"You need to empty your cup. Then you can refill it." - Lu Yan (Jackie Chan)
Day after day, we cram a lot of "stuff" into our lives. We cram our overblown schedules, countless reminders, and small tidbits of knowledge into our brains, so much so that by the time we can rest for a night or for a weekend, we feel emotionally and mentally bloated. It was in the midst of a busy week of my own that I took a break and saw The Forbidden Kingdom, a kung-ku movie which marks the first on-screen collaboration between martial arts actors Jackie Chan and Jet Li.
At its core, this is a film about a Boston teenager named Jason (Michael Angarano) who loves kung-fu classic movies so much that, during a life-or-death encounter with street thugs, he is whisked away to the ancient China of his dreams where he teams up with three martial arts masters, Lu Yan (Jackie Chan), The Silent Monk (Jet Li), and the Golden Sparrow (newcomer Yifei Liu), to deliver a legendary stick weapon to its rightful owner, the imprisoned Monkey King (playfully portrayed by Jet Li).
What prevents young Jason from accomplishing his mission, according to Lu Yan, is that his head is filled with so much stuff that he does not have the power to learn more. "You need to empty your cup," Lu Yan says. "Then you can refill it." Jason must unlearn what he has taken in - to truly be proficient in kung-fu and save the day.
In my daily life, I find I fill up my world with a lot of "stuff," and when the day is done, I hardly have room for anything more. Like Jason, I must empty my cup so that God can refill it for me.
Otherwise, if I do not go through this emptying, there is so much that can go right past me. Have you ever experienced that, when you are so overwhelmed that you miss something incredibly important? Sometimes I need to be more aware of my surroundings, so that I can learn the truly valuable lessons in life.
Let us pray that we can look at our own lives and see if our cup is too full of useless "stuff," and have the wisdom to empty it and refill with something more, something deeper.
SIDE NOTE: One thing that haunted me about the film was the fact that one of the bully characters, the one who tries to kill our heroes in Boston, prominently wears a golden cross around his neck. It reminds me that so many people wear Christian jewelry or display Christian symbols, but some do not let that symbol or image seep into their souls. Like a driver with violent road rage who has a fish decal on the back of their car, we must ask ourselves if we are true to the images of faith we carry around with us. This bully was hardly Christian, yet wore his cross for all to see. Let us pray never to wind up in a similar situation when we betray the very faith we wear on our sleeves.