…the image of a grumpy, squarish old man pushing all his worldly possessions out his front door so that he is light enough (literally) to go on the adventure he is meant to have.
If you haven’t seen Pixar’s UP, that image won’t ring a bell, but I hope it still rings true: a person with a lifetime of stuff suddenly realizes that it is weighing him down. He jettisons ALL of it, so that he can pursue–again literally–an important relationship, and maybe even save a life or two.
I’d seen this film two or three times already, but got to watch bits of it daily last week as I introduced it to my granddaughter. Like most movies she sees for the first time, she then asks for it every day for a while, and I get to know it very, very well. (This makes it important to only present her with quality movies–and Pixar films generally stand up to many repeated watchings.)
I didn’t expect to be suddenly choked up during that scene on the fifth or sixth viewing, and to have to hunt for a Kleenex. But it suddenly struck me as such a graphic image, such a powerful metaphor. How easily we get tied to our possessions, the detritus of a lifetime.
How much of what I hold onto, I wondered, thinking of it as blessing… is actually a burden?
And then I thought: What would it take to walk away from some or all of it, in order to be more effectively present to my family? In order to better serve the Lord?
Certain ideas simply won’t leave you alone. You keep on coming back to them…or they come back to you. I wrote a piece on my other blog, Winnowing, over five years ago, called “Ballast or Dead Weight?” I reblogged it here, abridged and with illustrations, last July. I quoted from it again in April when writing about Dietrich Bonhoeffer and radical discipleship.
It’s a truism that our possessions often own us, to the extent that caring for them becomes our life’s work. Can you or I imagine pushing everything out the front door and leaving it behind? (Sometimes, YES, I CAN!) Can you think of something specific right now which is more hindrance than help to you? Can you leave it behind?
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.”
Hebrews 12:1 (NLT)