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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Hope at the End of a Dead End Road: Even for Llewyn Davis


Recently I went to the movies (not a frequent experience) to see " Inside Llewyn Davis" a story that chronicles a week in the life of a folk singer. I'm not going to write a movie review, but the story line got me thinking about life. His was one dead end experience after another. Decidedly different than the Hollywood feel good experience at the end, this movie provided the opposite--a look into hopelessness and desperation. If nothing else, the story line was more realistic than Hollywood's fare, but who wants to focus only on all the negative that happens in life? I found Llewyn to be one of the most pathetic characters I've encountered in a long time. I'm no Pollyanna, but if this is the way the rest of the world lives, it's a pretty sad and lonely place.
Yet the movie had redeeming qualities and one of them was the portrayal of a slice of the down and out life of a folk singer. What's so appealing about that? Not a whole lot, except it shows the increasing meaningless and purposelessness in a life without Christ. Without Christ, true hope does not exist. Sure there are pleasant experiences and we can pump ourselves up like a Hollywood film, but at the core what does it all mean? What's the point? Like Solomon we can declare "Vanity of vanities, all is vanity" (Ecclesiastes 1:2).

However, we have "good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger” (Luke 2: 10-12). That Babe died on a cross and saved us from all the meaningless, sordidness and futility of this world. He's the true gift at Christmas; one that Llewyn and those like him desperately need, though they probably don't realize it, but you never know. Interesting at the end of the movie, there was a shot of a folksinger at the Gaslight cafe in the village ( I remember going to a similar place called "The Bitter End") who you know is portraying Bob Dylan because of his harmonica playing. At one time he was my husband and I's favorite folksinger and we were so excited when he accepted the Lord, even if it was only for a while. He produced some great Christian songs like "Gotta Serve Somebody" and "Gotta Change My Way of Thinking."

So I guess there is hope for the Llewyn's of the world. I sure hope so because I would hate for anyone to have to continue in the wreck of a life this fictitious character lived. It caused me to be so thankful that I met the Lord when my life was at a dead end road like Llewyn's: living with friends, but extremely lonely, having travelled Europe by myself for ten months, wandering aimlessly, pursuing my art with no clear purpose in mind. Then Jesus burst on the scene and wiped away the meaninglessness. He gave me purpose and a clear direction: to follow Him. No greater joy exists than to know and serve Him, Lord of Lord, King of Kings. Thank You God for all You have done for us and for the hope of a New Year. Thank You that even dead end roads can lead to the babe in the manger!