For the sake of keeping this short(ish), I'll spare you the details, but allow me to mention two examples. When "Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" was in theaters, I ended up seeing it in five different states. A couple years later, I once saw a movie in each of Reno's three main theaters (at that time) IN ONE DAY.
Yes, I am, in fact, insane.
|Yep. I'm talking about it again.|
In spite of my disappointment, I was thrilled yesterday when I heard that our young adults pastor had spontaneously decided to take the afternoon off and drive over to see the movie with a friend of his who lives in California... I knew he was a huge fan of the book, and it just didn't feel right to think that he wouldn't get to see the movie in theaters. So I was glad that wasn't how things turned out for him. However, I also knew his son was a huge fan of the book, and I felt like now that Eric had seen the movie, if only Zack could see it, too, I'd be satisfied.
I started trying to finagle a plan for us to SOMEHOW get over to Sacramento today to see the movie, and things were falling into place beautifully until I started trying to find a third person to join us. One person had to work tomorrow and didn't want to be out so late; one person had to work tonight; one person had plans with his family; one person was packing for a trip; a couple of people had youth group responsibilities. I was starting to lose heart but I refused to give up until I had exhausted every possibility. If I had knocked on every door I could think of, and every door was shut, then I would accept that it was not part of God's plan for us to go tonight, and I would be satisfied knowing I'd literally done everything in my power to make it happen. But until then, I wouldn't ~ I COULDN'T ~ give up.
Then FINALLY, a breakthrough... Eric suggested I see if his wife, Tara, wanted to go. And long story short, SHE DID. And I breathed what I would call an "epic sigh of relief."
I realize it's just a movie, and in the grand scheme of things, it is not a big deal if any of us see this movie tonight (or ever) or not. But I just wanted so desperately for Zack to have the opportunity to see the film that was inspired by a book that has been significantly influential in his life, and I was beyond thrilled that all the scrambling this morning paid off.
Like I said, at one point I had started to lose heart and give up, resigning myself to the apparent conclusion that this just wasn't meant to be. But I pressed on. And I am grateful that I exhausted every possibility I could think of because the payoff was most definitely worth it! I realize it doesn't always end this way; sometimes even our best efforts still find us empty-handed in the end. But I HOPE I am always persistent enough to pursue everything to the end that I believe to be a good thing insofar as God does not direct me otherwise. If God directs me to let go of something, then by all means I hope that my response will be to let go. But otherwise, I hope I never let any perceived obstacles convince me to give up until I have, in fact, exhausted all possibilities.Then, at the end of the day, if I am still empty-handed, I will at least have the satisfaction of knowing I did not simply quit when things got hard, and therefore it wasn't my own lack of perseverance that led to that end result. I think our culture by and large gives up on things too easily when results aren't coming quickly or easily... I don't want to follow suit.
As small and seemingly insignificant as this particular example of a last-minute trip to see a movie may be, I honestly believe I learned a valuable lesson in tenacity today. As chaotic as it was to see this come together, I can say now, knowing that Zack is going to get to see "Blue Like Jazz" on the big screen in a few hours, that it was worth it.
One final note ~ I don't think this experience would have held even a fraction of the reward if I'd been so tenacious in seeking something that was only about or for myself. It is in knowing that my efforts have led to someone else's joy that I find my own. I don't want to forget that for a second or else I expect any tenacity I have will be largely empty.