By: David New
My wife and I recently went to see Top Gun: Maverick. Growing up, there was no outing I enjoyed more than going to the movies. The popcorn, the comically oversized sodas, the chairs we convinced ourselves were clean… all these things bring a nostalgic sense of relaxation to me. Regardless of where the movie theater was, in a mall or at a drive in, I was home.
I wish I could say adulthood has carried the tradition forward, but that’s just not the way life works. There are seasons for everything. And perhaps I wouldn’t have this fond memory of movie theaters had I not stopped going as frequently.
Without plunging into the plot of the film, allow me to describe it to you in the vaguest way possible without any real spoilers.
The movie can pretty much be summed up by the following:
- The most basic love story
- The most basic character arcs
- The most basic action scenes
- The most basic redemption tropes
- The most basic nods to the original
- The most basic storyline
- The most basic everything
That list is intentionally ambiguous, but nonetheless true. You could read that list and likely think that this film is nothing special and clearly not worth the money. But it was the most enjoyable film I’ve seen in a long time.
I won’t dive into my self-proclaimed film snobbery. I’m no film critic. However, I can’t help but wonder… Why was this predictable, cheesy, remake of a classic movie so refreshing to watch? There were no major twists, no epic monologues, not even an end credit scene!
I want to change gears for a moment and talk about another day I had with my wife recently. It was a very lazy Saturday. Now, I’m not complaining… I have a wonderful life filled with wonderful people. However, that doesn’t erase the fact that we don’t get many lazy days anymore. So just this once to give us a completely free day, we took advantage of it.
The day had no plot to it. No action. It wasn’t particularly romantic nor did either of us attempt some grand gesture to please the other. There were no twists. And yet, it was one of the best days I’ve had in a long time.
So much of my life has been spent repeating things. Doing the same tasks over and over. Going to the same places again and again. Eating the same foods day after day. I trick myself into thinking that doing something out of the norm or trying something extravagant is the key to believing I’m enjoying myself. But in the end, the times I enjoy the most are those filled with the people I love and things I love to do. Even if those things don’t change. It doesn’t have to be more complicated than that.
When I was a kid, I had a bedtime. It was so agonizingly vivid. Up until the sixth grade, I wasn’t allowed to stay up past 9:00. And regardless of how tired I was or how little there was to even do after that time, I was always so frustrated. Well, the better word would be scared. Not of monsters or the dark, but scared of missing out on something. Surely the reason I had to go to bed was because after 9:00 was when all the adults all over the world began to really have fun! I was so convinced of this, I’d sneak out of my room and just sit at the top of the stairs hoping to get a glimpse of life after 9:00. This often just meant me struggling to make out what was playing on the TV downstairs. Anything to deceive myself into thinking I was a part of the nightly party adults got to experience after every sunset.
But the truth is there’s no epic party. Life has its moments of fun and laughter, but it’s more-so filled with familiarity and quiet. That’s just not a reality a kid likes to accept.
I realize this sounds disappointing, maybe even depressing. But I’ve learned that in reality there’s nothing sad about it. There’s a reason that times of normalcy can be the most special. It’s the same reason why Top Gun was so much fun. And the reason why the lazy day with my wife was exactly what I needed.
We don’t get to experience the amazing stories in the Bible for ourselves. Sure, miracles happen every day, but none as obvious as a man walking on water. So does that mean that our lives are useless? Or that if I can’t travel the world performing miracles, I shouldn’t even bother reading the Bible? How does my boring, repetitive life have anything special to offer?
Reality tells us that the Bible is a book. A book with a finite set of words printed through thousands of languages filled with the same old recurring themes. But these themes are anything but unremarkable. Themes of love, sacrifice, family, war, etc. Themes we still experience today. Themes our children and their children will experience. We are built on fundamental and basic principles. We are made in Someone’s image.
I don’t know the next time will be when I see a movie like Top Gun or have a lazy day with my wife. But I know I’ll be sure not to take it for granted. I’ll know how remarkable those unremarkable moments are.