(Also called The Magic of Belle Isle)
Monte is a washed up, angry writer, who moves to a house next door to Charlotte and her three daughters. The middle child, Finn, wants to be a writer and so she quickly latches onto Monte and pumps him with questions about writing. It’s really the last thing Monte wants to talk about but she persuades him, so he promises to give her a lesson a day. On one occasion he asks her what she sees as they look down the road. She says she sees nothing, but she could of course see anything. All is possible. Not the right thing, just anything. What might you see?
Jesus used his imagination all the time. His teaching was full of stories and metaphors. It must barely have felt like teaching, his way was to be interactive, to invite comment and questions. He wanted conversation, he hadn’t come to hammer home hard truth into a captive audience, he could have done, but he chose another way. He chose to lay a trail of grace, woven through his miracles, encounters and stories. This mission was too important, too life changing, he had to make himself totally vulnerable, knowing how stuck in our ways we can be. So his stories brought truth wrapped in mystery and humour. They invited and continue to invite us to join in.
It’s not always easy to be creative, one of the best bits of advice I was ever given was this – splurge. Just write down what’s in your head, bad or good or indifferent. Once you’ve made space in your head another idea will pop up. It’s about getting out those thoughts and ideas and making space for more ideas. I also like the ‘What if…’ notion. What if you received a letter that had been posted 100 years ago? Who’s it from? Or… what if you pulled out your wallet and there was a note from God in it. What would it say? Jesus might have said, ‘What if a son ran away from home and wasted his share of the family money? And what if his dad then wasted some of his brother’s share by throwing a party when the waster brother came home? What would that mean? What would they each feel about it all? And what if there was a mother in the story? How did she feel? What did she do while the waster boy was away from home doing goodness knows what?’ So many questions offered to his audience in that story. And he told so many stories full of ‘what ifs’. What if you found treasure in a field? Would you dare give everything for it? What if you knew you were so precious someone would give everything for you? Like a pearl collector selling all for the best pearl. How would you live knowing that you meant that much to someone? To God.
I didn’t intend this movie moment to turn into an imagination engine, but there you go. What if Jesus was there with you now and you could ask him/tell him/complain about/say thanks for anything. What would you say?