Thursday, October 28, 2010
Last week, miracle of miracles, I went and saw two different films at the cinema. A plethora of evenings that my husband go to be out doing fun, sports related things prompted me to organize a ladies night out. Then a few days later my husband and I had a scheduled "date in the middle of the day because that's when we could arrange childcare" so we sneaked in a matinee.
The first movie that I saw was "Secretariat", which is about the horse that won the triple crown in 1973 and his owner, Penny Tweedy. The second one was "The Social Network", which is about Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. First of all, how wonderful it is to be immersed in good stories. They say that the body craves food and water, the heart craves love and the mind craves stories. I resonate wholeheartedly with that. Nevermind special effects or sex and violence, what I crave is to escape through a good story.
I also found that both movies made me think about the worth and importance of my life because they were about "greatness". The pursuit of "greatness" sure does make for a good story.
Secretariat was the only non-human to be listed in the Sports Illustrated list of 100 greatest athletes of the 20th century. The story of Penny Tweedy's is inspiring as well; a regular housewife who dared to reach for the stars. She defied expectations and social conventions to take that horse where no one dreamed he could go. Disney geared the storyline to inspire the movie goer with Mrs. Tweedy's tenacity and inner sense of fight. According to the movie, she was an inspiration to her own teenage daughter, a role model for daring to go for what is deep inside of you. The Facebook/ Mark Zuckerberg story is an amazing one of it's own. This man is only 26 years old, is worth almost 7 billion dollars and is a major culture changer of our era.
Personally, I felt two things. First, I was inspired to look at my life and ask, "How do I still need to be a person of dreams?" I think that there is such a temptation for me to just live my practical, daily life and not hope to be a part of something greater. Of course, not everyone is a world history maker or a culture changer or a millionaire/ billionaire but we all have to have a greater vision for something more, something that engages you to the core or else you begin to die a slow death.
Secondly, I felt sobered by the "cost of greatness". Penny Tweedy became estranged with her husband in the midst of her pursuit of the triple crown for her horse. According to "The Social Contract", Mark Zuckerberg was, well, not a very nice human being and really screwed over his best friend. I know that it's not always this way. Not every great person in the history of this world had a failed marriage or was a bad friend. However, I am aware on a deep level that in order to be great in this world, you have to give up a lot of the best things in a normal person's life, family normalcy, healthy friendships, and quality time for both.
I am thinking about how tempting it is to want to be great in the eyes of people. Despite the costs that these people paid to be great, it is so darn attractive. Who doesn't want to be a super-successful, influential, respected person? Who isn't drawn to be warmed by that fire? I am. If I am honest, I have to admit that I love the idea of being famous or powerful or influential. Watching these movies made me realize how powerfully attractive it is to me.
Ironically, at church these days, we've been going through a part of the Bible that is also about "greatness". In Mark 10:43-45 Jesus says, "Whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all. For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." Boy, this really turns the whole "dream about being a billionaire" thing on it's head.
In the end, I do want to be great but I think that I believe Jesus that being great by becoming a servant and pouring out your life is a better path to ultimate, lasting, and true greatness than making a lot of money or making a name for yourself. This is a good thing for me because I seem to have found myself with three little creatures with cavernous needs whom I must serve (sometimes it feels like be a slave to) everyday. One of those little people is someone who will probably never outgrow his need to be taken care of in very basic ways. Because I am a parent of a child with special needs, my life path is one of a servant. My hope and my prayer is that, as I walk this path, my heart stays in a place of really seeking to be great by being a true servant rather than yearning for greatness in some other way.