You’re in the Good Life

“That might sound boring but it’s the boring stuff I remember the most.”

                                                                                                    – Russell from Up

Gosh, Up is such a wonderful movie. Literally, it’s full of wonder, along with whimsy and adventure and emotion. It makes me want to live a life that is bursting with genuine love and passion. And I think we all want that, to live the good life. So where do we find it? Well, I think Russell is on to something.

For those of you who haven’t seen the movie, Russell is an adorable, chubby little boyscout. He desperately wants to get his last badge (the assisting the elderly badge) so that his distant dad will come to the ceremony to pin it on him. At one point during the film Russell is talking to Carl, the elderly man he is trying to assist, about how he and his dad use to eat ice cream on the curb and count the red and blue cars. He then says, “That might sound boring but it’s the boring stuff I remember the most.” I think Russell understood what a truly wonder-filled life looks like. It’s not about looking to achieve some fantastic goal or win an award or build a successful career. No, I think what Russell is trying to say is that we all need to put down the binoculars and experience all of the wonder that is here and now.

I remember as a kid getting so frustrated with my mom as we sauntered our way through clothing stores. All I wanted was to go home and play baseball with the neighbor kids. All she wanted was to buy me some nice clothes. I was so stuck in the mentality that now is only boring and later is only amazing that I couldn’t experience my mom’s love for me. It’s really easy for me to do this, to get bored with the present when I think the future holds something bigger and better. But the truth is that Jesus is holding me here and now. And there’s nothing bigger or better than that. He has me in this situation, with these people, and under these circumstances so that I would be fully present. Because that is where his love is. He loves me right here and right now. Nothing that I do in the future will ever change that. Nothing that I’ve done in the past has changed that.

Now don’t get me wrong, planning for the future isn’t bad but assuming that when we get married or land that job or tell 100 people about Jesus we’ll finally be living the good life, is bad. Jesus was living the good life before we ever showed up; coming down to be with us was an act of pure love, not a way to live more fully. He showed us that the good life isn’t contingent on pleasure or comfort or even happiness. He was living it in the manger, healing lepers, being scorned by Jews, sitting by the well, and bleeding to death on the cross. He lived his life fully present, Immanuel. But this life that he spent with us, the time that might sound boring in comparison to the rest of his eternal existence, is the stuff that we remember the most.

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