As a young man, film director Robert Flaherty spent many months in the far north looking for iron ore and cod. He didn’t find either one, but he did shoot 70,000 feet of film in his travels. Someone encouraged him to edit the film and make a documentary, which Flaherty spent weeks doing. But just as he finished, a match from his cigarette dropped among the celluloid, consuming the entire film and burning Flaherty badly.
Many people at that point would have fallen into despair, but that was not Flaherty’s response to the disaster. He was determined to return to the far north and make a film of Eskimo life “that people will never forget.” He did just that, and the result was the classic 1922 documentary, Nanook of the North.
In the face of accidents, failures and even tragic circumstances, we have a choice about how we will respond. Initially, we may need to vent or cry or talk through something. We may need to ask for help. That’s important. However, we don’t want to get stuck in despair. We don’t want whatever happened to control our lives.
Flaherty’s response is an example for us. He was determined to get back up, dust himself off, and start over – even better the second time around. May we always be prepared to do the same.
Our prayer today was written by Roger Kunkel, founder of Dial Hope. Let us pray: God of love, give us open minds and hearts and complete trust in your plan for our lives. Show us who we are and who you would have us become. Lead us in the way you have us go, and as we walk a path we cannot see, give us light and the warmth of each other’s hands as together we see your will. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
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