With less than a week in the States I have some choices to make. Choices like, Wolf on Wall Street, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty or Saving Mr. Banks? Today I chose The Secret Life of Water Mitty and boy am I glad I did.
If you haven’t seen the movie, I suggest it. If you haven’t, it’s about a man named Walter Mitty. Walter is a hard-working, day-dreaming, responsible and humble man with little life experience. Then something happens! And he’s off. Around the world and up mountains and in parks with the lady of his day dreams.
It’s a movie about living life, about living a full life. It’s full of beautiful landscapes and giant wonderful mountains that make you feel so small and wonderful. The soundtrack complimented the scenery and life changes perfectly. Just watching Walter Mitty long board down an Icelandic mountain while listening to Of Monsters And Men made my soul smile. And watching Walter Mitty play some sort of soccer with Sean Penn the photographer and some Himalayan natives, I felt that this is what life is all about.
I felt that this is what life is all about – living life to the fullest. Running around with people you don’t know in an unfamiliar country laughing and playing and learning something new – not only learning something new about the Himalayas or this soccer game or these men or their language or their home, but learning something new about yourself. And that’s what living life to the fullest does. When you open yourself up to the world, the world opens itself up to you and you learn more about yourself than you otherwise would.
Walter Mitty learned that he was brave and daring and bold and fun. And when he came back from his adventures he was ready for more. Like holding hands with a nice lady while walking down the street. In the end, Walter learns that he had everything he needed inside him to live life to the fullest. Life became greater than his daydreams.
The thing is, that kind of full full life, -the kind of life that makes your soul smile because of a mountain or an ocean or a long board, doesn’t come from a job or a lady or even a missing photograph. The most full life, the kind of life that makes my soul smile because of a marriage proposal from one person that I don’t know to another person I don’t know (love celebrated!) or this great big world and the beautiful people it’s filled up with, only comes from Jesus.
Now it’s a Sunday and I’m a Baptist so I’d be remiss if I wrote a blog post without an invitation at the end. So I just want to say that while The Secret Life of Walter Mitty was beautiful and inspiring and fun and a full life, it wasn’t the fullest life.
This morning at church Pastor Jason talked about birds and giving. A bird living in a cage has everything it needs. It has food and water right there in its cage and it has no reason to leave. A bird in a cage can hoard its needs and provide for itself. But a free bird, a free bird has not just everything it needs, but everything. A free bird has the freedom to live a full life, to fly to Greenland and beat a shark with a briefcase or climb a mountain or ride a horse in the Caribbean or fall in love with people and places and languages and things. A bird living in a cage has everything they need but they miss out on life.
In the beginning of the movie Walter Mitty was a bird in a cage. He had his job and his responsibilities y ya.* Then, the cage door opened and he was a free bird, free to experience everything that life holds.
And it’s for that everything else, that freedom and love and life, that Jesus came! He came to set us free, to open the cage door, to tear down the veil, to make a way, to introduce us to a real, full, free life. My soul couldn’t smile about Walter’s story and his great, big world without first knowing way deep down the truth – that I serve a God who is all about this great, big world and my place in it. And I promise that the best way to live a full life is to first submit to God. Attach yourself to Him, give Him your heart and – even though it doesn’t make a lot of sense that submission leads to freedom – He will set you free, let you out of your self-dependent cage, and set you free to live the most full life.
Then traveling and knowing and laughing and being known and creating are even better because they come from the image of God in you and they come with purpose and a holiness that permeates everything He touches. Live like Walter Mitty, only fuller.
*”y ya” is a little Spanish phrase. It means “that’s it” or “and nothing else.”