Monday, January 14, 2008

No Plain Jane

Tonight Abby and I watched a wonderful Jane Austen movie on Masterpiece Theater. The movie was based on Austen's Persuasion, a powerful story of the battle between love and external influences. I found it hard to believe the producers could do justice to one of Austen's novels in just 1 1/2 hours when it took a whole series some years ago to tell the story of Pride and Prejudice. However, I was quite pleased with the results. The movie was beautiful and stuck close to the author's intent.

The amazing thing is that Austen, a woman who never married, lived a rather sheltered life, and died in her early 40s could have written with such keen perception and an unparalleled grasp of human nature. While her books often depict characters who are shallow and petty, Austen herself must have been extremely thoughtful, imaginative, and deep. Reading her books or watching the movies based on them gives you the opportunity to do far more than see how people lived in the late 1700s to early 1800s. It gives you a glimpse into their minds, some provocatively deep and others pitifully vain and empty. How did she do that?

Amazingly Jane Austen never enjoyed her own success. Unless she has a window from heaven, she has no idea of her fame. Her books continue to be read with fervor and appreciation hundreds of years after she has passed on from a seemingly insignificant life. That makes me wonder about the impact we are making on this earth now. Could it be that some of us are accomplishing far more than we could know at this point? Could it be that we are raising children who will be leaders, inventors, teachers, preachers, or scientists of unique stature? Or perhaps we are writing words that will one day touch a heart and the next touch a nation. Maybe we are building buildings, chartering organizations, or educating students that will continue to make a great mark on the future. Who knows?

This one thing I do know: we leave a print behind. Whether that print be small and almost unnoticeable, huge and hard-to-miss, or somewhat ordinary but unique all the same, we leave our mark on this world. Some of us leave more positive marks behind while others leave scars. A few of us set out to make a specific mark, but most of us just leave prints behind somewhat accidentally, like the fingerprints on my sliding glass door. Still they are marks.

Considering that you have no way of knowing what lasting impact you may be making on this world today, I encourage you to at least leave a holy mark - a mark of godliness in an ungodly world. May you and I determine to leave no marks behind that will cause pain or embarrassment, but only marks of love, kindness, grace, hope, and truth. And then, like Jane Austen, we may have the opportunity to inspire the generations to come with the simple things we did to the glory of God.

P.S. check out the rest of the Masterpiece Theater productions of the Jane Austen works at http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/masterpiece/
They run through April 6th and are well worth watching.

1 comment:

Kimberly said...

Hey Girl

I just read this for the first time and I want you to know that I do so that you have definitely left a holy mark in this world and I know that you will leave many, many, more through your children, your Bible teaching in your women's ministry, your published writings, and in your relationships. Thank you for leaving your holy mark on my life.

Love you, Kim