Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Space Brothers: Dreaming Big

Pico and Vince tell Rick that they can't keep their promise to pursue space with him (ep 59)

“It’s too big a dream for us,” Vince and Pico tell their friend Rick. They give up on their dreams of space for the more realistic future of working in the mine. That’s the smart thing to do. It’s what their fathers and teachers want.

We, the viewers, know that the dream isn’t too big for Vince and Pico. We speak through the screen, silently or aloud, telling the characters not to give up; the future is within their grasp. And when Rick dies, we know they’ll decide to follow the dream they shared with him. It’s just a matter of course. This is Space Brothers. According to the logic of the show, any characters we become close to will eventually follow their dreams. And we’ve already seen both Vince and Pico at NASA.

After 59 episodes of watching characters pursue their dreams of space, we may forget how courageous the decision actually is. There’s nothing wrong with working in a mine or any other “attainable” job. Sometimes, the important things a person accomplishes have less to do with their career and more to do with the way they interact with the people around them. But perhaps some of us settle for a path that’s not the best fit for our skills and hopes, because our dream job is just “unrealistic.” We don’t want to risk our time, money, and hope on a future that might not happen. We don’t want our pride to be crushed when we invest ourselves in something with no success for years. Better not to risk it. Better to leave the dreams for the rich, or the geniuses, or the lucky, or the charming... but not us. Not normal old us.

It’s not a matter of lacking courage, we tell ourselves. And perhaps this is true for most of us. We’re just being practical. It’s was just a child’s dream anyway, like wanting to be a pop star or something. 

But what if the dream is more than that?

In anime, they may say it’s destiny. It’s a matter of following your heart and finding yourself. It’s the place of happiness and fulfillment. It’s how you’ll contribute best to the world and yourself.

I’d go a step further. Sometimes, that dream, that place your talents and passion will be used best, is how you’re meant to glorify God.

Seeds have been planted in me this past year. My history professor, along with his partner literature professor, emphasized that we should use the gifts God has given us, even if that path doesn’t lead to a high salary. Denying what God has given us is denying the chance to glorify Him and live more fully.

A speaker in chapel last fall talked about deciding on certain paths in life. I talked to my roommate a bit about it, too. Sometimes, Christians assume that God’s plan for us doesn’t include our favorite skills and activities. A life following Him is never without sacrifice, but that sacrifice varies. Sometimes, the path we want aligns with God’s. He made us with our gifts; wouldn’t it be strange if He didn’t want us to use the very things He gave us? Of course, His plan for their use may differ from ours, and it may not be clear. But perhaps it is still our duty to improve on what He has given us, and to be ready to act when called.

More seeds were planted when my Bible professor asked us to focus on a passage of our choosing throughout spring semester. I chose part of Matthew 6, and I continue to return to the chapter now that summer has begun. Matthew quotes Jesus, who said that heaven is the safest place for our treasure to be... and, we can infer from his words, the safest place for our hearts. A few verses later, Jesus tells his audience, “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Let me give you some context for these words: Jesus has just said that when we give to the poor or do some other righteous act, we shouldn’t seek attention for it. He’s warned us about the vulnerability of earthly treasure, and pointed out that we can’t serve both wealth and God. He’s told us not to worry about food or drink or clothes, since God can take care of us just fine. If we seek Him, things will fall in place. Jesus doesn’t claim it will be easy. In fact, in other places, He’s said we’ll have to give up quite a bit. He Himself suffered greatly on the cross and in the days leading up to it. Before that, He gave up His comfy, exalted place in heaven to come be a poor human carpenter’s son for thirty-odd years. But He did it all “for the joy set before Him” (Hebrews 12:2), eyes on the prize, with God’s kingdom in mind. Jesus is accomplishing His dream. He’s done the impossible: beat death and bridged the gap between us and God. His dream is reality, and we have a chance to be a part of it.
No dream is “too big” for God, and He can use even the humblest of us to accomplish great things. I believe that... at least I think I do. From the way I’m acting, it doesn’t appear that I believe I can do anything. As I’ll write in my next post, I’m more like Vince and Pico before Rick’s death, or like Mutta in the first episode, than like Hibito or Rick. I recognize the gifts God has given me, and I know He can do much through me, but I’ve written my dreams off as just that: dreams and hobbies. Perhaps it’s time to step forward with a little more courage, and a little more faith. 

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