Two weeks ago I had a bit of ‘me’ time and I had to choose between reading a book or watching a movie. I looked at the books I had to catch up on and the movie seemed the least engaging option. This was some free time I didn’t want to spend on anything that involved ‘brain juice’… I hope there is someone out there who feels like that sometimes?… please say yes!
I am usually a crime/detective/legal genre fan, but on that day I made a beeline for the ‘comedy’ section of my Netflix account. I only had two hours to spare so when I stumbled on Eddie Murphy’s ‘ ‘A thousand Words’, I ignored the really low movie ratings and clicked to watch… I figured if it was that horrible then maybe I could catch a quick snooze…
I didn’t fall asleep. This is not a movie review so I will spare you the details. It is about a small lesson I learnt from the film storyline. I am not great at giving film synopsis’ so here goes…
The film is centred around a successful book agent (Eddie Murphy) who says whatever it takes to close a deal…and Boy! does he talk… (he had a bit of a natter stored in him). But after stretching the truth with a ‘spiritual guru’ of the Buddhist genre in a bid to sign the man to a book deal, he suddenly found his life was dependent on a magical tree with 1,000 leaves…one for every word he has left. Once the tree is without leaves, the character dies. The rest of the film is about how he tries to stop talking and conjure up some outrageous ways to communicate or he is a dead man. As he approaches the end of His life with only some twenty or so words left, he figures out the most important people in his life and makes his words to them count…
As I watched the film I wondered what I would do differently in my life if I found I only had a thousand words left. My first thought was ‘I have a lot of people who I know who genuinely love and care about me – there isn’t enough words to go round’ 🙂
Did I mention that written words count as well?
Yes, when the character tried to leave a note, the leaves fell off with each word he wrote. And you know how we just taaaalk so fast without thinking when we are angry? well imagine how fast the leaves were falling with every ‘hmm’, ‘err’ , ‘oh’ and so on. I quickly concluded I simply wouldn’t be able to connect with all the people in my life.
Who would make it on that shortlist? What would I say to them? If someone offended me, would it be worth spending out of my words to get angry, rant or give them some ‘feedback’?
How many days could I drag out of a thousand words? My sons are still very young – what words would I say to them that would stay with them long after I have gone?
What would I say to my dear husband? I am a bit of a worrier/perfectionist and when our son was younger and he took two weeks off so I could go back to work earlier, I left him an instruction list was ran into pages 🙂 … what would I say to encourage, instruct if I was going away forever?
Or would I just shut up forever and never say a word just so I could be alive with all those people ?
Will I practise denial and hope to wait for the last few words left before saying what I really mean or want to? – I can tell you right away, that never works. The last time I was with my dad, he was in the hospice and I felt a strong urge to sing him one of his favourite hymns and say ‘I love you’ to him before we left, but my husband and my mum were standing close by and he was asleep so I wussed out and told myself I would do it when I visited the next day…my dad passed away that night without any of us by his bedside. I was told he passed peacefully. The pain and sorrow of not saying those words when I had a chance leaves me with a deep regret and guilt that only someone who has experienced it can fathom.
As you can imagine from all my questions, it made me a take a long hard look at myself, my life and my priorities. When the rubber hits the road… what would I choose to do?
What would you choose to do?
I was still in my ‘thousand words moment’ when I started thinking about Lent. Instead of the traditional practice of giving up something for the 40 days leading up to Easter, I decided to ‘take on’ something instead.
If you are wondering exactly how long/much 1000 words is, It takes a slow reader about 5 minutes to read a thousand words and for me about 2min 40secs 🙂 . My plan/challenge is : every day I will set aside just five minutes to write a note/email to someone in my life. It might be an email telling them something I appreciate about them. Or maybe a note sharing a funny or treasured memory I had with them. It might be a message to someone offering to be a listening ear if they need someone to talk to. On another day it could be a text message letting them know how much I love them but how seldom I tell them so.
This scripture will be my ‘guide’ through this season…
Phil2:3-5 “do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves, do not merely look our for your own interests, but also for the interests of others, have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus.
You are probably already doing something for Lent but you are welcome to join me on the thousand words challenge or pop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will add you to the group. It would be nice if we could be accountable together and encourage one another to take one day, one note, one five-minute at a time to make our lives ( and that of others) a love-filled one.
Rest! In His Provision