Category Archives: Movies

The Journey to the Couch is Shorter

MV5BMTQ3Mjg2MTE4M15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMzcyNDMwMjE@._V1_SX640_SY720_After four snow days which have limited our ability to get out of the house (Can you say CABIN FEVER!?), I decided to sit down and watch a movie that I had seen just a few months ago. I loved it then, but due to a few interruptions (teenagers and their social lives) I didn’t get to give it my full attention. So last night, I downloaded The Hundred Foot Journey and settled under my quilt for a re-watch.

It did not disappoint the second time. One of the things I love about this movie is it’s wholesome story telling. It’s so very rare to watch a movie that isn’t filled with bad language, cover-your-eyes sex scenes, violence, or questionable innuendos. Another element of the movie that I love is what it teaches the viewer. That leads us to today’s post . . .

 Three Things that The Hundred Foot Journey Taught Me

  1. Maybe brakes break for a reason.” – Hassan Kadam

100ft-car-rideThis quote from the movie seems simple but is layered with truth. The Kadam family have lefttheir homeland (India) for tragic reasons. While on their exploration to find a new place to relocate, the brakes on their van go out. This causes them to meet the lovely Margarit in the French village of Saint-Antonin-Noble-Val. If the brakes had never quit working, then the family would have driven on thru this quaint village that changes their lives.

So often in our own lives, we equate delays and detours with failures. Because of one situation or another, we are stuck in traffic or waiting endlessly in the line at the DMV. Or sometimes the way we thought things would go, end up happening quite the opposite. No matter what delay or detour we experience, it is no less an opportunity. An opportunity to stop and ask, “Is this where I’m supposed to be?” In our feeble human minds, we usually answer know if the plan hasn’t gone according to plan. But in God’s eyes (the one who sees the big picture) we might be exactly where we are supposed to be and at exactly the right time. The next time you experience a life detour or delay, stop and ask God if the brakes broke for a reason.

  1. “Every bite takes you home. ” –cooking school friend of Hassan

There is a deep connection between a person’s soul and food. In a world where most people grab food in the drive-thru or head out to a local restaurant, this food-nourishes-soul connection has gotten lost. Long gone are the days of sharing the table with family – except around the holidays. But good food goes beyond the belly. It’s not just about filling your stomach; it’s about nourishing your soul. The slow act of preparing a meal, shopping for its ingredients, chopping, mixing, tasting are all important to who we are. In the movie, Hassan is reminded by a friend that “Food is memories.” This simple thought is ultimately what brings his character to a dramatic change, forcing him to recognize what is truly important in life. The food you prepare and share with family and those you love is a powerful force of life.

  1. Wherever the family is, that is home.” – Papa Kadam

In the midst of the Kadam family’s traveling turmoil, a son laments that their current location is not their home. Papa Kadam is quick to inform him of the truth.

For a woman whose moved around A LOT in the last five years, I can testify to Papa’s truth. No matter where I went – Costa Rica, Ecuadorian jungle, Florida, Tennessee – if my family was with me, it was home. It isn’t a building or a city; it’s the company of those you love. A house doesn’t provide comfort from life’s storms; it’s the open arms of those who love you unconditionally. Family makes a home not a house.

Once again, we are headed into the weekend. How about taking this one to slow down and connect with your “home?” Maybe cook a meal, or even dessert, to share. Then sit down in front of the TV and enjoy a film that helps us better appreciate detours, food, and family

Seen the movie? Tell me what you thought. If not, watch it, then come back and share what you learned.

Three Things Walter Mitty Taught Me

811borCplNL._SL1500_The weekend is here!  Time for hanging out with friends and family, eating pancakes and bacon, and chilling on the couch with a good movie. As for the last activity I have a suggestion: watch The Secret Life of Walter Mitty starring Ben Stiller.  This movie, released on DVD last spring, is funny, touching, inspirational, and filled with amazing scenery. As I watched it again last week, I was reminded why I love a good movie: it teaches me something and changes the way I live and think about my life. And Walter Mitty taught me a few things.

“Beautiful things don’t ask for attention.” (One of my favorite lines from the movie.) This seemingly forgettable statement is so very profound. If you stop and ponder it long enough, its truth will be blinding. The best way to explain it is with a contrast: Times Square in NYC and the village of Cumbatza in Ecuador. One is filled with flashing lights, posters of flawless faces and bodies, honking horns, and billboards promising exciting adventures. The other is overwrought with unwieldy foliage, rocky paths, potholed dirt roads, ramshackled huts, and cinder block houses painted in faded pastels. One screams “LOOK AT ME!” The other remains silent. Yet in the moment that you walk Cumbatza’s dusty road, drink in the unspoiled nature growing as it wills, you see sheer beauty that takes your breath. It’s a moment almost too much for the soul. It’s beauty hurts the heart so you’ll never forget the moment. It doesn’t ask for your attention, but you give it willingly. That’s true beauty.

Some moments don’t photograph well. Sean Penn, who plays an award-winning photojournalist, says it perfectly during a pivotal moment of the movie. He and Walter are sitting atop a peak in the Himalayas while Penn is waiting for the elusive snow leopard to make its appearance. His camera is aimed and ready. The leopard saunters out of hiding and stands almost eyeing the camera across the peak. Penn is thrilled and invites Mitty to look through the lens at the leopard’s rarely photographed beauty. Mitty tells Penn to take the picture before the leopard disappears again, but Penn refuses with this simple words: “Sometimes I don’t take the picture. I don’t like the distraction of the camera.” In a world where selfies and documenting every moment with a camera phone is king, Penn has it right. The camera is a distraction from experiencing the stuff of life. In the small moments or big events, no camera can capture what is happening in our hearts. Instead of seeking the camera’s flash, we should be engraving the moment on our souls. This way it can never be destroyed.

A life worth living is the risky one. Walter –for perfectly adequate reasons – has chosen to life an ordinary life. While there is no shame in his responsibility, there is shame in not really living. In his case, he lives two lives: one at his desk job and another in his imagination. Clearly, his imagination is the life of risk and personal fulfillment. While I don’t advocate taking risks for the sake of adrenaline, I do believe that a life that requires tough yet rewarding decisions — the kind that scare you witless– is a life worth living. I don’t need to bungee jump or swim with the sharks to meet this need, but I can sell all my worldly possessions and live in the jungle. I can abandon my  teaching career, to learn another language and build relationships with those of another culture. And then do it all over again by moving back home to seek another Providential adventure. No matter who you are or what job you head off to every morning, there is a risk you know you can take to truly live. It’s a dream that lies deep in your heart, a wish that occupies your daydreams, or a purpose that replays in your mind everyday. It’s that risk that you must take to make your living “worth it.”

This weekend I challenge you to do two things:

1. Watch The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

2. Consider whether you are living the comfortable life that ensures safety or a life that’s lived as a sold-out, risk-taking adventure with God

After all, if you live a life where you scare yourself a lot, then you are really living. Walter Mitty would agree!

Click Here to watch the movie trailer.

Purchase the Movie Here (DVD version)