I wept as I saw short-sighted, impatient adults who just couldn’t have mercy on this hurting, awkward kid. I wept as I considered all the time when, in the whirl and bustle of our lives, I am diligent to maintain discipline and order (as is absent in this family often), but I am too often a failure at showing mercy and just letting some things go. I could feel myself saying, “Lord have mercy on me, a sinner.”Russell Moore
More than anything, I was personally struck by the ongoing motif of pictures and images. Throughout the movie, in both clear and subtle ways, the moviemakers seemed to be arguing that the meaning of life is simply a collection of snapshots. The boy we follow, Mason, has a deep love for photography. In a more subtle way, the viewer is presented with snapshot after snapshot of Mason’s life with very little transition. In just a moment, he grows and changes.
As I watched, I couldn’t help but think that this is too often how we can think of our own lives. Just a collection of memories that we build along the way, with the little details fading away. “Remember that time?” we say as we begin to think back and tell another story of glory days gone by.
Despair can easily creep in when the opportunities for better pictures begins to fade. Many people seek to subdue the nagging suspicions that life is just a series of snapshots by filling their lives with as many grand moments they can. They
In one particularly moving scene, Mason’s Mom weeps as she sees her son excitedly preparing to leave the house to go to college — one of the final snapshots we see.
“You know what I’m realizing? My life is just going to go,” she says. “Like that. This series of milestones. Getting married. Having kids. Getting divorced. The time that we thought you were dyslexic. When I taught you how to ride a bike. Getting divorced… again. Getting my masters degree. Finally getting the job I wanted. Sending Samantha off to college. Sending you off to college. You know what’s next? Huh? It’s my funeral!”
How easy it would be to find ourselves in the same place — our hope placed in the moments we are creating. What do we do when those moments are gone? I heard in Mason’s Mom’s words the echoes of Ecclesiastes 1:2, “Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity.”
As Christians we know our lives aren’t just a series of photos and memories. When we see that the collection of snapshots and photos is a part of the Grand Story — the ultimate photobook if you will — our life takes on so much more meaning. When we see ourselves as part of God’s Story, the story of grace, redemption, and restoration, our lives have a true meaning. Without the reality of eternity and the New Kingdom, we have nothing.
Yet with the Gospel, we have everything.
As with any movie, I highly recommend reading a review prior to viewing to decide if this is something you want to watch yourself.