Monday, December 7, 2009

The Blind Side

My husband and I went to dinner and a movie on Saturday night. T. had received a gift certificate to our favorite local restaurant for his birthday so we went out for a great meal and then headed to the theater to see The Blind Side. If you have not seen this movie, RUN don't walk to your local theater. And don't finish reading this post, so I don't spoil anything for you :)

I must say that I knew I was going to love this film before the opening credits began to roll because it had all the elements of a great movie in my book: a strong, intelligent woman, her loving husband and family, an underdog and an uplifting storyline of redemption and love. I am sure most know the basic premise of this true story by now- a homeless, African-American teenager from a crack addicted, absent mother is taken in by an upper-class, white Christian family and the lives of everyone involved are changed forever. (Now, because this is a true story, there is a scene or two that contains profanity, violence and alcohol use, but it certainly NOT gratuitous and is central to the story.)

There were many things I loved about The Blind Side but what impacted me the most was how Sean and Leigh Ann Tuohy did not set out to change a boy's life. They had no long-term plan, even after they brought Michael home that cold night to sleep on the couch. They simply did the right thing as each situation presented itself. When they realized he had no other place to stay, they set up a room for him in their home and he became a member of the family. When he needed clothes, they shopped for him. When he needed help on the football field, Leigh Ann went toe to toe with the coach to be sure Michael was understood. When he needed to get his grades up, they hired an oustanding teacher to tutor him. When Leigh Ann's friends raised their poorly veiled "concerns" about Michael living in their home, she put them in their place with haste and class. The Tuohys were, by no means, perfect all the time. In fact, the climactic events of the film are brought about by their missteps along the way.

Throughout the film, I felt quite convicted about the divide in our society between the poor and the rest of us. I felt hopeless about the plight of the millions of children stuck in situations like Michael's, who seem destined for a life of gangs, drugs, prison, and untimely and violent deaths. I felt sorry that we, as a family, are not doing more for the least of these. Don't misunderstand me, the movie has a very happy ending as Michael does, in fact, attend (and gradute on Dean's list) college on a football scholarship and is drafted, in 2009, to the NFL's Baltimore Ravens. So I left the theater with a cheesy grin plastered on my face. However, as we drove home, T. and I spent the time talking about the things I mentioned above and I must say I was feeling increasingly guilty about not doing enough.

As I have thought about these things over the past few days and as I write this post though, I believe God has spoken to me. The message, for me, has been that God is looking for our obedience in our daily lives. He can, and does, do extraordinary things through ordinary people who are simply willing to do the right thing when He presents opportunities. He is looking for vessels through which He can pour out His love and mercy on a perishing world. Sometimes, He will work in extraordinary ways like He did through the Tuohy family and like He does through large ministries and individual missionaries. Other times, He works in everday ways through our simple acts of service to our husbands, our children, our church family. He pours out His love and mercy through us when we care for the sometimes overwhemling needs of our little ones, when we forgive an insult or perceived injustice from our husbands, when we bring a meal to a sick or exhausted brother or sister. One can never know when obedience in one of these simple acts will open a door for another series of simple acts of love and mercy that wind up in an extraordinary outcome. In fact, we should probably expect that!

And that reminds me of this, "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified." Romans 8:28-30

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