I watched it finally. The Fault in our Stars. Good thing I was interrupted a few times otherwise, I would’ve been sucked in farther and taken to a place of uncontrollable, slobbery, snotty crying. Being interrupted allowed for silent tears instead.
I love a good romantic movie, but there was something else that really stood out to me. Well, there were several things that stood out to me, but one thing in particular that I can’t get out of my head. Maybe it’s because there’s some truth in it for me. Ok, if I’m honest, there’s a LOT of truth in it for me. I also think it’s because I’ve had enough conversations lately with other women that prompted me to write about it.
I’ve asked this question often partly because of the nature of my work, but also because it always fascinates me to hear the answers. “What are your dreams? What would you want more than anything in this life? At the end of life, what would you want people to say about you and your life?” You know what surprises me? My kids’ answers to these questions are more fun than most adults. I am always surprised by the lack of dreaming that adults do. It almost hurts to think that somewhere in their life, dreaming stopped and fear, doubt and unbelief took over. Maybe it’s cynicism or maybe it’s lack of confidence in themselves or both. I think it has to do with what our beliefs are about purpose in life, success in life and our value. The world has fed us some “truths” that are far from the truth about these things and I think we believe it!
When we say “I don’t really have dreams” or “I’m just a mom” or “I don’t really know my purpose”, that’s an insult. To who? Well, first to the One who made us ON purpose and WITH purpose. Our life was not an afterthought and there’s something we’re here for that ONLY we can do. But, it’s also an insult to the one, two, three or 10 people that have crossed our paths and we made a difference in their life. There is someone in your life that can’t imagine their life without you in it.
In the movie, we fall in love with the character named Augustus. Funny, light-hearted, compassionate, loving, courageous and inspirational…this kid’s perspective on life (even while battling cancer) is beautiful and touching. When he faces death in the end, his human nature settles in. He professes that he wanted to live an extraordinary life, one where it was worth writing about and one where he was remembered. He felt that because he was losing his battle to cancer, that he was disappointed that his dream of the kind of life he wanted didn’t come true. The love of his life says this to him:
He had made a difference in her life and she would never be the same because of him. Why do we measure our value by the size of the splash we make? What if the size of the splash doesn’t matter as much as the ripple effect it makes?
Maybe you and I need to be more open to dreaming again and thinking on what we’re wired to be and do. Maybe you and I should stop measuring our value to what the world around us values. If you look in the news at all or follow celebrities, I don’t think we really want our world to define our value do we? Maybe you and I should start to look at the pond in front of us and make the best splash we know how to make and stop comparing our splash to someone else’s.
There is someone in our life that can’t imagine their life without us. That makes us special and extraordinary. That splash has a ripple effect that will indirectly touch lives even after we’re gone. Stop saying you’re nothing or you’re “just a…”. That’s an insult.