I sat in the darkened movie theater and tried to catch my breath. The movie I had just seen was so gripping that I had been holding my breath for what seemed like hours! My husband, sitting beside me, exclaimed “That was SO COOL!!”
I had just seen the most action packed action movie of my LIFE. I won’t tell you the name, because you’ll probably think I’m a wimp. But needless to say, I was riveted. I saw men perform incredible feats of superhuman strength. Exact timing allowed the hero to save the day. And there was so much action on the screen that my eyes struggled to know where to look during the fight scenes.
As we left the theater I looked at the stark contrast of the quiet, dark parking lot. This was the “real world.” Things never seem to be timed so exactly in my life. But were they? What I learned a long time ago, in film class in college, is that there are a lot of things that go on behind the scenes to make what we see on screen happen.
Your actor stands in front of a green screen, and says his lines. Then a director decides what lines to keep. That director also works with film editors to splice scenes together. Then he works with special effects people to orchestrate an incredible amount of digital sounds and lights to create this world we see on the screen.
These stories evoke emotion. They make you think. And sometimes they make you wish you were a superhero. I’ve left theaters disappointed that I could not leap into the air and fly home. I’ve left in tears with new understanding of history and heartache. And I’ve left feeling inspired to go out and change the world. It all depended on which movie I was watching.
So back to my question: The movie I just saw worked so well because of exact timing. But real life hardly ever flows like that. It seems to go in fits and starts, at least to our uneducated eyes. But is it? What if we aren’t seeing all the work that goes on behind the scenes to line our blessings up, to place people where they need to be, so that we have the experiences and help in the moments we need them.
Often we don’t see the friends who go out of their way to “run into” us as we go about our day. And we don’t understand all that our parents do in preparation for our schooling, or holidays. Could the same situation exist with God?
I saw a meme recently that showed children playing on the playground. They were running, jumping, swinging, and generally having a ball. And drawn in between them were angels, working very hard to keep these children in one piece. They were preventing accidents, catching children who fell, and…looking exhausted.
On a bench off to the side sat two moms, commenting on how amazed they were that the children didn’t kill themselves on the playground. The image reminded me of how often I take for granted the near misses of life. I’m beginning to think they are not coincidences.
When I was a young adult I would often take walks in the evening to clear my head. As my friends knew my habits, there always seemed to be someone who wanted to join me for a chat. We would walk, sometimes for hours, just discussing life and sorting things out. These times have become treasured memories. I learned a lot about myself and God during those talks. I believe that the friends who accompanied me for my walks were placed in my life to teach me.
One night when I was in a terrible mood, so I left for my walk alone. It was later than usual, and some distance down the road I noticed that I was being followed by a shady looking man. I sped up, he sped up. So I made a beeline for safety. When I looked back, he was gone. I had no idea where he went. I was pretty freaked out.
When I got to a safe place, I stopped and watched behind me. I wanted to know if that man was still there. He was gone, and in his place I found it was a friend of mine, a rather large guy named Rod. Rod was a quiet guardian type, and I never realized how much so until that night. I asked Rod if he had seen that creepy guy who was following me. And Rod said that he had.
Rod had followed me on my walk because he had a bad feeling as he saw me leaving. He had seen the creepy guy start to follow me. So he sped up, and made his presence known, and scared off this creepy guy. I am so grateful for my friend following his gut that night, and keeping me safe. I never took a walk alone so late at night again. And I often reflect back, remembering how God was watching out for me, by sending my friend when I needed him.
I could tell you a dozen or more similar stories. As I reflect on my life, there always seems to be something going on behind the scenes. Things are not always what they seem. I know God is always there, seeking to help us when we need it, and seeking to show us what we are really made of.
Those lessons often come in difficult circumstances. But He is there to support us, no matter what. I love that I know that I have a Heavenly Father who loves me. And I am so grateful for all that He does behind the scenes for my benefit.
Patty thrives on all things creative. You’ll often find her in the garden pretending she is a suburban farmer. She loves meeting new people, and is devoted to her friends and family. In her heart she is a Midwesterner even though life has moved her all over the country. She believes in “blooming where you’re planted” and has found purpose in every place she has been. She has a deep and abiding love for the Savior and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And she loves editing LDS Blogs because it is a constant spiritual uplift. Not many people can say their job builds their witness of the Savior.