One of the great things about having kids (especially an eight-year-old daughter who's a lot like I was then) is that I actually have a chance to keep that soft spot soft. So, it’s probably not a big surprise that I found delightful the 2005 film Dreamer, the story of 11-year old Cale (Dakota Fanning), her father (Kurt Russell) and an injured race horse that changes their lives.
We’ve had this one sitting atop of our DVD player for weeks, and finally got around to watching it last night. Granted, it is sentimental and slightly cliché, but even the critics admit it is a well done sentimental and cliché. And as I watched the story unfold with my husband and daughter, I found myself filled with a yearning recognition that this is the way life should work: Men with good hearts prevailing against selfish opportunists—and overcoming their own fears and failures. The faith and trust of children pointing us back to the kind of faith and trust we too-often set aside as adults. Love transforming fear and disappointment into hope and joy. That at-last sitting back and getting that it isn’t the fulfillment of our dreams that fills us but the right and beautiful and growing relationships we share with those sitting right beside us.
Now, I get the world often doesn’t work this way. But this world of ours is not the way it was created to be. It is broken, like shards of a beautiful vase scattered on a tile floor. But sometimes I get a glimpse of the original design on one of those shards, and that makes me stop and smile, because I remember the world for which we were created. Stories like this remind me that world actually isn’t far away, but within me. Stories like this remind me that God—in whose Kingdom I dwell—is always longing and working and urging and moving to restore his Creation to the love-filled, glory-filled, grace-filled Kingdom it was-and-is-and-is-yet-to-be.
Too grand of words and sentiment to attach to a sentimental film like Dreamer? Maybe. But that’s why I love stories like these. They may only be a sliver of a reflection of that Kingdom in which we live, but it’s more than enough to make me remember—and that makes me smile and rest.