Last Friday, I had the chance to see the musical Once at the Des Moines Civic Center. Already one of my favorite movies, Once immediately solidified itself as my favorite stage production ever. I could write a 10,000-word blog post and still never cover all the reasons why I like it so much. All I can tell you is to see it if you have the chance.
The story centers around a young Irish man who is a “busker,” which is simply a person who performs in public places for gratuities. In this case, he’s a singer-songwriter who plays original tunes on a beat-up acoustic guitar, most of which center around lost love. He’s ready to give up — both on music and life — because he senses that most people are just walking by, not paying a bit of attention to the art that has consumed his entire life. He feels his music impacts no one.
It’s easy to relate, isn’t it? Whether it’s performing music or simply going to work every day, we can fall into the miserable trap of believing our lives have absolutely no point, and that our actions are inconsequential. I know I’ve felt that way.
But the truth is that we never know how something we say or do might impact others. Here’s an example.
Not long ago, my brother-in-law Randy Augustin (my wife’s brother) was playing golf when he met a man on the course. Upon introductions, the man asked, “You wouldn’t happen to be related to George Augustin, would you?”
“He was my father,” Randy said.
“Well, what a small world!” the man said. “I want you to know that your father was one of the biggest influences in my life. He came to our town many years ago and helped us set up our business. He was so kind and generous with his time. I’ve never forgotten that, and I try to help others because of him.”
So let me recap. Randy, who plays golf maybe once every two or three years, happens to play on the very same day as this man. And of the dozens of people on the course that Randy could have run into that day, he meets the one person whose life had been profoundly influenced by George’s kindness.
Talk about the lasting power of small actions! I knew George well enough to believe he would say, “I was just doing my job.” But HOW he did his job made all the difference!
Here’s the truth, friends. If we’re going to impact our world in the name of Jesus, it will be because people like you and me – and George Augustin – took action in the power of the Spirit. God put us here to be Kingdom builders. Love and kindness are our bricks. Truth is our mortar. Made from these materials, no fortress could ever be stronger.
The man in Once comes across this rare kindness, as well. He meets a girl who not only believes in his music, but also believes in him. Thanks to her love, he finds his way back. And his music – raw, powerful, and utterly unforgettable – finds its way into the hearts of the masses.
Glen Hansard, the real-life man in Once, went from down-and-out busker and part-time gig-player to Academy Award winner in 2007 when the incredible “Falling Slowly” won the Oscar for best original song. The film had a total budget of $100,000, making it one of the most improbable Oscar wins in history.
Remember, the action you take today could affect a life for years to come. What kind of legacy will you leave behind?by