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Saturday, 3 September 2011

The Answer Man: Inspiration Comes in Many Forms

Not everybody knows this about me… but I am a sucker for a good inspirational story. I make lists of inspirational movies and songs, and then I cherish them for a long time. I cry, I laugh, and I look to the Heavens, thanking God for these little blessings.

So today I’m proud to present the first part of my Soul Stories Series, and in each part I’ll share a story -- or a few (be it in written, cinematic, or musical form) -- of my choosing that has inspired me. I’ve called it Soul Stories because this is the name of the Tumblr blog I started a while back, but never truly committed to. I’ll post each installment on a Saturday, and sometimes on a Tuesday if I feel like it.

Once I blogged about growing more and more cynical in time, but the thing that keeps me from going too far, is the fact that people still create such beautiful things. Now, I am a very visual and auditory person. Ask anyone. This means that I’ll be more likely to watch a film or listen to music than sit down and read a book. I am inspired by sounds, music, sights, films, and… well, life. I am inspired by everything that moves and breathes and sings. 

When I experience something with my senses, it feels real and valuable. It’s just the way I see the world. And when I do sit down and read a book, I see those same things on paper, and I send my imagination flying with the words and images born from reading. Then, I go back to my writing corner, and I pour the magic back, hoping that someone would see it’s a part of me and keep it safe.

One thing that moves me is music. I am eternally perplexed at its intricate beauty. If there were no music on this world, I wouldn’t have wanted to live in it. Another thing is true stories of adventures and bravery. Stories which make me believe in the good in people. In the good in life.

So you see, inspiration comes in many forms and it carries many lessons. Today, I’ll present an out-of-whack inspirational story of a man who conversed with God: The Answer Man (2009). I know you’re probably thinking it’s a true story, like Bethany Hamilton's or a book (memoir) adaptation like Eat, Pray, Love, but no. It’s just one of those rare gems that leaves no flashy traces behind. It comes quietly, huddles in the dark corner with you, and comforts you with silence.

Arlen Faber is a middle-aged man leading a broken life. His back is killing him, his home is his self-appointed prison, and his book has gone viral in a world where people need answers. But not just any answers. People need answers from God. And even though Arlen is the one providing those answers instead, his off-kilter personality and passion for cursing make him and his answers profoundly real and moving.

Heartbreakingly, the one question that the great author is unable to answer comes from a seven-year-old boy who hopes to see his father again. The boy’s mother, on the other hand, is torn by the common feeling that the world is not safe enough for her son. All the while, the local bookstore owner has lost his father and the will to remain sober on the day of his dad’s funeral. And finally, the resonating message of the film is like that chicken soup for the soul everyone's so crazy about.

People meet to change one another, be better, and grow together.

And while I enjoyed every bit of this movie, I simply fell in love with this part:

You are here so God can experience the world through your eyes, see what you see, feel what you feel. Every day he can’t wait to see what you’ll do, what makes you laugh, what moves you. He can’t wait. Every day through you He falls in love with the world all over again. Elizabeth, you are his muse.

So if you’re in the mood for some real-life people and some unexpectedly good answers, give The Answer Man a chance, won’t you? I know I am better now for watching it.

And just so you know, this movie reminds me of a wonderful song that has inspired me time and again. It speaks of a woman whose life is a mess, who prays to God that He would take the wheel to guide her life, so she can make better choices and find happiness. Talk about music being a blessing. Carrie Underwood knows what I'm talking about.

 So that's all for today. Now tell me... what inspires you? I'll add it to my list.