"...Once you live a good story, you get a taste for a kind of meaning in life, and you can't go back to being normal; you can't go back to meaningless scenes stitched together by the forgettable thread of wasted time." ***
Don't get me wrong. I get some reality TV. Nevermind that, overall, I think reality TV, with its bargain-barrel production costs and strange power to suck audiences into its orbit, has diluted the TV landscape with trash and mediocrity. But I do get it.
I, for instance, never get tired of Bear Grylls straining feces for fluid and huddling around a fire in the middle of some daunting wilderness. Every episode has at least enough of the kind of dosage of adrenaline that would make the regular man lose control of his bladder. And though I don't watch these shows regularly, American Idol and America's Got Talent and the like at least provide some spotlights of incredible talent and some fantastic rags-to-riches, underdog stories I can't help but root for. And Wipeout? People almost die bouncing off big balls. Hilarious.
So I won't sit here and indict all of reality TV for ruining America and the world and making us fat and lazy and bad at math.
I've been in the same room as some people who were watching some reality shows that I will never get. The one that stands out the most to me is The Hills. I kept bracing myself for the terrifying possibility that I might end up secretly enjoying the show (see above), and I was kept waiting because that show is shoot-myself, I'd-rather-watch-my-toenails-grow boring.
The show actually blew my mind with how boring it was...just following around some super vain people having super vain conversations with super vain people about other super vain people. There weren't any challenges, or votes to kick people off, or venomous snakes to capture. These people weren't down-on-their-luck Joes trying to make their lives better or shooting for the stars. They weren't having interventions or facing some crazy fears. There was hardly anything to move any semblance of a plot. The show literally follows these people as they walk around and live their (forgive the redundancy) vain and boring lives.
The crazy thing is that a lot of people love this show. They've spent hours and hours watching it.
There's a documentary coming out called Picture Me, about models who are dealing with the brutal side of their profession. Near the end of the trailer, the documentary's main character asks, "Why be a prop in someone else's story when you can tell your own?"
I'd like to amend that to say, "Why spend hours watching someone else's mediocre story when you can live your own?"
Have we conceded our lives to such plainness that we've resorted to spending our days simply as spectators of the mediocre and underwhelming stories that others are living? Have we raised the white flag, given up on the potential of our lives to be powerful and moving and meaningful?
What I love about Donald Miller is his emphasis on story and us living out stories. And like the quote at the beginning of this post mentions, how can we be satisfied with "meaningless scenes stitched together by the forgettable thread of wasted time?"
Let's go out and live a better story. Perhaps once we do, we'll realize how crazy God must think us to sit on our couches to watch people wasting the time that God gave them, thereby wasting the time He gave us.
"We get one story, you and I, and one story alone. God has established the elements, the setting and the climax and resolution. It would be a crime not to venture out, wouldn't it?"