Michelle Martin

See and find

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Pixar’s tale of a buoyant blue tang with short-term memory loss, “Finding Dory,” became the top-grossing animated feature film in North America on July 17, earning $445.5 million in its first five weeks.

Some of that money came out of my pocket, as Teresa and I enjoyed Dory’s improbable journey with friends earlier this summer.

If you don’t have young kids, “Finding Dory” is the sequel to 2003’s “Finding Nemo,” in which Dory was the sidekick, helping clown fish dad Marlin find his missing son, Nemo. This film, released 13 years later to a whole new generation of small fry, focuses on Dory. Her memory problems, played mostly for laughs in the first film, are front and center, as she has a flash of memory and takes off on trek across the ocean to find her parents, whom she forgot when she swam away from them years earlier.

This is a Disney release, so I’m not spoiling anything by saying Dory eventually does find her parents, who have never given up on finding her. There are all kinds of trials and tribulations along the way, and enough silly situations that the first-graders in our group were laughing out loud.

Many of the widespread positive reviews have focused on the grace with which the people in Dory’s life — from her parents to her found family of Marlin and Nemo to newer friends she meets along the way — accept her disability and appreciate the gifts she brings, and that’s wonderful. But the movie’s creators struck a chord in the disability they gave her. We all forget things. We all lose things, and we all work to find what we’ve lost.

At a wedding I was at this weekend, the couple acknowledged that both of them — intelligent, creative, inspirational people — have a tendency to misplace wallets and phones and keys, or forget to close the garage door. One of the things they appreciate in each other, they told their guests, is they’ve learned to accept it, to help each other when they can without blame or criticism, and move on.

Frank is another person who sometimes loses things. I know this because I am too, so when he recently lost his watch — the one with the stopwatch, the one he needed for cross country practice because he’s the runner who usually leads one of the groups — I was the parent he told. He knew I would understand.

I did, and lent him my watch, because it also has a stopwatch, and suggested we wait a few days to check the lost and found at the hockey rink or see if it turned up. I also said a quick prayer to St. Anthony. Sure enough, he found it.

In Luke’s Gospel, Jesus tells his disciples “Seek and you shall find.” May everyone who spends their time looking for what is missing — whether it is as trivial as an inexpensive watch or keys or as significant as faith or family — find what they are seeking.