But my love for the Lion King goes beyond the Disney movie and the play. I see myself in this storyline. At the very basic, this story is about someone who has everything he could ever want, but wants more and isn’t satisfied. Then, death and guilt, and going through darkness to finally come back to his rightful place in the light. Disney just made it child-friendly with lions and baboons. I see myself in Simba, and the pain and guilt he feels when his father died. The shame he feels while living his ‘Hakuna Matata’ is echoed in my teenager years. There is something beautiful that also resonates with faith in the Broadway show, and it personifies in Rafiki, strangely enough.
Now in the show, Rafiki is not a comical character (well, just a little bit). Rafiki is played by a woman and takes on a much more spiritual role, taking over what would be a woman shaman in Africa. She was the announcer of the news when Simba was born, she presided over Mufasa’s death in a hauntingauthentical African mourning chant, she blesses Nala when she goes leaves the Shadowland as she calls it, and she is the one to show Simba that He is in us, no matter where we go.
Yes, I said He. I see such strong symbolism and paraphrasing with the Lord in the play. Am I taking it too far? Maybe. Perhaps I am just seeing way too much into something that was just meant to be enjoyable and not intellectual. But when I hear this particular song, I can’t help but to see my own experience with accepting the Lord as my savior and into my life. I am far from being able to live my life completely as a good Christian should, but I feel like I am slowly emerging from my own ‘Shadowland’.
'There's no mountain too great, hear the words and have faith. He lives in you, He lives in me. He watches over everything we see. Into the water, into the truth, in your reflection, He lives in you.' -- He lives in You, from the Lion King Broadway Musical