I recently watched this great little film called The Giant Mechanical Man. Haven’t heard of it? Not surprising since it opened in only one theatre in May 2012 and grossed just over $5,000 opening weekend. Definitely not a blockbuster but I like little, quirky films and this one has a fantastic story about life and love and risk.
Stories are simply this: a character that wants something and overcomes conflict to get it. Donald Miller taught me that. If you think about your favorite character in a movie or book, most likely, he or she wanted something really bad and overcame conflict to get it.
One of the most frustrating things in movies or books for me is when a character faces a conflict and starts to give up. As the audience, usually you are privy to the bigger picture. You have a front row seat to what is really happening and can see just around the bend. Nothing pains me more than seeing a character make it to the corner, run into a road block and then, lose faith. I want to reach into the book or through the screen to encourage or maybe shake them – begging them to keep on going. To just say, “Listen. He likes you and you like him. So stop making this more difficult than it needs to be.” or “You’re so going to get the job! Just sing the song. They’re going to love you!” or “What you so desperately want is just around the bend! Keep going! You’ve got this!”.
Most of the time, the roadblock at the corner is vulnerability. If just one of the characters in a romance would let down their guard, the relationship could move forward. If a individual could take that one step just past the moment of fear, then he would find success. If she’d really trust God to lead, she’d find peace beyond her understanding. As the audience, you can see it so clearly and that gives you the courage to yell in frustration at their cowardliness (and, subconsciously, at our own cowardliness.)
Obviously, we don’t have the luxury of this perspective in our own life. It is why only hindsight is 20/20. We can’t see what is going to happen with certainty. The only thing that is certain is that if we refuse to take some risks, we’ll miss some dreams, too. As hockey legend Wayne Gretsky, said,
You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.
I wonder in my life how close I’ve been to some of these defining moments. If my life is a movie, where are the times in my life that I was at the corner and the audience was screaming for me to keep going yet I quit in the face of vulnerability. I wonder what they are saying to me now.
Have you ever been to the corner? Did you keep on going or do you feel like you quit? What are some shots you took that you’re really grateful you did – even if the outcome wasn’t what you thought it would be?