Sometimes I watch a movie and encounter a scene and immediately I know that what I am beholding is changing the course of my life somehow.
It’s not that the scene itself is always epic, but that something larger than the story of the movie or moment is calling me to me, some much larger reality. These are the scenes that make my jaw drop or sometimes my throat get tight and tears well up.
One such scene impacted me in such as way was this one from Walk the Line.
Take a look:
As someone who grew up in church culture, I found this scene to reveal some greater realities I’d experienced growing up and unwittingly had continued to experience.
I’d never been able to really put my finger on it, but most of what I saw and experienced around me appeared as inauthentic, repetition of platitudes and statements of others. Just lifeless religion; people living a life that was different than their confession of life.
I and most around me seemed to be living a life of compromised identity. Each acquiescing to conformity instead of celebrating our uniqueness as the handiwork of our Creator.
Was this really it? Was this the “living water” that Jesus spoke of? It didn’t see very living. It seemed like everyone was just trying to convince themselves that it was.
It was these words of the record producer challenging Johnny that cut right to the marrow of my own soul and shined a light in the fog that had settled in my mind:
“If you was hit by a truck and you was lying out in that gutter dying and you had time to sing one song… huh? One song to sing before people would remember before you’re dirt.
One song that would let God know what you felt about your time here on Earth. One song that would sum you up, you telling me that’s the song you’d sing? That same Jimmy Davis tune we hear on the radio, all day about your… “peace within” and “how it’s real” how you’re “gonna shout it”, or, would you sing something different? Something real. Something YOU felt?
Because I’m telling you right now, that’s the kinda song people wanna hear. That’s the kinda song that truly saves people. It aint got nothing to do with believing in God Mr. Cash, It has to do with believing in yourself”Sam Phillips – Walk the Line
Sam Phillips sees right through Johnny’s focus on playing it safe on his way to trying to live out his passion and calls him out of conformity and dullness. He calls him out of his safety and resignation to the mundane then upward into being his authentic self. Then he explains to Johnny that his greatness would be found by being his authentic self.
Johnny goes on to sing Sam Phillips “Folsom Prison Blues”, becomes a hit, and produces music that would influence millions.
Behind Sam Phillip’s remarks to Johnny, were upward calling for me to what would become for me a central truth in life; that my Creator is most pleased and honored by me when I sing the song that I was made to sing, the song I’d sing with my last breath – that’s my true song, the one I are meant to sing and the song the world needs me to sing.
When I sing what everyone else is singing, I’m settling for much less than my potential greatness. It isn’t a belief in God problem, it’s a belief in self problem – in particular, the significance of self.
Believing myself to be insignificant does not honor my Creator and it doesn’t sell. No one wants to hear my repetition of trite platitudes, they want to hear my song – and yours!
My song has become to tell others of their intrinsic, immutable, immense value, and their significance has a purpose. I was born for this and will sing it in the gutter when I breath my last breath.
What’s yours song? (tell me in the comments below).