There are a set of movies that whenever the chance presents itself, all other things will stop in order to watch them. For various reasons, these movies simply grab my attention and I can watch them over and over again. They run the gamut of drama, comedy, and action and include Shawshank Redemption, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, North by Northwest, Parenthood, and the newest one – Dan in Real Life.
On a lazy Saturday morning, I found myself watching Dan in Real Life again. Dan is raising three daughters by himself after the death of his wife. He’s struggling with his life and unclear future when a turn of events leads him to meet a woman with whom he falls in love. Things come together and he finds meaning again. Towards the end of the movie, he makes a profound statement, “Instead of telling our young people to plan ahead, we should tell them to plan to be surprised.”
Sure, RA causes changes in life plans…we deal with changes in physical capabilities, mental stamina, finances, energy levels, even damaged bodies. But life in general causes these kinds of changes. We can plan all we want, but “surprises” will come our way. I think what Dan is saying is that we shouldn’t be surprised by the surprises life brings. We should plan as if they are inevitable. Life is not so much what happens to us, but our reaction to it. In midst of exile which brought much pain and suffering, God told the Jewish people, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)