Monday, July 21, 2008

Truth, Hollywood style

I don't think of myself as a terribly emotional person. I'm not moved to tears easily (PMS week excluded, of course, oh and when I'm really tired or there's a good praise time going, or, well, never mind, maybe I do cry easy). ANYWAY, there are a few movies that get to me every time, I mean EVERY SINGLE TIME I watch them, no matter how often I've seen them.

There's the scene in Apollo 13 where the whole world is anxiously waiting to see if, against all odds, the heat shield held and the astronauts were able to survive re-entering the earth's atmosphere. The usual amount of time expires and everyone holds their breath (I still do--and I KNOW what's going to happen!). Then all of a sudden, there's a little static and the module appears, floating perfectly down to the ocean's surface. Cheers abound as I catch my breath and dab my eyes.

Mission accomplished.

Mr. Holland, of Mr. Holland's Opus, spends his entire life teaching music, which started off as a temporary gig. What he REALLY wanted to do was compose music, but the realities of life cause him to keep the steady job and paycheck instead. When he is forced to retire, he wonders if he's wasted his life and missed the chance to live his dream. He is unexpectedly called into the school auditorium and finds generations of students filling the room to honor him. Years of investing in students collide with his yearnings to create a master work as past and present students join together in a mass ensemble to perform the masterpiece he's spent a lifetime working on. His dream is realized and he understands his opus is not the music he leaves behind, but the lives he's touched. Now tell me, how is a person supposed to stifle tears through that?

The sacrifice mattered and produced more than imagined.

In A Beautiful Mind, John Nash, a brilliant mathematician, suffers from schizophrenia. Medications dull his mind, making him unable to concentrate and feel like himself. Though it goes against common sense, his wife respects him by trusting his judgment to go without drugs, helps him find a way to deal with the voices and loves him through the trauma. At the end of the movie John is awarded the Nobel Prize. In his acceptance speech he says, "It is only in the mysterious equations of love that any logical reasons can be found." Then he looks his wife in the eye and says, "I'm only here tonight because of you. You are the reason I am. You are all my reasons." What woman with a heart can hold back the dam at that?! Is that not the Mecca of wifedom?! Of course John's wife beams proudly, tears streaming down her cheeks and joins the room in a standing ovation. The tremendous trial has produced a beautiful love affair.

The struggle was worth it.

A Jamaican bobsled team has overcome everything thrown at them and finds themselves in the running for an Olympic medal in Cool Runnings. On their final run they are on record pace when their sled breaks, causing them to crash to a stop within sight of the finish line. Though their chances for a medal are dashed, the team picks up the sled and carries it the rest of the way, gaining more respect and admiration with every step. The crowd goes wild with cheers and applause. And I quickly find something else to do before my family makes fun of me for crying again.

There is honor in finishing the race.

Why do these scenes get to me? What is it that brings the tears? Why do they touch me? I think it's because they show the reward in overcoming. They represent my deep longings, things I yearn to see in my own life. I want to accomplish God's mission for me. I want to know my sacrifices and life matter. I want to know the struggle will be worth it. I want the crowd to go wild and celebrate with me as I finish the race. When I watch those scenes I think, "I want to be there, Lord. I want to see the reward of persevering." Maybe the tears are homesickness for heaven where my movie like ending will occur. Or are they from fear I won't finish good enough?

While my attention is captured in these movies and I watch ordinary people accomplish the extraordinary, while I long to be among them, hoping with my entire being to perform as well as they, Jesus whispers in my ear,

It will be worth it.

It will make a difference.

It will matter.

Keep pushing for the finish line.

One day you will hear, "Well done. Mission accomplished."

Make it so, Lord, make it so.


kpjara said...

Thank God He is in the business of doing the EXTRAORDINARY with all the ordinary people of the long as they have the passion and desire!

Brenda said...

"We can do no great things, only small things with great love." - Mother Teresa

I think God gives us our daily things to do with great love. When people see it they may think it looks extraordinary. I think the music programs you and Kevin write and produce are extraordinary. I think our worship services are extraordinary. I think your children are growing into extraordinary people.

Melanie said...

Tami, What a beautiful post! You have struck points that are so very real for me, too. I long to finish the race in a way that would make God proud. I want to hear the screams as I cross that finish line.. "Well done, my good and faithful servant!" Yes, Lord, help me... make it so".

Angie said...

Oh Tami. The tears are burning my eyes---I have seen all but the last movie you mentioned...I would add one that does it to me..."First Knight" I think is the name of it--with Sean Connery as King Arthur. The scene of his death and the firey "grave" scene is my complete undoing. As I read your words, I thought back over some "movie moments of my own life"...wondered if there were angels holding their breath...wondering at what would come next...when only God knows. I feel like I am holding my breath now...wondering what comes next. The trials of the days seem to worsen at times...but I feel the presence of the LORD.
YOUR posts ALWAYS do this to me. Make me cry with something the LORD is trying to tell me.
Okay Lord. I am listening.
Tami---write on.

Rachelle said...

Great post! Everyone longs for that happy ending and sense of accomplishment. It has to be God given. Something deep in our souls, only God knows how to fill.

Kara Bird said...

Just reading about those moments in those movies maks me cry! :) I'm right there with you friend. I love those moments too. It's good to be reminded that the struggle is what makes the victory so beautiful. :) Thanks friend!

Susan said...

Oh Tami...

Just reading these reviews caused so many emotions to be stirred up. I loved each and everyone of these movies!

Of course I could add many more to your list, ones that made me not only cry, but stand up in the theatre as I cheered on the actors. (Yes, I actually did that as I watched Chariots of Fire and Rudy, totally embarrassing my sons.)

But of all the movies that moved me the most I'd have to say was Schindler's List. We had the honor of seeing it while we were on a mission trip in Amsterdam. I actually was sitting in a movie theater that was once used during Holocaust itself! Although this undoubtedly was one of the most significant and horrifying events of the twentieth century, the message and imagines pierced so deeply I sobbed for days after.

I will never forget the main line, "Whoever saves one life, saves the world entire"!! Oh, I pray I will stand before my Savior without regret over a single life I missed for Him.

Thanks once again for using your gift to bless and encourage so many!!

You have truly MADE A DIFFERENCE my sweet friend♥

Nancy said...

YES! Such great hope still waits ahead!