Julia had her fourth birthday. And, against my friends’ and my own husband’s counsel, I decided to take Julia and five of her toddler friends to the movies to see Frozen II.

I was in over my head.

But it was also fun.

And memorable.

I could say a lot more about the experience, and about the movie, itself. And Emily did say more about the movie, but I want to focus on just one theme tonight:

“It’s fascinating, though not surprising, how often this idea of choice is not only a main player in our lives but it’s the foundation of every storyline in the books we read, the shows we watch, and the movies we go see. The protagonist starts out in a less-than-ideal situation, and then is faced with a choice that leads him/her on a journey of choices, and eventually to an ultimate choice that has the potential to open up a whole new world of experience and possibility. That’s the basic storyline of every storyline.”

The next right choice.

It’s a song from the movie. It’s the name of this particular podcast. It is the theme that I have had on my mind the past month.

Kristen Bell, from Frozen II, said, “That’s actually a mantra that I have in my life when I’m anxiety-ridden or depressed — that’s the only thing you can do — the next right thing. It’s baby steps for anyone who has experienced a hardship or is flat on the floor and feels they can’t pick themselves up.”

It’s the turning point in the movie’s plot.

“Choosing to simply do the next right thing can be the turning point in the plot of our own lives as well, maybe not today or next week, but over time as we determined step by step what is just the next right thing. Eventually, we’ll find our way through the fog of confusion, loneliness, discouragement, and grief…

We don’t have to feel brave, have the answers, or know what’s coming tomorrow. Instead, we can continue to ask ourselves the question, what is my next right thing right now? And then, we can take that step in love.”

Without saying anything else, here are the lyrics to Frozen II’s THE NEXT RIGHT STEP:

I’ve seen dark before
But not like this
This is cold
This is empty
This is numb
The life I knew is over
The light’s are out
Hello, darkness
I’m ready to succumb

I follow you around
I always have
But you’ve gone to a place I cannot find
This grief has a gravity
It pulls me down
But a tiny voice whispers in my mind
You are lost, hope is gone
But you must go on
And do the next right thing

Can there be a day beyond this night?
I don’t know anymore what is true
I can’t find my direction, I’m all alone
The only star that guided me was you
How to rise from the floor
When it’s not you I’m rising for?
Just do the next right thing
Take a step, step again
It is all that I can to do
The next right thing

I won’t look too far ahead
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 thin


And Mark Watney in THE MARTIAN:

At some point, everything’s gonna go south on you…everything’s going to go south and you’re going to say, this is it. This is how I end. Now you can either accept that, or you can get to work. That’s all it is. You just begin. You do the math. You solve one problem…and you solve the next one…and then the next. And if you solve enough problems, you get to come home.


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