Sunday, June 10, 2012

viktor and his waiting

I love airplanes.  When I was a wee babe, for a time the answer to "What do you want to be when you grow up" was "an airline pilot"... I wanted to work for Delta or American or, at the time, Eastern Airlines, or TWA, or anything else, and it was because I love the concept of airplanes and flying and such.  Even now, I hope I can sit by the window so I can stare at the ground below, and am usually disappointed if I am in the middle or aisle seat, or on window seat but can't see anything due to cloud cover.

Likewise, I love airports.  I love the hustle and bustle, how thousands of people from all over the country, and even world, come through any given airport at any given time.  Each of those persons has a story... going to see loved ones, or to say goodbye to them... or maybe they already said goodbye.  Going on vacation, perhaps to Disney for the 39th time or the 1st.   Coming back from a business meeting where they struck the big deal... or struck out.  Or maybe headed to that big meeting, hoping that deal gets signed.  Honeymooners or singles getting away.  I love people and their stories.

I love the anticipation of sitting at the gate, and watching our plane pull in, people getting off, and soon, being allowed to get on.  I love touring the little shops in the airports, be it a newsstand with overpriced magazines or a luggage shop or a random market.  I love standing on the moving sidewalks.  I love just walking around.  I've been known from time to time to actually go to the airport, with no flight or ticket, and just walk around. 

I really didn't mean to spend three full paragraphs discussing my love of air travel, but there it is.  So, now I'm going to tell you about a movie I love, then I'm going to tell you what spiritual lesson can be derived from it... let's go, shall we?

Anyway, going along with the theme of air travel is the fact that I also love MOVIES with an airport and airplane theme.  In my top 100 films of all time, THREE with the air travel theme land in the Top 20... there's DieHard 2: DieHarder as my 12th favorite film of all time... there's "Up in the Air" from 2009 landing as my 14th favorite film... and a few spots later, my 17th favorite film of all time, Tom Hanks' 2004 forgotten film "The Terminal". 

I stinkin' love love love "The Terminal"... well, as you can imagine, any movie that is one of 20 favorite films of all time you'd have to love love love.

"The Terminal", directed by Steven Spielberg, stars Tom Hanks as Viktor Navorski, who is coming through JFK airport in New York City in order to accomplish a small project for his late father.  However, while Viktor traveled from his home country of Krakozhia, while in the air, the country erupted into civil war.   As a result, the United States no longer recognizes Krakozhia as a sovereign nation, meaning that Viktor cannot enter US territory.  And since his home country is now in civil unrest, he cannot return home, leaving him stranded in the airport.

This catches the attention and ire of the head of airport Customs Frank Dixon, wonderfully played by Stanley Tucci, who wants Viktor gone so he doesn't have to deal with him.   The Tuch is never evil, he's never a complete jerk, but his character is so by the book, he refuses to show Viktor any compassion, making him a great villian that you really can't hate, but find easy to dislike.

In the months and months and months that Viktor remains confined in the airport, he begins to befriend and even win over most of the employees there, in the shops, in the bars and behind the scenes.  The cast of characters is also great, with a couple of unknowns--Diego Luna and Kumar Pallena--playing airport employees of various capacities, and Catherine Zeta-Jones portraying the stewardess that Viktor takes a liking too.

The movie itself wasn't well received by many critics, and many people didn't think this film was up to snuff with Spielberg standards, but I just loved it.  I think its warm, its funny and Tom Hanks' Viktor is very, very likable.

Now... wait for it... wait for it... the purpose of this entire post... the spiritual lesson I took from this film.  Its in one scene, somewhere close to the middle. 

The Tuch giving The Hanks the business
Frank Dixon figured he needs to get rid of Viktor.  The best way to do that is have Viktor leave... so he walked Viktor to the entrance, gives him some money and says, "You are free to go." Frank Dixon then walks away, back to the offices and turns on the monitors.  Everyone watches as Viktor stands at the entrance, wanting to leave.  Frank Dixon knows as soon as Viktor walks out, immigration will take him and *poof*, problem solved.

Viktor takes a step.  Then another.  Then another.  The automatic doors open.  The temptation of something so simple is right there.  But he knows this isn't the right way, this isn't what he's supposed to do... he steps back, looks at the camera, and says, in broken English, "I wait.  I wait."

I wait.

I think we could all learn a lesson from Viktor.  Wait.  When you know its not what God wants, wait.  Instead of walking through that door into the cold of temptation, taking the easy route, wait.  It might be--probably is--harder to wait.  You want to move forward, you want to go on, heck, it might seem like something YOU think is the best thing... wait.

I wait.

Like Viktor, we should look into the camera, and say "I wait".  Its a patience lesson, one that none of us wants to hear.  Patience is something I refuse to pray for, as that's a prayer request I feel that God will always answer...

Yup, this one has been all over the map... air travel... a film review... and Jesus.  I'm sure you were waiting for this to be interesting.  Whoops. 


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