11 Sep Mhmm…Mhmm…good.
I recently had the chance to see the movie, “The Odd Life of Timothy Green” at the very last Drive-In screening for the summer. Now granted, I really had no idea what the movie was about aside from a kid with leaves growing on his legs, but I was nonetheless intrigued. Suffice it to say, it was a quality film. Not profoundly thought-provoking or plot twisting or packed with spandex clad superheros, but it was beautifully written and hit you right where it should have.
Now, the Salt ‘n Light team spends a good amount of time in each other’s company and as such you begin to learn certain quirks and idiosyncrasies about one another that are hard to ignore once you’ve noticed them. For instance, Ryan Murphy uses the phrase, “Make it happen” almost too many times to count in one day. Cody Sherry will beat a nickname into the ground until you accept it as truth. Dana will win every game. Jess will compete with Dana to win every game. Together…they will win every game. Chelsea uses expressions used by the elderly. Bekah Dincher is quite renowned for her ability to mimic other people’s voices and facial expressions which makes her quite the suprime storyteller. (She also invented the word Suprime) If you bring up the movie “Knowing” or “The day after tomorrow”, Alex Troup WILL give you the rundown of why both are scientifically implausible. Pef and Christie will quote the two Saturday Night Live skits they know whenever humanly possible. Brian Gallagher will say YOLO in response to just about anything, and if you pay attention Leeann Shearer and Emily Bingham will make you laugh harder than anyone else with their side comments. Oh and sometimes Brook Warren and Andy Brisbin are actually the same person.
All of that to say, it has been brought to my attention that another one of my particular quirks has become apparent. Cody and Bing pointed out that during almost any movie we’ve watched together, there will come a time at which I will unintentionally say, “Mhmmmm.” This usually happens when a line or quote suddenly becomes unexpectedly profound. I just can’t help it, something strikes a nerve in my brain and I have to acknowledge that I’ve noticed. Thus, the mhmm.
So I don’t know how to describe “The Odd Life of Timothy Green,” except to say…there were a whole lot of mhmm moments.
One of these occurs during a Soccer Practice scene. Timothy is not exceptionallu good at soccer, but the coach (at the urging of Timothy’s parents) decides to give him a chance. So he hands Timothy the ball, stands in front of the net, and tells him to kick the ball toward the net. Timothy attempts this several times, and to the coach’s obvious chagrin, completely misses the ball each time. Occasionally, his toe might brush the ball, but then his balance betrays him causing him to fall or send the ball spiraling in the opposite direction. Nonetheless, he gets up and tries again, and again, and again. All the while just smiling away.
Finally the coach becomes frustrated and begins grumbling to himself. With clear disdain, he mutters that Timothy should just start running laps with the rest of the kids. And as Timothy moves to go, he notices the grin on Timothy’s face.
“WHY are you SMILING?!” He yells, exasperated.
And as Timothy runs away he shouts, “I can only get better!”
Tell me you aren’t MHMMing right now.
Okay but take a step back. I’m guessing if you swapped any one of us for Timothy in that scene, it wouldn’t have been much of an mhm. My scene would have involved some determined eyebrow creasing, an embarrassed crossing of the arms, a long inner soliloquy about my inability to do anything athletic, some unintelligible sounds reminiscent of a swamp monster, and eventually a good old fashioned stomp off the field. Perhaps it’s just me, but the expression that immediately comes to mind is…yikes.
Because if we’re honest, we don’t often see the opportunity for growth or for change, we only perceive the current demise of our failure and inadequacy. But I just have this feeling that God sees us the way Timothy sees himself. If God’s teaching us something, he’s standing at that net, smiling like the proudest parent. And as we stumble around trying to get our feet about us, he’s just saying…
“You can only get better. I can’t wait to show you what you can do. Stick with me.”
And as we mutter to ourselves and make angry swamp monster noises, he’s chuckling and telling us to stop whining and focus on the game, and even more to focus on him.
So I don’t know where you are today, but I know our God is a redemptive and loving God. He can see the potential in us when we can’t even find the strength to get out of bed or finish our homework. He can see someone great when all we can see is a mess. He can find the adventurer within the exhausted wanderer or the champion within the benched water boy. So take a deep breath and look in that mirror again. Wash that goupy film out of your eyes that’s causing you to see a poor reflection. Remove the specks and the planks that compare us to everyone else, making us think we’re not worthy to keep playing or trying or moving.
Look up and see the one who’s looking back at you. He believes in you. And he’s not telling you you’re not good enough to play on his team or not fit enough to run in his race. He’s thinking that you’re just the person he needs. And you can do it, because he can.
“Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God knows me completely.” 1 Corinthians 13:12