December 15, 2015

Concerning Key Grips

Have you seen this add (below) by The New Yorker?  I don't know if it's on mainstream TV or not because I only really watch TV on (and yes, it's always in a Korean).  It's truly a work of art.  The visuals, sounds (or lack thereof), and even the plot draw me in every time.  Go ahead and watch it first.  Go on.  It's only 59 Seconds.

The add immediately grabbed my attention because it reminded me of me in so many ways.  This story is basically how I live everyday.  I don't know if it's an INFJ/INTJ hybrid thing or if it's a "Jo" thing, but I feel like the director understands me.  

He/she understands how even though I'm living my life I don't feel like it's really about me.  I may, like the guy in the add, be the main character, but the story isn't actually about me.  I see people.  I notice things.  Sometimes I interact.  I wonder.  I analyze.  I empathize.  I acknowledge.  Then somehow I manage to check my watch and actually live my life too.

I've actually thought before that a movie about my life would be pretty boring.  It would just be snippets from other people's movies that I was an extra in.  Maybe in one I'd have a credited role like "the best friend," but another would be "girl that held the door open," or "acquaintance that made the party fairly tolerable," or maybe "key grip."  Key grips aren't even in movies, they just help make them possible (often stabilizing cameras or holding the microphones just out of the shot)  But don't get me wrong -- this isn't a pity party!  It's just my reality.

Ever since I can remember I've been fascinated by people's stories.  Before I was old enough to actually read fiction I would just look at the pictures in books and wonder what their stories were.  There was one particular book that had a simple poem about God loving people from all over the world in it, but I "read" it because it had pictures of kids in traditional clothing from cultures all around the world.  I would make up my own stories for each of the kids in the illustrations and pick my favorite outfits.

As I got older I was either reading someone else's story in a book or acting in my own make-believe world.  I loved playing make believe so much that I often would assign members of my family roles in my imaginary world and keep playing in my head over dinner time.  Mom, I apologize for all those times I said nothing at the table -- I didn't want to break character by talking about math class or who would mow the lawn. :)  My best (you could read "only" here) friends were also the imaginative sort, so we would play together outside for hours.  We had great times, but I lived in my head so much that I was perceived as a shy/rude kid.  Looking back I probably over-dosed on fiction.

Six years ago things changed.  While I had admitted by sinful state and accepted Jesus' sacrifice on the cross in my place and thereby been "saved" from God's wrath at a very young age, I didn't fully grasp what that inward change would/should eventually look like on the outside.  At the age of 15 something clicked and I started to realize how big the world is and how long eternity is.  I saw afresh how I had been basically a zombie -- dead spiritually but walking through life, and that now I was reborn to life that has hope and purpose.  I started to see that life isn't about me because it isn't mine.

Philippians 1: 20-21ish (NLT) reads "And I trust that my life will bring honor to Christ, whether I live or die. For to me, living means living for Christ."  My life was no longer mine.  At 15 I started to see God's heart and understand his bigger plan and purpose.  Sometimes growing up in the church makes simple things meaningless because we hear them so often.  Even important things like God loves people.  God will punish people for their sin because he is just and holy, but he loves them.  He wants them to be fulfilled, and experience the fullness of joy and happiness so he did the extreme.  He wove the thread of redemption into the story and he reaches out to you individually.  Personally.  He loves YOU.  He wants YOU.

This is what I started to realize at 15.  This is why I still love stories.  This is why people are the most important thing.  They don't just exist in books or in my imagination anymore.  They breathe, and laugh, and think, and are the main characters in their stories.  And Jesus loves them.  And everyday I have the opportunity to interact with these messy, beautiful, humans and try to see them through God's eyes.

This is why I don't mind being a key grip.  This is why I don't mind letting others take the stage.  This is why I love being in the background.  This is why I really like this add.  Yeah, it's for a magazine of some sort, but it's about the people.  It's about seeing things differently.  It's about caring.  It's about giving the gift of attention.

Take some time today to see people.  Speak life.  Be extravagant.  Let people know they're valuable.  Because they are.  YOU are.  You're priceless.