I watched the movie Joy last night about a woman who created the first ever self cleaning mop, it was a great story and movie. Some of you may remember that it stars Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper and Robert DeNiro he sure is great. I posted this because there is a scene where Joy is in front of a Kmart trying to show her product that she just used all of her life savings to make. She’s in the parking lot with her daughter and doing demonstrations of the mop, after some time, the cops show up and confiscate her product and she is in her car with her daughter. She is crying and the opening piano of Racing In The Streets by Bruce Springsteen begins to play. I knew it instantly it’s one of my my favorite songs of all time and my favorite Bruce Springsteen song. There is something powerful about that song. It’s beautiful, it’s powerful, it’s painful…it’s real.
The juxtaposition of Joy being in front of Kmart, trying to get into Kmart to sell her product, which she knows is the best product. Then later on meeting Neil (Bradley Cooper) who was previously responsible for every product sold by Kmart…Is just…breathtaking…it’s like this moment where your passion has to be more than your reward. Your passion has to be life and death for you. She made the product because she knew it was the best and she was trying to make her life and other women’s lives (men too hopefully) easier. She overcame great odds and she eventually was incredibly successful. I think about that and I think about that song, the choreographer that chose to have that song in that scene. It was perfection, it was the most telling moment of the whole film, her head on the steering wheel, in her car, in a Kmart parking lot, with her daughter, seemingly defeated…
In the christian tradition we are told to, “not lose heart”. Well it’s hard not to lose heart when it seems like every creative endeavor fails. But, I do believe that we are designed to bring something to the world. If your a nurse comfort in a time of need and support to those who can’t support themselves. A social worker provides companionship and advocacy to those who are immobilized by chemicals, housing issues, abuse etc…
Pastor’s are here to give you faith and hope. We are guides to the father or mothers heart. We help people understand that they are divinity and that because they are in nature divine then they can do anything. Hard to believe that most of the time. Unless, you grew up hearing that positive message. I think we are made perfect through adversity. I cry many tears, as I think about who or where I want to be. The choices I have made, but I am encouraged because years ago I made a choice to follow love. I find that in the christian tradition and teachings of Jesus. I believe in the social justice message of Jesus, I believe in the anti capitalism of his philosophy, the anti homophobic acceptance he offered, the anti sexist approach to women and gender division. I believe that I was called to write. Because I fall a part if I don’t.
As a young man I was sexually assaulted. My whole life was never the same. But from that pain and confusion I found a way to use it for my creative endeavors. You could say I used violence to bring peace. Violence done to me and the violence I have done to others. Has helped me to be humble, to accept where I need to change and offer what I can to a broken world, and a broken self…me.
I’m writing about this film, because I want to encourage you. Do not give up! If you are an artist and it seems like your just painting and going broke, or designing and going broke, or writing and no one reads, or loving and no one keeps you, or buying but your never satisfied or creating a new invention but the powers that be are saying, “No this isn’t for you”. I want to encourage you that the universe says yes.
In that scene where Joy Mangano is about to give up. The que of Racing In The Streets, the backdrop of Kmart an entity too large to give her 5 seconds, seemingly hopeless. She was not without hope, she was an inventor. She was called to invent and she never gave up, if anything she learned and studied her opposition and overcame them. She used the law and her will to fight!
I was in tears at that scene. I feel in many ways I’m in that parking lot too. I feel that I’m outside of Kmart hoping to get five minutes to demonstrate my product. I’m outside Kmart, scared, desperate and in need. To provide for my family and yet know that I have something to offer this world, that other writers, other social workers, other pastor’s just aren’t writing, or offering, or preaching… I encourage you to cry, let it out and then drive away, and regroup and come back in the morning.
don’t give up, don’t ever give up!