We went to see Disney’s animated film, Frozen 2. It was fun until… When Anna realized that Elsa was dead she sang a song about her grief. This is no child’s song. It is not the stirring song that was Elsa’s “Let It Go”. The lyrics of “The Next Right Thing” and the emotion in Anna’s (Kristen Bell) voice, settled heavy on my heart. Leaving the theater, the whole evening, my heart was heavy. It was as if I had just experienced a loss. Any moment I felt I could break down. I went to see a Disney animated film, a story for children. Here was this song that I believe speaks to those who have experienced the loss of a loved one. It speaks to those who have experienced the gravity of grief pulling them down.
“The Next Right Thing” vividly describes grief. Kristen Bell’s performance captures the emotion and the pain of grief. I have given here the link to a lyric video of this song. If you have experienced grief, are experiencing grief, I am sure these lyrics capture well what you have felt, what you are feeling.
In her grief Anna realizes she has a choice to make. Is she going to wallow in her grief and give up on life? Or is she going to listen to that tiny voice whispering in her mind telling her in the midst of the hopelessness she is feeling, in the midst of the night and the darkness, do the next right thing? Though nothing will ever be the same again, she will make the choice to hear that voice and do the next right thing.
So is the challenge we all face in our grief. In the context of the story the next right thing for Anna is to carry on what Elsa came to do. In the context of the story of your grief what is the next right thing to do? Not right in the sense of there being only one right way to grieve. There isn’t. Rather the next right thing to help you grieve in a healthy way. The next right thing to do in carrying on the memory, the legacy, of your loved one. The next right thing, even the smallest of things, to make a step, however small, toward life. Make the choice to take a step, then to step again, as difficult as that can be.
“I won’t look too far ahead,” Anna sings, “It’s too much for me to take. But break it down to this next breath, this next step, this next choice is one that I can make. So I’ll walk through this night, stumbling blindly toward the light, and do the next right thing. And with the dawn what comes then, when it’s clear that everything will never be the same again? Then I’ll make the choice to hear that voice and do the next right thing.”
In my faith that voice is God telling me he is present. He has not forsaken my loved one now gone. He has not forsaken me. “Trust me,” God says, “Take that first step, and the next, and the next. Through the darkness of this night, this valley of death, I am with you.”
(Music and lyrics of “The Next Right Thing” by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez)