Friday, June 20, 2014

'Hakuna Matata' is Indeed A Wonderful Phrase, But It isn't A Problem-Free Philosophy

Hakuna Matata! What a wonderful phrase
Hakuna Matata! Ain't no passing craze
It means no worries for the rest of your days
It's our problem-free philosophy
Hakuna Matata!

* * *
Hakuna Matata has been my life’s motto as far as I can remember.  It was what I would always write on the “motto” entry back when friendship autograph books were a thing during my late elementary years. 

The philosophy mightily appealed to me.  I wanted to be happy always.  For me, happiness is the greatest end.  And happiness was something that could be consciously chosen, and something you can “force” on yourself even when circumstances are hindering you to be such.  Worrying won’t help you, hence, better to live Hakuna Matata.  Don’t worry, be happy! 

I wrote something about this during the first year of this blog.  My argument for the merits of Hakuna Matata was like this:
Our life is short, but beautiful. And we need to get the best out of it. God wants us to enjoy the Life. And God knows what is the best for us. That's why we must surrender all to Him - our lives, our plans, our anxieties, worries, problems, fears - all of it. He promised to take care of those things. He promised to take care of us and never forsake us. "If God is with us, who can be against us?"
I fully trust the Man Upstairs. He has never let me down. For years, the motto Hakuna Matata really worked for me. I let God take care of my worries, since I surrendered my life to Him. Yes, sometimes the problems do not really disappear but God gives me strength and comfort. "No worries…"
I truly believe that I cannot get on with life without the Man Upstairs helping me. I trust him to take care of my life, my future, and me.
Reconciling Hakuna Matata with my Christian faith.  Clever eh?  But, now, I’ve realized that, even though, in a sense, what I had written (and believed) had truth, a part of my perspective was still flawed. 

* * *
With Hakuna Matata as my motto, I got to have a cheerful, happy-go-lucky disposition.  I proceeded to treat problems with apathy.  I “trained” myself to be happy no matter what.  “Happiness” was the ultimate thing to have.  As I now look back, I probably had the right idea then but I definitely mistook “happiness” with getting through life by having a good time and being unbothered by troubles, hassles, inconveniences, and antagonisms.       

Hakuna Matata’s “no worries for the rest of your days” clause is attainable and even reconcilable to my Christian faith, but it is, however, not at all due to Hakuna Matata’s “problem-free philosophy” clause.  In fact, the use of Hakuna Matata as a “problem-free philosophy” is inappropriate and quite fallacious.  Timon and Pumba got that one wrong.       

As I grow older in age and with my Christian faith, I realized that life is not meant to be “problem-free” at all.  And it’s not God’s will for us to be free from difficulties.  God promised to give us peace and strength, but there’s no promise that we will have no hard times while living in this world.  

Christ promised he will provide rest to those who come to him and surrender their heavy burdens… but he didn’t say there will be no more burdens to carry.  In fact, those that surrender their heavy burdens to Christ would have to take Christ’s yoke.  Still, he assured as that his burden is light and we will find rest, but we still have to carry a burden nonetheless (Matt. 11:28-30).  Moreover, Christ also asked us to carry his cross daily (Luke 9:23). 

Besides, God never wastes pain.  It means that every form of pain we encounter has a purpose.  It could eventually result to something good.  And even if the rationale for that pain we experience is not revealed to us in this lifetime, the heavenly reward for any suffering we endured as God’s children is a guarantee (Matt. 5:10).   Furthermore, just like pleasure, the purpose of pain is to lead us to God and reflect on His glory.             

* * * 
However, in living out Hakuna Matata’s “problem-free philosophy”, I was “avoiding” problems.  My apathy for problems would often become aversion for every form of difficulties – minor or major – and I would choose to dismiss them.  Hence, I failed to embrace and face the challenges thrown at me, and rise up from those occasions. 

I kind of missed the whole point of Lion King in the first place.  It didn’t really revolve around and end with Hakuna Matata

At first, Simba was already completely sold on to Hakuna Matata.   The philosophy mightily appealed to him for he can choose to avoid the burden of his past – something which he found extremely unpleasant and difficult to face.  When Nala attempted to convince him to return to Pride Rock and take the throne that is rightfully his, he balked for he was unwilling and afraid to face his past.  Even Timon and Pumba, his Hakuna Matata mentors, tried to persuade him since the circumstance calls for an exception to their philosophy.  But the confused Simba fled.  It took an encounter with Rafiki and the spirit of his father that reminded Simba of his identity and compelled him to face the challenge ahead of him.  He fought, embraced his responsibilities, and emerged stronger and victorious.

* * *
I’m turning 25 on the 23rd.  But I guess Hakuna Matata is still retained as my motto until I find something catchier.  Lol. 

However, I like to think, that I’m no longer good with just settling for the “slimy, yet satisfying”… that at 25, after years of having my goofing-off-with-Timon-and Pumba phase, I’ve already matured enough to be ready for my Simba-going-back-to-Pride-Rock-to-face-Scar moment.   

May God help me have the readiness and willingness to embrace challenges, get out of them stronger, and glorify God during the processes and results.    And that my living of Hakuna Matata – in accordance to its core meaning of “don’t worry, be happy” – is successful, not because I am “problem-free,” but because my happiness and freedom from worries are completely, unshakably anchored in God.   

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