Wednesday, November 14, 2012

To Strive and Not to Yield

I watched a movie last night called “One Week.”  It was a little odd, but I enjoyed it, in spite of the impending sense of doom that lurked over the entire film.  The story was narrated kind of the way I tend to write and think – in little side notes as the story goes along.  The film itself centered on a man who had just been told that he had cancer, and a max of 2 years to live.  This same man, who was a teacher instead of a writer or a singer (as he’d dreamed but been told he was no good) was also engaged to a girl whom he was happy enough with, but wasn’t quite sure if he was in love with.  Upon hearing his diagnosis, he bought a motorcycle, and decided to drive west, all the way to the Pacific, just because.

I won’t go into all the little side stories or even the ending, but besides the way he told the story, I want to tell you the two big reasons this movie appealed to me.  Because it isn’t the greatest story ever told by any stretch – but it was a good story, and it was told.  I liked it because this guy, faced with a limited amount of future, did what he always wanted to do, instead of the safe thing.  Of course, that it involved a motorcycle is especially appealing to me.  I’ve always wanted one, and though one of my friends has taught me the basics and let me borrow his to learn, I still haven’t really gone and done it. 

The other thing I like is the inclusion of hockey, of course.  Totally unexpected, actually, but I knew when they were talking about Toronto not having won the Stanley Cup in years (which later showed up in one scene -  he got to kiss it for luck, even!), I was gonna like this movie.  So, nothing like accidentally discovering a movie that resonated so much with things I truly enjoy.

In the end, though, what I appreciated the very most about the story was the fact that Ben (that was his name, did I mention that?) was a writer that had been rejected, and therefore refused to write any more because he’d had enough of it.  Now, that doesn’t sound like a very inspiring story, but when combined with the other messages about writing that I’ve heard lately – or actually, tried to avoid lately, because they make me feel guilty and upset.  Because I haven’t been writing.  I’m tired of feeling like it’s going nowhere, and that no one cares to hear my voice.  I don’t like being rejected.  I like having people like me, and by extension, the things I do and write.

I’m pretty sure that most people don’t like being rejected.  It’s not a fun feeling.  I’m also pretty sure that most people don’t like feeling like the things they dream of are put on hold indefinitely because the life they have now, well, it’s good, right?  So what If it’s not the huge things they wanted when they were young and stupid.  But I can’t be convinced that God gives us those things, especially those things that still resound in my heart and mind after years, without a reason. 

One of my good friends posted a whole lot of photos yesterday that I haven’t seen in years – me in a biker jacket, hanging out with a bunch of Christian biker guys from Ohio.  I miss that girl, the one who wanted something a little out of the norm, a future that included something a little dangerous and unexpected, freeing even.  I am not the same person I was then – I like to think my experiences with those bikers helped me let go of my very safe little hold on my world, to be able to try new things that I may be fearful of, but stretch myself to try anyway.  And looking a little different along the process, well, that’s okay, too.

So I think I need to try that again – not necessarily the motorcycle part, though I’m pretty sure that’s going to be part of the equation – but finding my dreams that I’ve put aside.  And stop being fearful of what others are going to say about it.  I know that I cannot just pick up and drive to the coast like good old Ben – but I can write.  And I can ride.  And I can plan and ask God to help me with the things I’ve dreamed, knowing that He will give good things, and He gave me the dreams I have.

One more thing from the movie: a line from Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s’ Ulysses: “To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.”  So many people over the years have used that line as an inspirational quote.  I think I’ll add myself to the list.