I got an email last week from a good friend who wrote, “Some days I am worried about the future of our finances, my relationships, my kids, or the health of those I love. Other days I am just content to have a roof over my head and can blissfully clean the garage without a care…” He also wrote about going for a walk that morning with his dogs: “I thought to myself how cool I am going to be out for 30 minutes surrounded by nature, my loving critters…who every time we go for a walk act like it’s the first time and maybe the last time they will ever get to go out–so happy and appreciative–why can’t kids be like that?”
He called his walk that morning a manufactured kingdom moment” and wanted to know if I knew what he was talking about, if it made any sense. Felt like the understated question of the year to me. In the midst of a whirlwind of details and deadlines, I’d been clinging to moments like these…manufactured or not.
Is it right at all to think of manufacturing a kingdom moment? A moment when cleaning the garage is bliss, when a walk through the trees on your street carries the intensity of the first time, or the last? Is such a thing even possible? I remembered two moments from the film Harvey with James Stewart and had to see them again. Besides watching one of our greatest film actors melt into a role, Jimmy Stewart manufactured a kingdom moment, a kingdom character, right before our eyes–and in this scene tells how he never has time anymore because he’s so busy sitting with friends and listening to their big hurts and even bigger dreams and warming himself in all those “golden moments.” Again, from my friend’s email: “I love people and love to share experiences. Some psychologist may say I am insecure or co-dependent–I don’t know and really don’t care. I just feel like if you paint a beautiful picture or make a movie and no one ever sees it, what’s the point?”
What is the point? We fall in love with our film stars because they repeatedly take us where we’ve never gone ourselves or show us where we’ve already been with style and a soundtrack. At their best, speaking the words of equally gifted writers, they open windows to emotions and perspectives and circumstances that we find hard to access on our own. If we can use those golden moments recorded on film or in an email to recognize and embrace our own golden moments when they arrive, that’s a point. And if instead of merely waiting for our golden, kingdom moments to arrive, we learn to move out and meet them, to “manufacture” them to the beat of our own internal soundtrack, that’s an even bigger point. Our moments are up to us. We decide which moments are golden. There is no kingdom moment apart from our decision to make it so. And if we never connect the dots from our life to another–whether real, written, or recorded…there is no point.