"You yourselves know that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night." 1 Thess. 5:2
Garrison Kellior's A Prairie Home Companion is a simple film. No big explosions. No epic love story. No car chases or evil villians. It's a movie about endings and new beginnings showcased in the story of the last night of a small Midwestern live broadcast radio variety show.
Every now and then, we need a movie like this. The film does for moviegoers what the film's story is all about: take a moment to stop and smell the roses. It was telling that the theatre in which I saw this was squeezed between the theatres for two summer blockbusters. Through the walls of a quieter film like this you can hear the bass of the explosions or car chases on my right and on my left.
But this film was a quiet afternoon reprieve from the adreneline.
In our world today, we often go so fast we miss little treasures like this. We move with a pace never experienced in the history of our world. Not being one to point fingers, I must confess that I, too, go at this pace... and when the job is done or whatever project is accomplished, I look back and wonder if all the running around and worrying was really worth the end result.
A Prairie Home Companion, through an all-star cast (Woody Harrelson, Tommy Lee Jones, Kevin Kline, Meryl Streep, Lindsey Lohan, Virginia Madsen, Lily Tomlin, John C. Reilly, Maya Rudolph, among others), shows us characters who spend their careers on this show, stopping and smelling the roses. One character passes on, but there are no regrets. They enjoyed each others' company while he was alive, and his passing is more of a celebration than a tragedy.
In our lives, if we run too fast, we may miss if someone passes on. We may be too busy to even care. It's harsh, but that's the kind of world we seem to live in today.
It's ironic that in the 21st century, when it is so easy to get in touch with people (email, cell phones, pagers, multiple phone numbers, faxes, blogs, whatever), I hear so many people tell me how they just lose touch with old friends. It makes no sense, except the fast pace is not helping us, it's hurting us. Just imagine if we lived life smelling roses more often - maybe we wouldn't lose touch with those old friends, maybe we would have more friends in general.
Studies just came out saying that the majority of Americans today have few if any real friends. We are so disconnected as a society. We care more about the "things" of this world than the "people" of this world. With all the violence overseas and the divisions in this very country, I think there might be a connection with that and this erosion of relationships.
We don't know when our time will come, when God will come for us like (as Paul says) "a thief in the night" (1 Thess. 5:2). So let's live life as if it might come anytime. Let's treat our friends and the people we know with more respect, even just more attention. Let's care a bit more. Let's learn about one another more than a name and cell number. We are all created to be worth more than a passing aquaintance.
So let's stop and smell some roses. I think we'll be glad we did.