater doctor would diagnose the problem quite like this.
I think Dory’s problem is actually more like one many of us can relate with. Her issue isn’t with her ability to remember; it’s with what she chooses to remember.
Throughout the film we learn that Dory’s memory is stronger than it might first appear. What she truly struggles with is her self-esteem.
Though she puts up a brave front with her “just keep swimming” mantra and a positive facade, it becomes clear that Dory blames herself for becoming separated from her parents.
She’s not even sure if she finds them that they’ll want her back after making such a colossal screw-up.
Dory struggles to remember the love of her parents as well as her own positive traits. She has no problem, however, remembering her own failures and faults.
She’s not the only fish in the sea who suffers from this type of memory loss.
After all, it is so much easier to remember a mistake than to remember God’s grace, isn’t it?
How often do we look in the mirror and see the filthy and outdated reflection of our sins rather than the new creation washed clean we have become through God’s grace?
God repeatedly tells us that He does not remember our sins. He forgives them and tosses them aside. He separates us from them as far as the east is from the west. He buries them with our old lives and leaves them there never to be dug up again.
Why is this so hard for us to remember when we stray from the Lord?
When we wander away from God we blame ourselves. Instead of recalling God’s many promises of love and forgiveness the memories of our previous sins wash over us like a rising tide.
Just like Dory we are afraid our Father will look down on us for our mistakes.
We forget that the story of the prodigal son shows our Father welcoming us with a warm embrace and having no desire to dredge up the memories of the past.
As the movie reaches its climax, Dory must learn to conquer the negative memories and remember more positive feelings about herself.
This is where Dory’s forgetfulness comes in handy. Only now she must forget her false identity created by self-doubt and instead choose to remember the oceans of love and the grace shown to her by her friends and family.
Being forgetful is actually an important part of our faith. But we must be mindful what we are forgetful of.
Instead of forgetting God’s many promises of forgiveness and love, we ought to be forgetful of our sins. We should believe we have truly been forgiven just as the Lord says we are. We must see ourselves as the new creations in Christ that our Father sees us as.
Let us choose then to be forgetful of our failures and just keep swimming in the midst of God’s grace.