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.
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.