I was raised by television. Without much in the way of parenting, no sense of a home life, and very little image of a traditional family should look like, the lines between my reality and the lives of the Cleavers, Bradys, and even Munsters blurred. I remember one time how I fondly reflected on a trip to Hawaii with my family only to realize that it was the Bradys that went there and not the Schrollers. The benefit of this was that I started to find life, meaning, and story in the media I was processing life through. More than most I suppose, I tend to find imagery, clarity, and significance in the handiwork of the "giants of culture", film makers. It can get real "noisy" trying to watch a movie when story, significance, and application are jumping off the screen. I am often brought to tears by stuff I view that doesn't really seem to resonate with anyone else. Upon further inspection, however, deep meaning for me is found in the story.
I saw a trailer to a movie "We Bought a Zoo" last Fall:
So, what does the trailer say?
ATTEMPT TO START OVER
DO SOMETHING CRAZY
EMBRACE YOUR WILD SIDE
How could that not lure you into the theatre? My wife, our three eldest kids, and I, all went to see it opening weekend during the holidays. All of us were brought to tears and I couldn't have told your completely why. (Okay, I am a geek about these things, I had a pretty good idea why.) But upon further inspection, it became glaringly clear.
Benjamin Mee is trapped. A recent tragedy has him paralyzed and he is way over his head trying to be both a mom and dad to his young daughter and teenage son...especially his teenage son. They are all in a rut and the sadness of his son has started to manifest itself in some pretty dark ways. Benjamin is walking dead and desperately needs something to shake his slumber. That is where the zoo comes in.
Now, I might be a bit jaded, but I feel like we are living life fairly alive. Compared to the crawl we lived in a few years ago, it looks a lot more like warp speed. My wife and I happened to get several viewings of this movie on an Ipad and some extensive plane flights recently. Within about three days last week, she texted and told me two things:
"Life can't look like this a year from now."
"Praying for what our zoo is."
I have a core desire for adventure and between the wild ride of my business as ministry adventure and the manifestation of men's ministry in my life, both one on one and in leading men's weekends, I am pretty much finding it. She is obviously not. The good news is that one of her core desires isn't "adventure". The bad news is that one of her core desires is "to have an irreplaceable role in my adventure".
It would be far easier to burden her with figuring her own deal out, but this actually requires something of me. It calls my headship of the family and our marriage into question. I need to chart adventure for her and my kids and invite them up into a larger story imperative for their lives. My adventures need to be crafted in such a way as to woo her into them.
My wife is praying for our "zoo" and so am I. I am going to find what it is. The same Father who set those core desires in each of us, the Author of our lives, desperately wants us to know what that is as well. We simply need to be still and quiet enough to hear and then have the courage to follow the opportunity He visions for us.
(Need some additional clarity on this issue? Read Ch. 9, 'How Jason Saved His Family" of Donald Miller's "A Million Miles in a Thousand Years")