You excitedly run home with the news of a lifetime, “I got a part in a movie!” You tell family and friends as they envy their small chance to ever, ever appear in a feature film.
So let’s reduce your life to a two-hour movie. Blockbuster or flop, it doesn’t matter because it is your life on the big screen with popcorn-eating people, peeping Toms and the guy who has two hours to kill before going home. (Oh well, so much for the audience.)
What role do you play? I’m confident we’d all choose the hero but alas that falls to only one person. (Audience can’t handle more than one protagonist.) Are you that forgettable bartender (or cabby or waitress) who feeds the hero cocktails or self evident life tips until the hero’s crisis occurs? How about the New York doorman who takes countless abuses from the hero but gives one great come-back line toward the end of the film? Are you that gnawing in-law who yells at the hero because of your own unfilled life?
My best role is the hero’s best friend. That’s the person who pushes the movie forward with information and insight that has eluded our movie’s hero. (How can this mindless person ever be called a “hero?”) This best friend is often a person who’s overweight, a geek or loner but the information shared inspires the audience who are rooting for the hero. (“Best Friend” is never married but is full of marriage advice. Go figure.)
“There’s no such thing as ending, you just leave the story.”
I heard a line in a movie that I love, “There is no such thing as ‘ending,’ you just leave the story.” That’s life for us in real time. Religious folks believe in something more that follows the closing credits. For anyone, it is powerfully a life lived and after you’ve delivered all of your lines you just…”leave the story.” The story continues without you. Hopefully you’ve contributed a small bit to its plot, its characters, its color and flavor.
“There’s no such thing as a small part…”, says the famous one. It’s up to us to make our small part worthy of a feature film, hell – worthy of a life lived.