It's that time again, the time of year when I find myself day dreaming about flip-flops and wishing the white stuff would disappear for good. It's also awards season... the time of year when eyeballs around the world tune into see who takes home the golden statue.
Personally I was surprised at the Golden Globes snubs this year. There were some pretty fantastic films that didn't even get a mention. Funny to see what was celebrated while the one film that has the possibility to perhaps make the biggest impact on people was sadly missing... Unbroken. Not just because I was first in line to see it on Christmas Eve with my family and a bucket of popcorn in my little hands and a cup of Dunkin's hidden in my bag either.
Not to knock any of the other films but Unbroken was not only superbly produced, but it has the potential to change lives. If you're thinking; yeah, yeah a big budget Hollywood film made by a big Hollywood star how could it be anything beyond all the narcissistic tabloid hullabaloo?... hear me out. Unbroken is a true story unlike anything anyone in my lifetime can even comprehend living through, but it's also just the beginning of the story. The film leaves off when the hero returns home. That is where his journey really begins.
Unbroken tells the story of Louis Zamperini, a World War II prisoner of war survivor. It details his gripping experience including 47 days floating on a raft in shark-infested waters in the Pacific Ocean. While the film details much of Zamperini’s life, including his Olympic career as a distance runner, it only shines a light on part of his story. Perhaps the best part is told not by a big Hollywood studio or star, but by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.
Filmed before Hollywood came calling "Louis Zamperini: Captured By Grace" tells the story of his life after returning home a hero. Through the power of the Gospel and his experience at the 1949 Billy Graham Crusade in Los Angeles, Louis overcame alcoholism, night terrors and a failing marriage to live a joyous and full Christ-centered life until his passing at age 97. Along the way he inspired millions. (To learn more about seeing it - click here)
We can get upset or complain about the things we see as problems. The economy, the weather (guilty as charged), global unrest, pop culture run amuck, and on and on. I however don't think anything we face today compares to what he lived through. Not only Louis Zamperini, but also all of the other men and women of The Greatest Generation. Many have no idea what price was paid for the lives we have. The world might look a lot different today had it not been for their courage, strength and determination.
What I love most about his story is that as dark as it got he was never really alone. A man who didn't really know a lot about faith, or grace: while he was out there floating on a raft in shark infested waters he made a promise to God that if he survived he would serve him the rest of his life. A promise that was long forgotten after being rescued from that raft, captured, thrown into one of the worst Japanese prison camps ever, living through years of brutal torture and starvation, and then actual rescue when the war was over. It wasn’t until he was home and his life was falling apart due in part from suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder while attending that Billy Graham rally that he remembered that promise. While telling his story he says when he remembered he stood up without hesitation and gave his life to Christ. Once he did for the first time the nightmares were gone. The anger and desire for revenge were also gone.
He spent the rest of his life as a Christian Inspirational speaker focusing on forgiveness. His story was hard, it was brutal, and none of it made any sense at the time he was going through it. As a boy he overcame going from a troubled youth to an Olympic Athlete. It was his strength and determination that got him through that part of his life and it were those same qualities that helped him to survive his ordeal and go onto become a hero. He also had help from above. When looking back on his life it's hard not to see the fingerprints of God all around.
So am I surprised that a film that has the power to impact people in such a way was snubbed by a liberal leaning secular organization? Not really. I hope it won't be the same case with the Oscars. Because I suspect that after watching the film viewers will get curious to what happened after the movie ends and discover for themselves the rest of the story. Where he not only lived out the miracle of grace but went onto to share it with countless others along the way. That in my opinion is the best prize. So I do hope it will be included in order to be exposed to people across the globe.
Something I also hope to do with my music. Though I've spent a large part of my life chasing after a "prize" success in the music industry... I've come to understand the real prizes of life are not what we necessarily think they are. That's why I'm working on my first faith based Contemporary Christian Music Album. My hope is to inspire people to be strong, courageous, to never quit, but most importantly to share the love of Jesus. To let people know they really are something beautiful, and to believe that no matter how far they've gone, there is someone who cares, who loves them and thinks they really are something worth dying for.
"I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." Philippines 4:13 (NIV)
Blessings, Love & Music ~