Monday, February 23, 2015

Stay With Us

The Oscars ceremonies on Sunday night honored those who tell stories, through so many dimensions --acting, visual effects, music and writing.  But it seemed odd to me that so many real life stories were buried and unspoken.   Amidst all of the thank you's to family members, co-workers and even pets at the Academy Awards, and even amidst those who chose to use the platform for fame and other agendas, there emerged a single powerful story behind one of the awards. 

When the young 33 year old Graham Moore was awarded best adapted screenplay, he began with the usual litany of thanks.  And then quite suddenly in an unrehearsed moment, he turned to the microphone and briefly mentioned his own untold story, not for personal attention but as a lifeline for others.

"I tried to commit suicide at 16 and now I'm standing here," he said. "I would like for this moment to be for that kid out there who feels like she doesn’t fit in anywhere. You do. Stay weird. Stay different, and then when it's your turn and you are standing on this stage please pass the same message along." (quoted from a news story from the Huffington Post.)

He couldn't see the future from where he was standing when he was 16. He thought he was the only one who was weird, when indeed we are all different in one way or another.  Despair has a way of closing the blinds, blocking out the light, and making life look very bleak indeed. 

But there is a future.  There is always a future.  And most likely, that which you cannot YET see.

When the iconic comedian Robin Williams committed suicide in August 2014, I read an article published by Krista Tippett in NPR's On Being.  She quoted the last few paragraphs of  Stay:  A History of Suicide and Philosophies Against It, authored by Jennifer Michael Hecht.

"None of us can truly know what we mean to other people, and none of us can know what our future self will experience. History and philosophy ask us to remember these mysteries, to look around at friends, family, humanity, at the surprises life brings — the endless possibilities that living offers — and to persevere. There is love and insight to live for, bright moments to cherish, and even the possibility of happiness, and the chance of helping someone else through his or her own troubles. Know that people, through history and today, understand how much courage it takes to stay. Bear witness to the night side of being human and the bravery it entails, and wait for the sun. If we meditate on the record of human wisdom we may find there reason enough to persist and find our way back to happiness. The first step is to consider the arguments and evidence and choose to stay. After that, anything may happen. First, choose to stay."

While Hecht's book is not written from a biblical worldview, it recognizes the preciousness of God-given life.  Each one of us is so loved by God, who is our forgiver, healer, redeemer, and savior.  He redeems our past, He walks with us in the present, He is there in the future, even in that which we cannot yet see.

Choose to stay.

For I know the plans I have for you,
                 says the LORD,
plans for welfare and not for evil,
to give you a future and a hope.
Then you will call upon Me
and come and pray to Me,
             and I will hear you.
You will seek Me and find Me;
when you seek Me with all your heart,
     I will be found by you,
     says the LORD.

                  Jeremiah 29. 11-14  

I waited patiently for the LORD;
He inclined to me and heard my cry.
He drew me up from the desolate pit,
          out of the miry bog,
and set my feet upon a rock,
making my steps secure.
He put a new song in my mouth,
a song of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear,
and put their trust in the LORD.

                   Psalm 40. 1-3

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