As I munched my extra buttery fun size bag of popcorn, I knew that coming alone was right.  Do not depress your friends, I’d decided.

Each year I see the Oscar nominated short documentary films. While the topics are compelling, those who enjoy movies for escape and entertainment might not put down money to see such sorrow on the big screen. I watched:

  • The body of the once lively little refugee now lying in diapers, tube fed in their bed in a coma of hopelessness. Like hundreds of other children, they’ve succumbed to a condition known as “resignation syndrome” in response to the traumas of war and exile.
  • The South Korean diver who retrieved bodies of students on the Sewol ferry who drowned after a ferry sunk,  killing 326 passengers.
  • St. Louis Superman Bruce Franks, Jr., the rapper and community activist turned senator following the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. After the violent deaths of both his best friend and his godson, anxiety and depression became so acute he planned to take his own life.

Why spend three hours of a perfectly lovely Sunday afternoon taking in haunting real-life horrors? Was this how one should pass the day of the week traditionally reserved for rest and rejuvenation?

As our tourism department declares about my home state, “Honestly, it’s not for everyone.”  But I got what I came for: a dose of bitter medicine that left me better for having taken it. Here’s how:

                Perspective:  There is nothing like a clear picture of the pain of others to adjust one’s perspective lens of the petty. Do I complain about a single bag of trash being missed by the collectors last Tuesday when 15 million people around the world live in dump sites? 

                Possibility:  Hundreds of thousands of families abandon their homes and flea with their children across entire continents simply seeking safety from being raped or bombed.  What’s possible for someone in a secure city who has never spent a single day of her life fighting for survival?

                Purpose:  Each hero said “Yes” to their call and acted when the time came. The devoted diver who entered the deep waters at dark. The parent who tenderly stroked hope back into the body of their little one. The homeboy who carried signs and later donned a suit to sit in the legislature.

It may not immediately feel like Sunday fun for restorative relaxation, but a few hours in a dark theater left me walking out with enough inspiration to light my path for much longer than the week ahead.

Coach Koenig

What reminds you to maintain perspective?

What possibility are you open to exploring?

What are you clear you are called to say “Yes” to?