I watched the third “Night at The Museum” movie today. I enjoyed it for the same reason I enjoyed the others: drawn-out humor + Ben Stiller = YES. But I’m not writing to tell you about my growing love for Ben Stiller. I’m writing because this movie is one of Robin Williams’ last pieces of work, and it hit me every time he showed up on screen.
But do you know what else struck me? I saw Robin when I saw his character. And that hadn’t been my experience with the previous two movies. He makes a wonderful Teddy Roosevelt and I normally see the character when I watch the movies. Not this time. Near the end, Ben Stiller’s character says, “I have no idea what I’m going to do tomorrow.” And Teddy– Robin– whispers in reply:
And I just really needed to hear that. Especially from him.
When I watch Robin’s movies now, I see him. I see what it could have meant to him, what lines he might have felt in his chest, what aspect of the story could have compelled him to be a part of it. And, of course, he’s been in plenty of movies I haven’t seen and some pretty pointless movies I have seen (cough”RV”cough). I’m not trying to psycho-analyze him (although I end up doing it to everyone… sorry, friends!), because he is unique and doesn’t fit into any mold; none of us do. I’m not saying we can figure out a person’s make-up based on the art they give us. What I’m trying to say is:
I wonder if he felt the gravity of what he was saying when he was portraying Teddy. I wonder if he knew how deeply people would savor his words and how much they spoke into his own life. There are lines in Hook, Jumanji, Aladdin… and I just feel like I’m hearing Robin speak, things he wished he had known and hopes we can know. I see the dots connect to create a picture of someone who was being sought after by the writer of his story.
Someone I dearly love left earth almost two years ago now. I didn’t have the privilege of knowing him before he left; I heard his name for the first time two weeks too late. But he made a lot of art of every variety, and I grew to love him through it. And can I tell you– I hear him in it. I hear him in his music, telling us that God was right. God was chasing him, promising him life that would be worth the suffering and pain. And he knew. I can only listen to seven of his songs, but every single one comes together to tell me his story. The dots connect. His life had been crafted, with intent and purpose and a lot of love.
My story and your story are the same way.
We don’t see it now, and we may never see it until we leave. But God has written our stories. It all comes together. This one dot may be confusing you; it may look useless and isolated and hopeless, and it might be bringing you a lot of pain. But it’s just one dot. There are more. You will see them someday, all strung together to create a tapestry. It is so breathtaking that we can’t even understand it’s design yet; there is a wealth of complexity that goes into it in order to become as beautiful as it was intended to be. Look at this dot right now, and see beyond it. See that it is part of something greater, something that makes sense and brings tears to our eyes because it is better than you could have hoped.
May we trust you wholly and without anger, Lord. May we look at the tiny little pieces we have of our lives right now, and see you.
“All grown up and living fine/ biographies all intertwined with billions/ And soon He turns the final page/ we’ll look the author in the face/ then the book really begins/ Something tells me all these years of memories/ are only the first sentence of eternity/” -Chris Rice, “Nonny Nonny”