And if anyone will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet when you leave that house or town. (Matthew 10:14)
It seems that we are conditioned to notice losses more than gains. We obsess about what we can’t do and ignore the things we can do. We are haunted by what we missed and quickly forget what we managed to accomplish. We become preoccupied with the undone and overlook the done.
In the film “The Meg,” a team of three oceanic researchers dive deeper into the recesses of the Mariana Trench than ever before. Oceanographer, Dr. Minway Zhang, and his daughter Suyin are monitoring the team near the surface, from the safety of the research facility Mana One. And as the team breaches the sea floor, they discover a new wondrous ecosystem. But their fascination quickly turns to fear when their submersible pod is attacked by a giant prehistoric shark thought to be extinct, Megalodon. The pod is left stranded, the crew hopelessly in need of a rescue.
Only one man has attempted a rescue from such a depth. Years earlier, Jonas Taylor was once known as the world’s foremost expert on deep sea rescues. Some years earlier, Taylor had conducted a rescue attempt in the Mariana Trench. Many lives were saved during the attempt, but his team was lost in the process. The experience sends Taylor spiralling into the depths of depression.
Attempting perfection, and not accepting the inevitability of failure can wreak havoc on one’s emotional health.
When Dr. Zhang first approaches Jonas, the jaded hero is boligerantly reluctant. Jonas argues:
You’re going to tell me your story and I’m going to say no. You’re going to offer me money and I’m going to say no. You’re going to try to appeal to my better nature and I’m still going to say no because I don’t have one.
But then Zhang delivers a vital piece of information, one that he has reserved for just this moment. Jonas’s ex-wife, Lori is one of the trapped researchers. In the next scene we witness Jonas on his way to Mana One. That’s the power of love. Love has a way of conquering our past and calming our fears.
Throughout the course of the film, some people are saved, others are lost. The experience of watching others die around him, others he had been tasked to protect, frustrates Jonas. But Suyin attempts to settle his frustration, “It’s not just about the ones you lose, it’s also about the ones you save.”
In a world immersed by sin, death and suffering are a regular part of the human plot line. We are not equipped, or called, to save everyone, to fix every problem, to achieve every noble objective. Some people will be just out of our reach. But Suyin’s words are a wise consideration for us, “It’s not just about the ones you lose, it’s also about the ones you save.”
When we allow ourselves to be driven by personal love for those who we are trying to save rather than a prideful since of passion for avoiding loss, our fears evaporate and our past is forgotten. In their place we will find joy in knowing that it’s not about those we can’t help, but it’s about those we can.
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