• The weird thing is, I’ve never liked U2. From the few short clips I’d seen, Bono seemed arrogant and intentionally obtuse. Pictures of U2 concerts felt too big and too flashy to be sincere. I didn’t like how u […]

    • Whew. This really spoke to me this morning. Thanks for these thoughts; I’ve has a similar journey with Bono.

    • I was a U2 from 1999 to 2015 – probably to an unhealthy level. I studied the music, analyzed the lyrics, found the touchstones of those lyrics in Scripture, memorized The Edge’s gear settings (down to how many milleseconds of delay for most of their songs – Streets? 354. Bad? About 437 for the main delay – there’s a second in series . . . and on and on . . .). I loved going to their shows, and I attended them all over the U.S: Chicago, Atlanta, Denver, Nashville, Had tickets to Hawaii before Edge’s daughter got sick and they cancelled). I bought the books on Bono’s faith . . . I collected pastors’ sermon notes that incorporated U2’s lyrics. I did it all, even though I didn’t always agree with the more pronounced of U2’s political views.

      Then, in 2015, while at one of their Chicago shows at the United Center. That all came to a a screeching halt.

      Instead of U2 bending toward using their music to echo the Gospel (if not directly preach it), they took a huge negative turn and decided to trade truth for “love” (or, rather, what they perceived “love” to be). Right there, in the middle of the concert during “Pride” (a song that depicts Christ’s persecution and resurrection through the lyrics “One Man caught on a barbed wire fence / One Man he resist/ one man washed up on an empty beach/ one man betrayed with a kiss”) , Bono took a rainbow flag from someone in the crowd, wrapped himself in it, and declared to the audience “Gay Pride In the Name of Love”. Then, at the end of ‘Beautiful Day’, he pontificated that “[Ireland] did something very important . . . more people turned out to vote for marriage (sic) equality than turned out for anything before . . . This song goes out to . . . two beautiful girls who made their vows here in Chicago . . . this is for you.” He then went on to declare that if love wasn’t equal for all kinds of relationships, it wasn’t actually love.

      It broke my heart. Corruptio Optima Pessima.

    • @Rockne,

      Thanks for the comment. That’s a fair protest. But we can also disagree with Bono (and anyone else) on any number of things and still appreciate and laud them when they tell the truth well. Bono loves Christ and we agree on much more than we may disagree. That’s what we’re choosing to focus on here.

    • I’m a little late to this conversation, but I just came across this 8 minute clip from NPR’s American Anthem series, where they take an iconic American song and analyze it, along with its social and cultural impact on the country: https://www.npr.org/2019/07/26/743620996/u2-i-still-havent-found-what-im-looking-for-american-anthem.

  • I wrote this post before starting to read Mark Meynell’s book A Wilderness of Mirrors. Now I wish I had another six months to process what I’m learning so that I could integrate his wisdom here. After reading his […]

    • Phew! Wow! Amen!
      Thank you for this immensely strengthening and encouraging post Rebecca!
      It speaks so deeply into the world/culture/relationships is which I find myself these days.
      It provokes me to a similar response as Paul – to simply worship – the author who loved us and gave himself for us.

    • You just explained deconstructionism, recent evangelical history, and Ephesians 3 in a clear, helpful, and entertaining fashion – using Zelda. I formally invite you to write more books.

  • I remember what it was like to want a baby.

    I remember how it felt to walk through the grocery store
    watching others dispose so recklessly
    of everything I ached to be.

    I remember mothers
    (or so-called […]

    • I have blessed with two little boys who call me “Mommy.” But this year on Mother’s Day, I thought about all of my students (I work with struggling readers in middle school) and the ways I have mothered them, long before I held a baby. This year I got a note from a girl thanking me for being “the mother she never had.” And it reminded me that I am accountable as a mother to so many, not just two little boys.

    • 😭😭😭
      This is beautiful.

  • If you haven’t seen Endgame, stop reading now. I’ll try not to post any spoilers until I get a few paragraphs deep, but I am eventually going to drop a few. Consider yourselves forewarned.

    So, I loved End […]

    • My goodness. Thank you, RR.

    • RR, by which I mean, “Rebecca Reynolds.” And, come to think of it, “The Rabbit Room,” too.

    • Saying “well said” is a massive understatement. Thank you for pointing out how we as a human race elevate our virtue as an end in and of itself, but God is still on the throne and He alone is worthy. Thanos of the story doesn’t represent our Lord, but is more of a representation of our own self righteousness paired with power.

    • I have chills. And I feel like I just read holy ground, if such a thing is possible. Thank you for writing and sharing this, Rebecca!

    • When you called Shazam one of your all time favorite superhero movies, I almost stopped reading! But I’m so glad I knew you well enough to read on.
      Thank you for diving deeper and being unsatisfied with less. Keep sharing! You are doing better and better at capturing the deep. For those of us who sense it but cannot put words to it, you are a great blessing.

    • Oh. I want to print out a stack of this and hand it out to everyone leaving a showing of Endgame. That a movie based on comic books can call forth something like this, I will be forever grateful.

    • “…who spread a glove full of Infinity stones wide and allowed humanity drive a hard stake right through it.” That is the crux. Well put. Much the same point as is fleshed out in “The Long Silence.”

    • My goodness, how did you put that so clearly?! Yes, yes, yes. Yes. God is the power of Thanos (only more) and the heart of the Avengers (only better). Thank you a lot.

  • Jonathan Rogers was one of my favorite writers long before I received his writing help through an early online class. When looking for a coach for Courage Dear Heart, I knew he would be clear and solid. I’m so t […]

    • Really excellent post, thank you. While I don’t necessarily consider myself a writer, I read The Habit every week and love the grace, wit, and gentle instruction that is reflected in every word.
      And I’m just waiting for a book all about alligators.

    • the first comment was posted an hour into the future. at least for me… spooky… great post, love jonathan rogers. not very many authors talk about the importance of correct grammar they kind of just expect other writers to have it. not him. can’t wait to see what he has for us..
      but I will probably just check out the free stuff. I’m not in the whole full time job thing yet.

    • That’s a wonderful interview, thanks to BOTH heartbreakingly-brilliant writers. It goes a long way to showing why we all politely ignore the alligator thing: Jonathan is just giving so much of himself to the writing community. (Peter Bannister, though…I’ll have to pray through that one.)
      I would encourage anyone to come join us at the stately pleasure-dome. The caverns of knowledge aren’t quite measureless but are already extensive, and Jonathan’s tirelessly adding to them.

    • Aaron Roughton is a proud Three Percenter.

    • Who’s there?

    • Loved this interview! I have gotten so much from The Habit and now Field Notes. Both feel like real gift. Grateful for Jonathan’s generosity!

  • My husband is a crier in movies; I am not. Occasionally something will tug out a tear or two, but it’s rare. And weeping? Unheard of.
    Confession: I was a blubbering mess by the end of Mary Poppins R […]

    • Absolutely. This movie broke me in a Hutchmoot kinda way. My breaking was thorough and deep and can’t be summed into words, but you have come incredibly close.

    • Jennifer, this is such a gorgeous piece. I read it once for the wisdom, but I’ll read it again and again for the excellence of your craft. Beautiful work–thank you.

    • In “School of Rock,” an exceedingly lazy and self-indulgent Dewey Finn announces (from his bed), “I serve society by rocking.” But Springsteen has convinced my that he actually does serve society by rocking. And you, Jennifer, serve society by writing brilliant and insightful things. Thanks so much for this. I haven’t yet seen the Mary Poppins movie, but your remarks on the Springsteen movie put into words some ideas that I couldn’t quite get my head around. Also, thank you for not making a list of people you have witnessed crying during the Springsteen movie.

    • thanks for the great outlook on Mary Poppins. I actually watched Mary Poppins Returns because I was with another family. I’m 14 years old, so those kind of movies don’t look like the most exiting. but I was surprised how much I enjoyed it, and this piece of writing helped me realize that I enjoyed just being the little kid not having to worry about adult life just yet. thank you!

    • I’ve been waiting for this! Thank you for your words.

    • Jennifer Trafton, ladies and gentlemen.

    • A wonderful essay on Mary Poppins Returns AND Bruce Springsteen?! Miracles do happen. Thank you Jennifer, this was wonderful.

    • Reminded also of the line in the opening number: “Hold on tight to those you love, and maybe soon from up above, you’ll be blessed so keep on looking high, while you’re underneath the lovely London sky.”

    • Jennifer. Yes. Thank you for giving language to my now-illumined weeping throughout the film. Mary Poppins is the guide, not the hero, and my soul-who-feels-a-little-lost-these-days needed her.

    • “Maranatha.” Yes. I read this over two days, soaking it in and storing it up, ending with hope and tears. Thank you.

    • This idea of the childlike wonder propelling us forward into freedom instead of backwards into nostalgia – this synyhesizes so many questions that have been rattling in my head for the past few weeks. Thank you. Thank you for using the pure joy of Mary Poppins to fuel our hope.

    • Beautiful piece and insight. My heart follows the bread crumb trail you described too. I loved the film, and now I have a better way of describing why. After all, we are all just a boy in the woods, always looking for the fawn – Come Back Soon and make us new again Lord Jesus

    • Emelie Thomas: The speech/essay is called “Only Connect” and I found it a long time ago in a collection of essays, ONLY CONNECT: READINGS IN CHILDREN’S LITERATURE, which I think may be out of print? I’m sorry, it may be hard to track down now!

    • Natalie, thank you for your comment! I’m so glad you enjoyed the movie as much as I did, and glad my review was able to express some of the things you’ve been feeling. Gosh, I remember being exactly where you are right now, teetering on the edge of being all grown-up, full of big dreams and even bigger fears. Your dreams will inevitably change and grow, and some will fade and that’s okay, but I pray that you will never lose your capacity for dreaming.

      I do want to clarify one small thing for you and any others reading: I wasn’t referring to the Rapture at the end, which I actually don’t believe is a biblical doctrine, but that’s not important at the moment. I DID, however, hope to point gently toward Jesus’ return to live with us on a new, remade earth. Remember in the movie, how, AFTER they’re flying together, they come down again and go back into their old, familiar house–yet somehow it is new now, a fresh start, a home reborn, in a sense. That’s a tiny, imperfect glimmer of what I believe it will be like when God remakes and redeems this world and comes to dwell among us here. (Except he’ll be going through the door with us, unlike Mary Poppins at the end.) Have you ever read N. T. Wright’s book SURPRISED BY HOPE? It expresses these things beautifully. You should check it out!

    • Jennifer, this is beautiful. I am thrilled at the thought of Jesus swinging the door open for me– further up, further in! Thank you for the joy and freedom you just offered me with your words! This reminded me of a L’Engle quote: “And what is real? Does the work of art have a reality beyond that of the artist’s vision…?If the artist is the servant of the work, if each work of art, great or small, is the result of an annunciation, then it does…The flight of stairs up which George MacDonald’s princess had to climb would be there whether or not MacDonald had ever written The Princess and the Goblin.”

    • Jennifer, thank you for your reply! I do realize that the Rapture is not a universally accepted doctrine, and I’m not entirely sure what I think about it myself! But the scene with the balloons did remind me of the verse, ‘we… shall be caught up together with Him in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air,’ regardless of how exactly that’s interpreted! And yes… what you intended to communicate is what came across the strongest. What “got” me the most was that idea of meeting Jesus, having never seen Him face-to-face but having known Him and walked with Him by His Spirit. And oh how wonderful to think that He will stay with us, instead of leaving again like Mary Poppins or Aslan or Gandalf and the elves!

    • Beautiful, Jennifer. Thank you! Those Moltmann quotes went straight into my journal. ❤️

    • I can’t stop crying at reading this. I have not watched the movie yet, but I’ll have too now. I have my movies that did not get rave critic reviews such as Speed Racer that for some reason I keep going back to because it has something that just clicks with me buried in it. Maybe it’s the way the actors sold the roles that in all essence should be canned and corny. The people screaming “Go Speed Racer” at the end has this over the top outright silliness and yet somehow embodies the whole point that sometimes someone does something so great in the face of extreme corruption that it’s beautful and our insides are exploding with wonder. Who more so than Christ who reversed our state of corruption and death. I completely understand your expression of America as a cigarette butt, and often our art shows it and yet tries to transcend it. Finally I now can unashamedly say why I like fiction more than non. It’s nothing against non and certainly nothing against theological books that are so helpful, but I’m drawn to that imagination. The theological concepts in Auralia’s Colors Saga just strike me down with their force more than simply logically hearing them ever can and I love those books for them.

  • Rebekah Ackerman changed their profile picture 2 years, 3 months ago

  • In an early chapter of Henry and the Chalk Dragon, La Muncha Elementary School receives a visit from two mysterious people whom Henry hears referred to as “Bored Members” and who walk around in dark suits and […]

    • Thank you for this beautiful reminder of the power and joy of creativity. You describe the potential of the imagination so well, in its practical, real-world usefulness of innovation as well as transcendent beauty. In my stressed, sleep-deprived high school years, short stories were my incentive to keep studying; I would escape into one just long enough to remember how to think before plunging back into a textbook. Now, in my practical, real-world technical writing job, I’m discovering that stories are one of the best ways to guide people through complex processes. Art reawakens our joy and reveals endless possibilities.

    • This has been a great reminder to me as a mom to allow my children to play and learn through play.  I notice when I sit back an relax (and let them use that entire roll of tape) something magical can happen, even it is that they discover that the materials they taped together are not the best for constructing a robot. I liked when Ken Robinson said “Kids aren’t afraid of being wrong.”  I would like to learn from that!  Thank you for this wonderful post!

    • Three cheers for this!

  • I grew up in a home with scientists, so when a parent would ask me to run and get a container of Cool Whip out of the chest freezer, finding the right tub would usually take three or four tries. I might find owl […]

    • I snort-laughed my way through this. From one nerdy-girl 40-something mom in Land’s End sweatpants to another, I salute you.


    • I wish I didn’t have any “Let’s eat that turtle” stories.

  • I was fourteen, walking into the gym for my first day of high school summer basketball camp. Switching from a small, Catholic middle school to a huge county high school was terrifying, so the night before I had […]

    • “Mass felt like wandering into Lothlorien…”

      Having grown up with the Roman Catholic liturgy, that’s the very thing I miss after two decades of “contemporary” worship in Protestant churches.

    • Beautiful.

    • I read this last night and before I even had a chance to process it, I fell back on my bed and thought, “God, thank you for Rebecca Reynolds.” All three parts of “You Holy Fools” have held so much meaning for me and everyone I’ve shared them with.

    • When I finished reading this last night, the first thing I did was fall back on my bed and think, “God, thank you for Rebecca Reynolds.” The “You Holy Fools” essays have held so much meaning for me and everyone I’ve shared them with.

    • I’m so encouraged! You put words to thoughts that have been in my head for years. Thank you.

  • Let me say right off the bat that this post is full of spoilers. It oozes spoilers. Spoilaphobic reader, beware. I want to talk about La La Land and that perplexing, polarizing, absolutely perfect ending.

    To […]

    • I also walked away thinking about Once, and the sacrifice of real love vs. more surface-y romance. (Also, I was incredibly relieved that Mia didn’t abandon her real life in the end. I was nervous about that.) I love how you’ve described the movie, which clearly flows out of a Jennifer Trafton-specific vision. Keep creating, gal! So glad that you and Pete have each other in the cheering section. What a great partnership.

    • [stands and applauds in front of computer screen]

      YES. 100%. This is absolutely what I tried to articulate to friends who didn’t love the movie the same way I did. Thanks for writing something that I can send to them to say “See? This is what I meant!” (And thanks for pointing out the similarities with “Once” – I have similar feels about both films but hadn’t connected them until reading this.)

    • @sallyz I think that’s a fair point. The movie does ask us to make a leap of trust at the end, in that we have to assume that in those 5 years there has been a lot of water under the bridge that we don’t know about. I didn’t have any trouble assuming that life could have taken them in different directions, and that there were good reasons for them not ending up married. But I can understand that the gap in our knowledge of those events left many people unsatisfied. Also, though, I do think it would be hard to make a movie in which EVERYTHING went right for those characters (romance, career, etc.) and it still feel believable and true for an audience. I count myself very lucky to have a husband who shares my vocational path and is my champion in that way. But I don’t think that this is the only kind of happy ending. Partly that may be because I was single for so long, and had other people show me love and encouragement, and feel protective of those who do not end up with that particular dream but whose joy is fulfilled in other ways.

    • @jennifert, yes. What you just said. I think that the fact that the story didn’t wrap up with a match between the two main characters made it more encouraging to me. It can feel kind of alienating when all happy endings are the romantic kind, but that’s not the kind of story that your own life has turned out to be, at least to this point. I do like a good romantic story. But I also have a special appreciation for stories that celebrate other loves and other important relationships. Both are valuable, but you don’t see as many good examples of the latter.

    • [Just popped back in to read other comments and saw that in my own comment I typed “I have similar feels about both films” and was appalled. I meant to type “feelings.” Obvi.]

    • Jennifer, this is wonderful! I loved the movie, too, and thought the final dream sequence and especially the parting smile were perfect. The smile said they had made peace with their choices and the dream sequence felt a little like Seb’s lament for what might have been. I’ve only seen it once, though, so I had not noticed the detail about Seb not being at the piano. That throws a wrench in the spokes. Otherwise, his slow, thoughtful entrance into the piece,  his expression at the end, etc seemed like his way of honoring the things that were not. Culturally, we don’t have much frame of reference for acknowledging the beautiful-thing-that-is-not, grieving it, then walking away into the good-that-is. Maybe that’s part of the reason for the negative reaction.

    • Everyone that I’ve met and/or seen this film with loves it (except one), which gives me hope. As a granddaughter of a jazz musician and one who grew up on both classic and modern musicals, I adore this movie and the creative and fresh way its director chose to tell an emotional story.

    • For weeks I had pondered submitting a review of La La Land — which I also loved and the ending of which I also thought was perfect. That look between the leading characters at the movie’s end was utterly beautiful. In both conception and performance it said so much: a picture worth a million words of exposition on romantic sehnsucht in this world.

      But your review is far better than the one I’d started sketching. The idea of La La Land as a midrash on the classic musicals: brilliant. That statement packs pretty much the entirety of what my review would have been into a few words. And then you took that one insight out and traded with it. Amazing thinking and writing.

    • Bravo, Jennifer! This is perfect. The rest of you guys don’t know this, but after all the arguments I got in over the ending of this film I decided to channel all that heat into a post called, “The Ending is the Hardest Part.” I wrote a paragraph or two and decided to come back to it later. Little did I know that Jennifer had also started a post about La La Land, so I happily bowed out. I’m glad I did, because she articulated so many of my feels (looking at you, @Laura) better than I ever could have.

      It’s true that we all bring our particular lenses to every film, but I will argue forever that the ending of this story is happy, and more than that it’s a  wiser, truer picture of love between Mia and her husband than whatever might have happened with Seb. The Mia/Seb thing would never have worked. The fact that they got in one fight and then decided outside the observatory to put things on hold, not to mention the fact that five years went by without any contact (five years! That’s long enough to have gotten a college degree, for crying out loud!), is a pretty huge clue that what they had was a beautiful summer fling, not the stuff of true, self-sacrificial, and lasting love. When their eyes first met in the club they both felt the grief of the choice they had made, imagined what might have been, and then shared the acknowledgement that, while the dream is nice, they’re grateful for where they are–Seb with his passion for jazz spilling out on the people in the club, Mia with a kind husband and daughter, not to mention a career.

      One fun little side note that I loved: Mia’s husband was played by Tom Everett Scott, the same guy who played the drummer in That Thing You Do. Remember the ending of that movie? Guy “Shades” Patterson was the one guy in the band who loved music for its own sake, and after the Wonders broke up, he got to sit around the studio playing jazz with his heroes. Not a coincidence. I almost wish the timeline worked out that he was meant to actually be the same guy, but he would be about seventy.

    • This is wonderful, Jennifer. Frankly, I was surprised by how much I loved it. I’m not typically a fan of musicals (with the notable exception of Newsies) but, as you said so well, La La Land is quite different. And that ending was perfect.

      I also appreciated seeing Shades at the end. Way back in the day, I was working as a movie projectionist when TTYD came out. Must’ve watched it (or fragments of it) 100 times during that run. Shades is my favorite.

    • This is fantastic, Jennifer. Very well said.

    • Soooooo good, Jennifer! I’m really confused by people not liking the ending, but maybe it is like Helena said… “Culturally, we don’t have much frame of reference for acknowledging the beautiful-thing-that-is-not, grieving it, then walking away into the good-that-is.” What a great thought.

      The first time I saw it, I thought it was pretty okay, and then the ending made it better. Then we listened to the soundtrack a lot and went to see it again and loved it so much more. The second time was when I noticed that in the whole dream sequence, the key thing that was missing was that Seb didn’t achieve his jazz club dream. (I’m glad you mentioned that. Totally didn’t notice though that Mia had a son instead of a daughter.) That little detail leaves me interpreting the scene as Mia’s dream sequence, that she’s imagining a future where she got the guy and her acting career, then accepting the goodness of the paths their individual lives took. This is a happy ending, and it feels true.

      @andrew, my brain just asploded. That Thing You Do is one of my favorites! But I’m really bad at recognizing actors. How delightful.

    • I’m like Seb and this movie just hurts too much. My dreams have come true. I am a successful artist and I follow my passion with freedom. But “freedom’s just another word for nothin’ left to loose”. I can’t help but fear that I’ve chosen art over love. Maybe it’s a false dichotomy, but that’s how it feels.

    • Thank you Jennifer. I really appreciate your words. They are empowering and hopeful. I certainly see the movie differently now. The fact that I had a strong emotional reaction and lots to think about speaks well for the movie. The other movie that has made me think about this theme for years is Mr. Holland’s Opus. Was that a gut-wrencher for anyone else? It came up with a different answer, but still left me contending with the tension.

    • @meglet I lived too many years in the raw ache you describe to cheapen it with a simple answer. Let me just say that I see two opposite tragedies. One tragedy is if someone is so obsessed with following a career path that they deliberately and repeatedly close themselves off to the possibility of relationships (not just romantic ones). I don’t *think* that was Seb’s problem (but we don’t know about those missing 5 years). But the opposite tragedy is if someone settles for a second-best kind of happiness by gutting their own identity and calling for the sake of *any* romantic relationship, rather than be alone. If you took art out of your life entirely, would you still be yourself? Or is it (like Seb’s love of jazz) so integral to who you are that you could not be Meg if you weren’t an artist (successful or not)? If that is the case, then I believe that the best partner for you is the one you meet while walking faithfully in the path of your calling, not the ones you might be able to settle for if you watered down the person God made you to be.

      I know that does not help the loneliness of the in-between time, especially when there is no guarantee, for any of us, that the love we need will be met by a single person. I’m not one of those who talks about a “gift of singleness.” I think grief over the lack of a spouse is as legitimate as grief over the loss of a spouse. But I also cannot believe the Hollywood lie that a romantic ending is the only happy ending. Joy and love come in many, many forms.

    • This is an outstanding reflection, @jennifert.

      When my wife and I went to see the film, I walked out of the theater thinking, “Yes—that’s the way this story needed to end. After so much struggle, Seb and Mia got what they wanted but they didn’t get each other.” I felt it would have been contrived and trite to see them together—in other words, too Hollywood. And yet the conclusion is heartrending at the same time. It rattled around in my mind for days afterward.

    • Wow, after last night’s mishap at the oscars (which i did not even watch, rather read in a news article this morning) and after all the tons of posts on FB… I wanted to know more about this movie and, I happened upon this blog. Lucky me! Because I might never have ever seen this movie (as of right now, I haven’t seen it) despite my deep love for musicals. I am so glad you wrote about this–and because you did, I’m off to see this movie the very next chance I get because everything you wrote means I will LOVE this movie!

    • Jennifer, you nailed the heart of the movie. I related to La La Land a lot, having grown up in Southern California wanting to be a bluegrass banjo/guitar player and having many people try to talk me out of it. “No one plays banjo! Why don’t you play something else?” “How will you ever own a home or raise a family?” It has been a life of joys, disappointments, fear, faith, ups, downs, all along the way. I wouldn’t trade it.

    • Thank you Jennifer, for such an apt enveloping of what this movie portrays, imbues, and might teach us.

      I went to see it after having read your post – a movie I would otherwise have never watched – and it touched, and encouraged, and affirmed me on many levels – both in my relational life, and in my creative/artistic life.

      Thank you for your insightful guidance to this movie-watching novice!

    • Jennifer, thank you (!) for opening up to me a way to approach, ponder, and receive this movie about art, vocation, and real life.

      Becsuse of your post, I went and saw a movie I would never have watched otherwise.

      As a result, my life is richer and fuller in many ways – creatively, relationally, conceptually.

      Thank you for being faithful to your gift – which enables us to increase in scope, and faithfulness, to our gifts

    • @markdproctor This is a great question, and I’m beginning to think (after all the discussion about this) that I might need to write a follow-up post about these further questions of vocation. But a quick reply for now: as I said in the post, if Seb and Mia had been married (and certainly if they had kids) the issue and my response to it would be entirely different. It’s been 20 years since I’ve seen Mr. Holland’s Opus and my memory is vague, but I recall that the fact that he’s a father (of a special needs child, no less) puts a much more complicated spin on the question than what La La Land is dealing with. So I think maybe they’re apples and oranges – but both excellent films that address the question of calling from different angles. And both, again in different ways, also illustrate the Wendell Berry quote, “We live the given life, but not the planned.”

    • Yes, I agree, Jennifer.  The more I wrestle with it, the Wendell Berry quote seems to point to what our calling is- the given life.  Since the given life is so large and such a mystery, that does look different for different people.  Thanks again 🙂

    • oops! pardon me! correction necessary – that would be Chapter 19 in Eugene’s bio “The Pastor”

    • I’m late to this party. But I just wanted to say thank you for writing this. You encapsulated everything I thought (and loved!!) about this film. I sat in the darkened theater, watching Mia sing about the fools who dream, and the tears just would not stop streaming down my face. And you perfectly explained why. Well done.

    • I couldn’t figure out why I loved this movie so much. I knew it spoke to me on a deeper level, but I just couldn’t place what or where. And your post brought me to (happy) tears, because it voiced exactly what I had felt about La La Land. Thank you for putting your thoughts out here!

    • That was perfect.

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